Canola Crop
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Thread: Canola Crop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Keller, Tx
    Posts
    328

    Default Canola Crop

    Has anyone put their bees on Canola here? Was it Roundup-ready canola? Did you have any issues with your bees. I know there has been alot of stuff flying around site about Bayer chemicals on the seed but I would like to know if anyone here has real world experience? I had my bees on RR soybeans last year and did not have any problems.
    "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies." - Thomas Jefferson

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,668

    Default Re: Canola Crop

    Bees on canola for a honey crop or bees on canola for seed pollination?

    Allen Dick in Alberta Canada used to do canola seed pollination. He said the first year he did it, his hives were super strong. He never had hives that strong again. IIRC, he talked like he wouldn't have a hive in seed pollination 2 years in a row. It just drained them too bad. He would rotate batches of hives to pollination, and allow hives a year to recover from doing pollination. The money must have been worth it, because he kept going back.

    Some of the other Canadian guys have hives on canola for honey - I haven't heard complaints of adverse effects, or at least no one is publicly avoiding having their hives in canola.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,683

    Default Re: Canola Crop

    We have had bees on canola for honey, not just for pollination. The pollen they do gather really builds the hives up well. It is a good combination pollen. If you can get your hives ready for a canola flow, you need boxes. They go gangbusters.
    I had 20 hives in a yard, they were started as nucs, but I took to long to move them to the new yard and there was drifting. When they got tothe new yard, they were 1 and two frames. However, by the end of our short season they built fast and produced 100 pounds of honey and had a decent winter survival rate.

    One note...do not leave canola honey stores in your hives for winter. Canola hardens so the bees can not make use of it for winter feed.

    As for round up ready and or any fungicides, herbicides and pesticides, not a problem. Most pestcides are sprayed before flowering, at the 3-4 leaf stage.

    I plan to put bees on canola this year since we are hoping to grow some.

    The honey is not as sweet as clover or alfalfa. I am told that canola honey added to clover for creaming makes the best creamed honey

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    328

    Default Re: Canola Crop

    It is my understanding that when bees are used on canola for seed production they do not do well as very little nectar is produced. The honey yield is poor.

    As far as bees on canola, I do not think there is a beekeeper in western Canada that will not have some canola honey in the hive. There are thousands of acres of it grown up here.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
    Posts
    2,069

    Default Re: Canola Crop

    I put bees on canola seed pollination. The bees do well on it. They certainly do a lot better than if they were to stay here. They don't get a great honey crop but on average 50-60 pounds. 60-70 % of the hives are strong enough to split afterwards and with enough patties and syrup will make a fine double come winter.

    The bees that stay in strict honey production produce more honey and they are not moved around so much, so they generally are in better condition at the season's end.

    The reason beekeepers keep going back is that those pollination contracts are pretty good. The seed companies treat the beekeepers fairly well. The money is allocated in 2-3 chunks in the year, depending on what seed company you work for. Some of the money comes in the spring so beekeepers have some operating money. More in the fall, so you have money to treat and feed the bees. Overall it's pretty good. Canada's largest beekeeping operations work for those seed companies. Without those seed companies the beekeepers in that area would struggle. The honey crop is just not quite good enough.

    Jean-Marc

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Miami, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    9,340

    Default Re: Canola Crop

    80% of my crop is canola honey. I see huge yields off it, and its pretty reliable for nectar production. Bees Do well on canola regardless GMO;s and that whole scare tactic
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

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