NATIONAL HONEY MARKET NEWS
EAST COAST. . . ARGENTINA
Light colored wax was being
purchased or traded at $1.00 - 1.50 per pound with most handlers
paying $1.30. The higher price was paid for wax that was brought
in and traded for supplies. There was too little dark wax purchased
or traded during July to quote prices.
COLONY, HONEY PLANT &
MARKET CONDITIONS DURING JULY
July 2000 is making a name for itself as the wettest and coolest July in more than a decade. Temperatures have been approximately 10-15 degrees below normal and rainfall for the month has been recorded at 27 inches (as of the 28th). Honey production has been sporadic throughout the District with some areas reporting a good flow and other parts reporting flows below average. Area beekeepers are expressing disappointment in the flows from tulip poplar and black locust. The cool, damp weather is to blame. Bees are generally in good health. There were occasional disease problems reported in June, however, most beekeepers report these problems have decreased. Bees are foraging on sweet clover, knapweed and various wildflowers.
Officials with Virginia Tech were successful in eliminating an isolated swarm of Africanized honey bees in Low Moor, VA in early July after they attacked a goat. USDA officials confirmed they were the Africanized honey bees. VA Tech has set up monitoring sites near the area. Next week is the Eastern Apiculture Society Beekeeping Conference in Saulisbury, MD. Many activities and presentations are planned for this five-day event.
Weather conditions were unsettled
across the state the first ten days of July. Several weather
disturbances triggered widespread thunderstorms in Northem California.
Over and inch of rain fell during one storm on July 5th. Below
normal temperatures were also reported during the period. By
the middle of the month, high pressure systems brought warmer
than normal temperatures throughout the state but there were
still frequent thunderstorms in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Dry conditions and warm temperatures remained through the end
of the month except the coastal regions which saw occasional
low clouds and fog.
The bees are reported to be in good condition but the hot weather sometimes made them hard to work. Most hives were still setting around or in irrigated crops of cotton, alfalfa and alfalfa seed or in fields such as sage where they had access to water. They did not make a lot of honey because they tended to shut down in the afternoon heat but a few producers expect to get more honey than last year. Some forage crops were beginning to dry up. In some cases, supers were being removed and extracting had started, which is two weeks later than last year.
Packers report they are currently being offered more honey than they need even though prices are low. Because sales of finished products are so unpredictable, they are not contracting too far ahead.
Bee colonies have been working the alfalfa, clover, and other wild flowers, but the dry conditions have greatly limited the bloom, except those on irrigated land. The honey flow is expected to be below normal this season because of these conditions.
The activity is very slow. Most of the bees are out of the State. Bees are making a little bit of honey. The cabbage palm has bloomed a lot this year. This nectar keeps the bees in good shape, but the flow is very thin. Due to dry conditions, the Chinese Tallow crop in north Florida was over too soon and did not do well. Also, the cotton was planted late this year and it is now blooming.
Demand for Florida honey is stagnant with very low prices.
The last two weeks of July have been exceptionally warm and dry across the state. Most beekeepers have starting pulling supers off of a really good honey flow. Everyone hopes the honey flow continues for the next six weeks, despite the dry conditions. It has been noted that in the past some of the dryer years have produced some really good honey. Bees have been feeding off irrigated fields of seed alfalfa and sweet clover. The dry land farming areas have had little or no rain this last month and the next bloom on the hay fields may be sparse.
Some early harvest had begun in southern sections and yields were considered to be normal for the month of July.
Demand for honey was slow and prices remained about unchanged on bulk as well as the retail level.
MISSOURI & IOWA
The bees are reported to be in good condition if they are setting in irrigated fields that still had water. Beekeepers are getting a crop from canola seed and alfalfa. Some have starting extracting.
One of the commercial beekeepers is taking his bees back to the grasslands of southern California to catch the star thistle bloom, which gives a nice light viartial honey. This season there has been an increased demand for pollination on the seed alfalfa fields in Nevada, as the leaf cutter bees have not been performing up to expectations.
Farmers Markets are gaining in popularity with many Utah beekeepers, offering them another way to market their honey with a better return.
Nectar and pollen have been severely retarded in these areas with beekeepers harvesting little or no surplus honey. Southern New England has faired better with beekeepers reporting they are still adding supers and harvesting surplus honey.
Some small outbreaks of Varroa mites were reported, these colony's are being medicated early to try to keep them up to strength for the coming winter.
The bees are looking very good for this time of year. They occasionally shutdown when temperatures climbed into the 90's but even some non-irrigated crops such as red clover, had a good long honey flow during the month. Others showed good build-up during the cranberry bloom. Extraction was just starting, with a good crop expected.
Richard Adee, head of the American
Honey Producers Association, said that cheap honey from Argentina
and China is causing financial disaster for the U.S. honey industry.
Richard said the average price for domestic honey was 93 cents
a pound in 1997, but fell to 65 cents in 1998 and 60 cents last
year. He said import quotas and pricing requirements on Chinese
honey will expire Wednesday, August 16th, and that new pricing
requirements on China and Argentina will be filed with the International
Trade Commission, charging the two nations with dumping honey
on the U.S. market and undercutting U.S. prices. (Associated
Press August 1, 2000)
Eastern Washington was mostly hot and dry throughout the month with daytime highs in the 90's to low 100's. The only rain came from an occasional thunderstorm, which also started several range and forest fires. They were in the Tri-Cities area the first of July, in Klickitat County near the Columbia River and still going the end of the month, a large fire in Okanogan County. A burn-ban was in effect across Eastern Washington. Despite the heat, irrigation water supplies ended the month at 99% adequate. Clover and alfalfa were the main nectar sources as the bees are still in very good condition. Most are setting near irrigated crops or close to rivers and ponds.
Despite an occasional severe weather, North and South Dakota are very dry for the second year in a row. 50% of the state is reporting short or very short topsoil moisture. Because of the dry conditions, some beekeepers decided not to take their bees there this summer.
Some Wisconsin honey production statistics for the last two years are noteworthy. The honey crop of 1999 was down 26% from 1998. Average yield per colony was down sixteen pounds and total value of the crop was down 30%. The drop in value of the overall 1999 crop spotlights two important factors. The average price of honey was four cents per pound less than the 1998 crop. The number of hives dropped by approximately 9,000 in 1999. In 1999 the state slipped to ninth place from seventh in national honey production.
Honey movement was reported slow.