Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
...you should pay attention to the guys here who pollinate almonds.
Theme from their conversations are nutrition, disease control, nutrition, moving hives, feeding, nutrition,

yes, small farmers like little beekeepers. But I doubt they will pay you big fees for pollination contracts...
Good advice on the almond pollinators. But a key difference (I believe) is the size of the farm operations.

From what I understand, Almonds are enormous areas with little else but almonds on them for bees to feed on. We don't have as many enormous, continuous crops out here. A lot of the farms are on hundreds of acres - not 10's of thousands. So the bee diets are not as restricted to the intended subject of pollination. There aren't a ton of farms that are big enough to cover a bee's forage range. By "small", I mean that they are not the Oxford Foods, 20,000 acre types. They are the 300-1000 acre type operation. And they all pay pretty much the same.

However, as I mentioned, the border is going to open to out-of-province pollination. That will likely challenge current pollination service fees. Almost all of that out-of-province need for pollination is coming from one company - Oxford. And Oxford already serves most of their own needs with their 15,000 colonies. They just need more. My own feeling is that they have found the bee business to be too expensive and is splitting up their resources too much to maintain, so I feel like they may be looking to drop that part of the business and to replace it completely by hiring out the pollination - but they know the local beekeepers can't cover their needs. So they've pressed the government to open the border, so they have legal access to more pollination from the bigger operations in New Brunswick and Quebec - maybe Ontario as well. I expect soon to hear that someone has made a huge deal with them and taken over their bees. Pure speculation on my part on all that though.

I doubt the smaller operations will be affected as much, because their contracts are too small for bigger pollination operations to travel far to satisfy.

That's my outlook at the moment. It is of course, the outlook of an outsider at this point, listening to others in the business. So I'm sure it's full of flaws that can only be corrected by experience.