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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know they fly around 2-3 miles even heard up to 5 miles. So putting hives in some 6000+ acre field I dont have that. But I was wondering if I put hives in the middle of 40 acres planted with something like a clover (red/white) buckwheat alfalfa mix (dont even know if that mix could work, just came up with 3 things with somewhat different bloom times) with apple and pecan trees on the boarder would that be of any benefit to say 30, 50, 100 hives. Or is 40 acres just to small an area to turn over to a "bee" mixture to be worth while. It would even be irrigated if needed. Just thinking of some extra land we have to build a small scale sideline one day if I ever want to expand. Thanks
 

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I think every bit helps. Perhaps 30 acres won't make a big impact for thirty hives, but the legumes you mentioned are good for the land itself. Of that there is no doubt.

Alex
 

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IMHO bees forage things that are BLOOMING, the items you mention have very finite bloom duration, the rest of the year, they're just there for you to maintain. Plant the fourty acres in something which will generate money for you, the bees may or may not forage what you end up with. In a perfect bee environment, nature would provide a series of plants blooming from early spring to fall. In the real world, bees make do with whatever is around them, if they're in an area with adequate nectar flows through the season they'll survive and possibly flourish. BTW, have you considered the cost of Buckwheat, alfalfa and clover seed? Also there's the cost of the equipment to prepare and seed the ground, or hire it done. Early on, I experimented with a half acre of this an acre of that and seldom saw my bees working it. Made some bumblebees and other critters happy, my bees were busy elsewhere foraging a more plentiful resource. There's a reason they evolved to travel 2-5 miles (depending on the reference) to forage. I own a farm and have the equipment so it was only the cost of the seed (ouch) and that was only an acre or two.

Good luck,
 

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If I had 40 acres to work with, then I'd carefully watch the seasons for a year or two and see what's 'missing'. Are the colonies short of pollen (say) in the early spring, or perhaps in the late fall ? If pollen was an issue, then I'd plant accordingly to address that - say pussy willow for spring, dunno about late pollen off-hand, but there must be something - say a few hundred square feet of heather and start-off from that ?

For the long-term, I'd seriously consider some big trees around the periphery - Bee-Bee and Lime (Basswood) would be my favourites. Trees provide far more nectar and pollen than plants for a given ground area.

If you're not in a rush, consider sowing small 'nursery' areas with the plants you intend to use (rather than broadcast thinly), so that you can more easily harvest the seeds, and work out from there.

I agree with the advice to grow something for now that will provide a financial return - you're going to have to maintain the land anyway, so it might as well bring in some revenue in the meanwhile. Canola, Sunflowers ?
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks we run cattle off the majority of the land. Have a section we are talking about doing something different to. I dont have bees there currently, but will move some hives there this coming spring to see what is around.

We were talking about planting different types of fruit trees, but in Oklahoma we are prone to getting late frosts so that is something we have to consider.

Little-john trees are not out of the question and something that has been tossed around. I will put some bees out and see what is "missing" thanks didn't really think of that.

I brought up the bees to move out there and possibly expand them, but what to plant and if they would work it came up also but again I dont know if 40 acres would do much really with the area they cover. Like yall say we have to work the land anyways in the mean time. Aren't trees mainly spring for bees as far as food? Or do they benefit from them at other times? Just seeing what's out there, since I got the bees I just started looking at crops/plants in another way really I dont know. Just see things differently now.

Spring time I know there is a lot of different types of plants for pollen and nectar. Summer not sure of and fall asters, goldenrod, buckwheat (I like that honey) also thought of sections of a wildflower mix but leery of them not being hearty enough to drown out weeds. I seen a local guy move 80 hives out to a 60 acre buckwheat field earlier this fall and that's what sparked the idea of 40 acres maybe for bees if I could get a good mix of things from late March through October. I guess in a perfect world maybe
 

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I suppose you have heed for hay to supplement your cows from time to time, or to sell. Alfalfa and clover (bees are said to not make use of red clover) can be managed to produce nectar and also hay.

Buckwheat will tend to shade everything else out. It can be cut and fed to cattle (even made into hay, I read). if you wait until some of the seed is mature, harvesting will probably shake enough seed loose to reseed the patch. You can probably get three crops a year. It is a deep rooted plant and valued as a soil improving cover crop.

Some soybean varieties produce nectar. Some say soybean yields are improved by bees.

Bill
 

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if it was here, and could be irrigated, i'd plant yellow sweet clover. It seems to bloom as long as it has water and i don't have any doubt that it would increase honey prouction a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Whiskers- yes we use pasture rotation management. Grass fed system no grain no feed lot. We wont use the area for the cattle. It will be separated, cut off because of a road going in sometime next year. Yea. Thought of turning it into a small orchard type, another hay field (dont really need) nectar/pollen field for bees and other pollinators other ideas floating around. Thanks didn't realize bees didn't work the red clover.

Have to be careful with clover if feed to cattle/livestock. If it spoils it can be toxic just fyi.

Thanks Justin (like the name) didn't know yellow sweet clover would continue to bloom if it is irrigated.
 

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An old friend, gone now, used to plant his fields with a rotation of crops. He started with buckwheat. That choked out the grass and added fiber to the soil. Then it was a mix of OSR and white sweet clover. The rape bloomed, and was a nurse crop for the clover. Then the clover bloomed the next year. In to or three years, once the clover began to die out, the whole process was repeated.
 

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Bees will work Crimson clover.

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Michael Palmer- probably but irrigation is already set up if it is needed. We can get into some very dry spells in summer
 

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if it was here, and could be irrigated, i'd plant yellow sweet clover. It seems to bloom as long as it has water ....
I agree here ^^^. The yellow clover that grows in the ditch in front of my house also keeps blooming as long as I mow it.
 

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I have tried to get "native" wildflower mixes to grow in north Texas and have had no luck. I am in the proccess of harvesting volunteer sunflowers seeds that just started growing on my property and spreading the seed heads out over the farm in different locations hoping they will grow. They have spread on their own in the past 3 years jumping about 100 yards.
 

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if it was here, and could be irrigated, i'd plant yellow sweet clover. It seems to bloom as long as it has water and i don't have any doubt that it would increase honey prouction a lot.
I like this. I've got a smaller piece of land to work with, but by far the flower I see used most by my bees is yellow sweet clover. Much more than the buckwheat and other plants I sow.
 

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In the book Better Bee Keeping Kim Flottum talks about 10 acres being worthwhile and suggests the things LJ recommended. Trees, shrubs and observing gaps in pollen/nectar and planting to fill the gaps.
ks
 
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