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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    120

    Default Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Looking for comments on my strategy for growth next year from those that have already been through the growth stage.

    I will most likely have at least 10 hives to start the spring, allowing them to build up until the last weekend in May, they should be 2 deeps of brood by then. I will then split the colonies in half leaving the laying queens in 10 of the 20 singles. the other 10 queenless singles will each be broken down into four 4 frame nucs with feeders on immediately, no honey stores. (single deep with a divider creating 2 nucs).

    I am not looking for the nucs to produce anything for me except bees and want them to go through the winter as nucs. On July 15 I expect the nucs to be full of brood and the canola flow will be on. I will then take each of the 40 nucs and divide them into 2 nucs each. This should allow enough time for all nucs to be strong going into winter. I winter indoors.

    This should leave me with 80 nucs and 10 full producing hives going into winter after the first year of this strategy.

    Remember in our area we get between 150-200lbs of honey per hive. I can sell locally for $4 per pound, wholesale is about $2lb. Leaving me with between $4,000-8,000 to leverage for 20k plus. at which point I can repeat the process above on a much largers scale.

    If all else fails nucs are going for over $150 in my area.

    My end game is to have at least 500 hives, enough for me to work at it full time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Fresno Ca USA
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Josh,

    Send me your e mail, I'll be happy to share an Excel spread sheet for budgeting and cash flow management to lay out a strategy for growth. You will need to have Microsoft Excel program and a basic working knowledge.
    California Almond Pollination Services, Inc.
    http://www.almondbeepollination.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    407

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    I don't see any allowance for real world conditions.Not everything survives.Not every queen gets mated etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    I can, split more aggressively, supplement from stronger nucs etc. to ensure I get my numbers. mated queens can be purchased if need be. queen cells run at $7 saving 7 days on the development. My numbers are not absolute, they are a goal.

    I also realized that I forgot to mention the 10 hives that I want to produce honey will only have 4 frames of brood at the end of may meaning any additional frames can also be made into nucs. Any more than 4 frames and the will probably swarm.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA, USA
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    You might want to google and watch Michael Palmer presentation to Northern Virginia beekeepers. He runs I think 800 hives and does summer splits to overwinter nucs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,921

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Honestly,

    I would do what you can mostly afford. I wouldn't get into huge debt the first few years building up. See how the market is, see how you can handle the workflow etc...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Jasper, Texas, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    An alternate plan. Split your hives for optimal honey production, not hive count. You will turn a profit that can be used to buy bees next spring. 150-200lbs X $4 = $600-$800 per hive. That might buy more bees next spring than you can get thru the winter. It's a thought that isn't always considered. Have fun.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    That is more what I am looking for ryan. Thanks for the post.

    unfortunately eventually the local market cannot/ will not purchase all my honey. There are many keepers in the area to buy from, some that offer prices $1 per pound lower than myself to the public.

    Say I can sell 2,000lbs by word of mouth locally that is 10-15 full hives worth. I then need to sell the remainder of my honey through the coop at say $1.75 per pound on a conservative estimate.

    optimum honey production would be to split each of my hives in half in spring.

    With 10 hives that would leave me with 20 hives.

    20 hives x 200lbs = 4,000lbs.

    2,000lbs x $4= 8,000
    2,000lbs x $1.75 = 3,500
    total $11,500

    value of hives $200x20 = $4,000

    total value of honey and hives = $15,500

    now my strategy:

    10 hives x 200lbs x $4 = 8,000

    Value of hives
    10 hives x $200 = $2,000
    60 nucs x $130 = $7,800 assuming 25% do not mature
    total $9,800

    total value of honey and hives = 17,800

    Each of the strategies will require aprox. the same amount of equipment. either for honey boxes or brood boxes.

    The second one leave me with higher net value. plus the bees are insurable for the winter. honey crop is not insurable.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    If you want a secure honey market, you may look into joining the SueBee Honey association. Your dues to the club is that they get to buy ALL of your honey, but at their prices, which most times is quite reasonable. But you aren't allowed to sell ANY of it yourself.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Quote Originally Posted by westernbeekeeper View Post
    If you want a secure honey market, you may look into joining the SueBee Honey association. Your dues to the club is that they get to buy ALL of your honey, but at their prices, which most times is quite reasonable. But you aren't allowed to sell ANY of it yourself.
    We have a local co-op in Winnipeg that operates the same way, only they allow you to sell up to 5000lbs locally. I do know of one beekeeper in the area that ships honey south of the border to sue bee, they are running 1,600 hives.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,570

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshW View Post
    That is more what I am looking for ryan. Thanks for the post.

    unfortunately eventually the local market cannot/ will not purchase all my honey. There are many keepers in the area to buy from, some that offer prices $1 per pound lower than myself to the public.

    Say I can sell 2,000lbs by word of mouth locally that is 10-15 full hives worth. I then need to sell the remainder of my honey through the coop at say $1.75 per pound on a conservative estimate.

    optimum honey production would be to split each of my hives in half in spring.

    With 10 hives that would leave me with 20 hives.

    20 hives x 200lbs = 4,000lbs.

    2,000lbs x $4= 8,000
    2,000lbs x $1.75 = 3,500
    total $11,500

    value of hives $200x20 = $4,000

    total value of honey and hives = $15,500

    now my strategy:

    10 hives x 200lbs x $4 = 8,000

    Value of hives
    10 hives x $200 = $2,000
    60 nucs x $130 = $7,800 assuming 25% do not mature
    total $9,800

    total value of honey and hives = 17,800

    Each of the strategies will require aprox. the same amount of equipment. either for honey boxes or brood boxes.

    The second one leave me with higher net value. plus the bees are insurable for the winter. honey crop is not insurable.
    Not to throw a big bucket of cold water on your dream, but all of these figures are fantasy until you actually do the work and make the sale. It's good to plan and to project what you expect, but it often doesn't turn out like you wish, no matter how hard you work.

    For instance, here in NY we didn't have such a bad Summer, but the honey crop was dismall. We should have had 20 to 40 lbs more honey per hive then we did. The second year in a row.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Not to throw a big bucket of cold water on your dream, but all of these figures are fantasy until you actually do the work and make the sale. It's good to plan and to project what you expect, but it often doesn't turn out like you wish, no matter how hard you work.
    Completely understood. In any business there is risk of unforeseen events. I have used conservative numbers in my estemates and do not have to market my wholesale honey myself, the co-op does that for me.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Fresno Ca USA
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Hello Everyone, In post #2 I offered Josh an Excel Spreadsheet for cash flow management and budgeting.
    I am happy to share it with anyone, however I have been getting dozens of request though my PM I can't respond with Excel via the PM.

    Please send your e mail to me at my email shousebee@gmail.com or go to our web site www.almondbeepollination.com go to the contact area type the word "Excel" and it will be automatically sent to your email.

    The spreadsheet can be modified to your specific needs but it is currently sent up with pollination services, honey sales, package sales, and queen sales.
    California Almond Pollination Services, Inc.
    http://www.almondbeepollination.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Jasper, Texas, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    I see the math. I'd place my $2 bet on splitting 10 hives into 20 and getting a big crop is a lot more likely than turning 1/2 the brood from 10 hives into 60 nucs.

    That's equal to having 5 hives in the spring and expecting 60 nucs by fall. That's a 12 to 1 increase. Wow.

    My first and main point is, if you're going to be a honey producer in the future then be a honey producer from the start. The money is almost even and the odds won't be stacked against you.

    I like cash better than equity and insurance. :-)

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    chilliwack, bc
    Posts
    641

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    I think I would just explode those ten hives 4 ways and give them all a new young queen and then build them up to a double to go 4 ways later in the summer. It just doesn't seem that the old queens kept back are going to do you justice with honey production after taking half the bees and brood away and you'd probably fair better to market 25% of the last nucs you made. In the perfect world your ten hives could go to 40 on the first splitting and then to 160 on the second splitting. this is assuming you have the equipment to do that. the nucs could make to a single box for winter too. I did something similar to that about 12 years ago.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,441

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Here is something I learned the hard way in my early years of commercial honey production (raising bees for almond pollination the following year is a different scenario). Make spring splits based on the income you can derive from them THIS year not a year and a half down the road. If you see a yard where most of your honey is being produced by a small percentage of your hives then you are doing something wrong. All this multiplication looks really good on paper but lots of bad stuff can happen along the way when following a long term plan. I never start a year saying I plan on running x number of hives, instead I let the quality of my bees determine my final number. In short, in the beeyard you must think like a beekeeper first and foremost and not an accountant making projections. Also, categorize your expenses between "needs" and "wants" and dont ever let your bees get shorted on their needs. Needs? Health, young queens, feed, forage and lots of room to grow. Wants? The shiny stuff.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Quote Originally Posted by chillardbee View Post
    I think I would just explode those ten hives 4 ways and give them all a new young queen and then build them up to a double to go 4 ways later in the summer. It just doesn't seem that the old queens kept back are going to do you justice with honey production after taking half the bees and brood away and you'd probably fair better to market 25% of the last nucs you made. In the perfect world your ten hives could go to 40 on the first splitting and then to 160 on the second splitting. this is assuming you have the equipment to do that. the nucs could make to a single box for winter too. I did something similar to that about 12 years ago.
    Thanks for the advice,
    This is somewhat like what I did this year, I split singles 4 ways in double nucs and still made enough honey off them to cover my equipment costs.

    I am leaning towards doing what you said again this year, probably will not make a second split anymore.

    I will feed until May long weekend and then split all single deeps 4 ways and all hives that have worked up to doubles 8 ways. I should be able to get the same honey production that I would with the original hives or more with this strategy. This will help with covering the cost of drawn comb and equipment.

    I will not set a specific goal in how many hives I want to have next year so as not to be disappointed. That seems to be something that has been stressed on this thread. If someone asks me how many hives I want, I will say MORE.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,191

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshW View Post
    My end game is to have at least 500 hives, enough for me to work at it full time.
    Maybe this has already been mentioned but is it possible to work for a commercial guy in your area and trade bees for labor? You would also gain knowledge in your area and shorten up the learning curve. Good luck
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshW View Post
    Looking for comments on my strategy for growth next year from those that have already been through the growth stage.

    I will most likely have at least 10 hives to start the spring, allowing them to build up until the last weekend in May, they should be 2 deeps of brood by then. I will then split the colonies in half leaving the laying queens in 10 of the 20 singles. the other 10 queenless singles will each be broken down into four 4 frame nucs with feeders on immediately, no honey stores. (single deep with a divider creating 2 nucs).

    I am not looking for the nucs to produce anything for me except bees and want them to go through the winter as nucs. On July 15 I expect the nucs to be full of brood and the canola flow will be on. I will then take each of the 40 nucs and divide them into 2 nucs each. This should allow enough time for all nucs to be strong going into winter. I winter indoors.

    This should leave me with 80 nucs and 10 full producing hives going into winter after the first year of this strategy.

    Remember in our area we get between 150-200lbs of honey per hive. I can sell locally for $4 per pound, wholesale is about $2lb. Leaving me with between $4,000-8,000 to leverage for 20k plus. at which point I can repeat the process above on a much largers scale.

    If all else fails nucs are going for over $150 in my area.

    My end game is to have at least 500 hives, enough for me to work at it full time.
    I just want to make sure I am understanding you correctly. At the end of may you are hoping for 18-20 frames of bees? They are split in 2? So far so good me thinks. Then the queenless 9-10 frame single gets split into 4? This is how you want to come up with the initial 40 nucs? So you think 2 frames of bees will make 5 frames in 6 weeks (July 15) then you can split again?

    Jean-Marc

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Quote Originally Posted by jean-marc View Post
    I just want to make sure I am understanding you correctly. At the end of may you are hoping for 18-20 frames of bees? They are split in 2? So far so good me thinks. Then the queenless 9-10 frame single gets split into 4? This is how you want to come up with the initial 40 nucs? So you think 2 frames of bees will make 5 frames in 6 weeks (July 15) then you can split again?

    Jean-Marc
    Yes if I were to use that strategy I would do just what you say and then I will put a laying queen in each one. Is that un-reasonable?

    The comb will already be drawn, I did this, this past year and they had 4 frames before the main flow started, I did not split them as I wanted a honey crop from them.
    Last edited by JoshW; 10-29-2013 at 07:07 AM. Reason: more info

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