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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got lucky and secured a yard with a distant family member in law who has lots of alfalfa. My uncle told me he lets it go to flower a lot. I met the farmer today to see where to put the bees and agreed on a spot. I asked him if it was true that he lets the alfalfa flower and he said he only takes three crops a year so if it blooms it blooms. He showed me the alfalfa is ready to pop right now.

So on to the question. when alfalfa blooms how long is it in flower and what should I expect for honey production. I know there are variables here but I would like to hear some testimony from those of you that have been lucky enough to get a crop of alfalfa honey. I will probably only be able to put a few colonies there at the moment, Im not commercial, I just have big dreams. There also a huge (thousands of acres) swamp about a 1/4 mile away that will be full of golden rod for fall. I think I just hit the jack pot with this yard.
 

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The alfalfa flow depends on soil type and moisture. If you can't check them frequently leave more supers than you think they will need. It will also depend if there is another beekeeper in the area you are not aware of.
 

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Alfalfa is without a doubt the single most important honey plant in North America. That being said, sounds like a lousy location. I'll put some there first for a while and check it out for you.
 

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Hold on there Tom. There is at least 6 other commercial beeks that I know that could be in that area.:(
 

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How about me, maybe I can move some up from Texas and help you cover that crop. Then you could bring your bees back here to winter :D.
Reckon I could sell it as "Local East Texas Honey"?

:scratch:What else can I throw in to make this deal.

Seriously, hoping everything turns out good.

Kindest Regards
Danny
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hold on there Tom. There is at least 6 other commercial beeks that I know that could be in that area.:(

There are two in my area, one north and one south. Not near close enough to this yard for anyone to get exited. Closest one I know of is at least two miles away. Land owner say he never sees honeybees anymore. My uncles buddy down the road has a plane. Ive been meaning to stop over and see if he will give me a ride so I can be sure about the area. Either way, everyone knows each other around here and Im sure Id know if a local had bees on his land.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Can anybody answer bloom time. Does it bloom for a long period or is it a couple week? Every time I have seen it bloom it is cut right away. Hopefully Ill find out I guess.
 

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Like I said, it depends on soil type and weather conditions. 2 weeks easily(most times). We want hot drought weather for the alfalfa to produce lots of nectar but we want that after the hot moist conditions for the clover.

A couple hives won't matter for another beek to much but I sure wouldn't want someone putting 40 hives 1-2 miles away from mine unless I've discussed it with them and we studied terrain and nectar sources.

I've scouted out bee yards and asked the landowner and neighbors if they know of any other beekeepers in the area. I was told no and I found out later there was-1 mile away.
 

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Alfalfa can actually bloom for a long time. Here where I am at in Eastern Washington alfalfa is produced for seed production. We are anticipating the bloom to begin here in a week or two and should continue for a month at least. They just put out the leafcutters on them and I have about 200 acres within 2 miles of my 6 colonies. Being my first year on this I will update how it goes but my experience in ag is that you have a good time period for a bloom. Course it is also depending on the environment and the length of the growing season on that crop and the variety of alfalfa you are on. If they cut it for hay anticipate a 2 week period before the plant puts on enough growth to start blooming again.
 

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I live in Central/Southern Oregon and the entire community farms alfalfa. I just put 2 hives in the middle of 2000 acres of mostly alfalfa, grass and a 100+ acres of peas mixed in for good measure.

I barely know anything about bees (I've been a beekeeper for 6 days and am afraid I may be queenless), but we've been farming alfalfa before I was born. We get 3 cuttings a year from alfalfa and rarely do we ever let it bloom. Alfalfa quality is better if you cut it before it blooms. BUT there will always bee alfalfa on the edges of fields that won't get cut for whatever reason, as well as random weeds that grow in and around the fields. 2000 acres sounds like the holy grail of beekeeping but in all reality, 97% of it will never bloom. I'm hoping the remaining 3%, pea blossoms, and infinite rabbit brush/sage carry me through the season. If a field ever goes to bloom for whatever reason (late cutting or bad scheduling etc), then that will free up 120 acres of alfalfa bloom near the bees.

I'm hopefully with alfalfa anyway. :)

Now I just need to find out if I have queens...
 

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They usually get four or five crops here. I think the only reason so many is to get it before it blooms. Sometimes they cut it when its a bit short to achieve this. The farmer looked at me with a smirk and said the professional farmers cut it before it blooms but he only takes three crops so if it blooms it blooms. Sounds great to me. Last year all the alfalfa near a yard bloomed when short near fall and I got a good week of it. They nearly packed mediums with it but it was cut before they could bring in enough to cap it so I left it for the bees. I hope to be luckier with this yard.
 

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Yea I feel like my nectar flows will be extremely heavy but short... and rather late in the season. Therefore my theory is to try and get the hives built up and their numbers as high as possible so that when the flow is on they can be out harvesting hard and fast =)

We'll see how that all works out lol...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The Alfalfa flow has been killing me. I need someone to donate about 45 supers so I can keep my bees from swarming.

Anyone else been having luck with alfalfa this year. I have had about three weeks of flow now. If only I had more boxes.
 
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