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Author Topic: 40 Acres  (Read 5829 times)
Highlandsfreedom
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« on: June 29, 2009, 02:56:15 PM »

I have 40 acres of cattle land in Colorado.  I have been propositioned to go in to the almond crops with another beekeeper.  Between us we have about 40 hives and we would like to fill up a flatbed with 450 hives.  That would require buying a couple hundred packages and splitting the ones we already have and catching more swarms and keeping up with the cut outs.  I know NOTHING of the almond crops except that they need about 1,000,000 hives a year right?  I was going to plant about 20+ acres of alf alfa and buckwheat or something like that and keeping the hives on my property the rest of the year.  This is still in the planing stages and I think it would be an adventure of a lifetime but I was going to get some of you ol timers on here to give me some advice.  I'm not thinking ill make a million dollars but a nice supplemental income would be GREAT. 
Thanks for the advice,
David

Would the initial investment be worth it? 
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Robo
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2009, 03:06:31 PM »

I have no experience, but have heard horror stories of beeks joining together and sending bees out for almonds through a broker and loosing their shirts.   Hives lost,  reports of disease, etc, etc.  So do your homework and stay on top of things.  Remember, nothing is for free, if it seems to good, chances are it is.

good luck...
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Highlandsfreedom
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2009, 03:12:44 PM »

Right thats my motto There is no such thing as a free lunch.... We have the tractor trailer our selves never thought about brokers just gonna call up a farmer tell you how little I know.  Thanks for the advice.
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2009, 06:10:21 PM »

from what I hear its like a crap shoot, if you get in with the right crowd you will make money, if not you lose your shirt, if the one you are talking to has been doing it for years then might be good but if they aren't you got a good chance of coming out on the deep end, best thing to do is tie in with someone that has been doing it for years.
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doak
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2009, 09:57:02 PM »

If I had 40 acres I think I would stay home, keep the bees at home and divy up the acres.
Different crops for different times. Try to figure 10 acres of clover in, when nothing else is in bloom.
Instead of 450 hives, maintain about 100 or 150 and keep on top of things.
Throw 10 acres of water melons in there at the right time. Local melons will out sell shipped ones two to one.
Buy you a good used tractor and a combine and harvest your clover seed and any other seed you produce.
With a set up like that it will be hard to tell the difference between  your main
crop and your byproduct.
If I was 20 or 30 years younger and had 40 acres anywhere I think I could make a showing.
My 2 bit's worth. :)doak
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homer
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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2009, 10:21:58 PM »

I know a few beeks here in utah who do the almond thing every year.  Both of them say the make much more money in the 6 weeks the bees are in the almonds then they do the rest of the year combined with their hives.  The initial investment would be pretty big though, and also keep in mind the amount of time that would be required of you to take care of the hives while they are in cali.
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Animator
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2009, 07:51:34 PM »

Keep us posted. Sounds Luke an adventure.  I would call the farm co-op there. Get some names. Call them up and get a feel for the $$ potential.   Or even better. Take a ride with someone that's doing it. See how they make a profit.  We have similar situations with citrus season.  I think our guys prefer working with locals.
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Shawn
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2009, 09:16:51 PM »

There is a beek that brings his hives to SE Colorado for the melon fields, lots of them. Not sure on the outcome but I saw the hives are branded with something that has "pollination company" on them. I took a finnacial class and they strongly discourage against partnerships. I agree with doak about using up the acres for different crops and cut back on the hives.
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Highlandsfreedom
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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2009, 10:44:19 PM »

I like his Idea too
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jsmob
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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2009, 02:42:15 PM »

Go here and ask these guys.They can give you the 411 you need.
http://www.beesource.com/forums/   Commercial Beekeeping/Pollination
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hankdog1
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« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2009, 12:22:19 PM »

If you'll pm me your email i have some information on doing splits that will probably get you where you need to be in a year or two without having to buy packages.  Also i think i have some on queen rearing too if you would like to get rid of that expense when doing the splits.  Look up Redbee on here i hear he runs 5 loads down every year. 
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2009, 07:28:00 PM »

These days, with so many disasters happening in the almond orchards, about the only way to get into the almond pollination is through a reliable broker.  There are several in California.  Keep your drop sites to a minimum, if you can put 50 hives in 5 locations it's much better than 10 here, 40 there, 20 over yonder, etc.  Limited sites with maximum hives gets you in easier, less to go wrong, and easier pick up. 
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longrangedog
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2010, 10:05:46 AM »

40 acres isn't enough to justify the equipment needed to efficiently harvest seed crops or most other mechanically harvested crops. A new combine is 100k plus. You can spend 50k plus on a new tractor. Used equipment is expensive and you have to add the maintenance burden you have with older machines. If you want to make money on small farming operations you have to focus on products you can grow with minimal labor and equipment. Around here locally grown vegetables (and honey) sell well at farmers markets. With one to two acres you can do "you pick" crops like sweet corn, tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, etc. A small tractor (45hp) with a turning plow, harrow, cultivator, tiller, and planter will do for a small one man operation. If you don't have irrigation you're at the mercy of the weather. Finding part time affordable help to expand beyond a one man operation is also difficult. I've got 115 acres and rent all buy a few acres to a big farming operation. The rent pays the taxes most years. The small plots left are truck farmed and hold my 25 to 30 hives. I couldn't make a living doing this. I'm retired and have other income sources. Going back to living off the land is an idea that appeals to a lot of people but when you try doing it you find yourself living at the poverty level and working your but off. My 2 cents worth.
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Somerford
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2010, 03:39:34 AM »

For what it's worth, I'd make sure the 40 acres had some really fine hedges between the fields (none of this wire/post rail fencing) that produces berries you can pick - and flowers the bees will love too. Make sure that you have a good crop rotation to rest the soil and consider organic as it pays a premium too.

You don't need all singing and dancing kit for the place - perhaps hire in a combine/baler/plough for the first couple of years to help cash flow.

Ref Bees : to build up to that quantity of colonies in 1 season is asking for trouble - double maybe, treble perhaps, but 450 stong colonies is alot to manage - in the UK that's about the limit for a 1 man operation, although you are bound to loose probably 10/20% as you simply won't get round them all at peak time and then you need to consider the processing of all that honey too - you could be talking 1600 supers to extract in a good season - or more ! =  a full time job for anybody !

Whatever you decide, best of luck and let us know how you get on

regards

S
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Scot McPherson
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2010, 12:22:18 PM »

40 acres isn't enough to justify the equipment needed to efficiently harvest seed crops or most other mechanically harvested crops.

I have to agree....However I would use that land for perenial crops....Fruit and nut bearing trees, shurbs and vines and canes and ground covers. You can do say one or two acres of seed crop or corn, melon and/or veg that you hand sow, manage and harvest, but that's a lot of work. However not having to buy the expensive equipment more than makes up for it. I know someone who has a road side stand right next to his few acre farm and he makes money every year managing that farm by hand.

Me I just try to do enough to keep us in fruit....Apples, Pears, Peaches, Apricots, Cherries, Blue Berries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, Grapes (wine, table and jelly grapes), plus a a few plots of veg that we like.
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