Cropping

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Bee n There, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. Bee n There

    Bee n There New Member

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    In lifes interesting twists and turns it looks like I am going to be doing some farming.

    So say you had tractor and equipment to work the soil and a seed drill plus a few hay fields 5-10 arcres each around your bee yard what would you plant? One of the fields had been planted a few years ago with clover but is pretty grown up with grass also.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Whatever brings the most money at harvest. Planting for the bees is a waste of time. They will ignore your fields and go to the neighbors. Just like you and I did when we were kids. The neighbor's food was always better. :D :D

    Seriously, plant for harvest. The bees will make out on any of it.
     

  3. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    :goodpost:
    What Iddee said.
    Plant bee flowers in the flower bed behind the house.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    One of the fields had been planted a few years ago with clover but is pretty grown up with grass also

    tecumseh:
    sounds to me like this is what I would start managing. likely you just need to encouraged the clover with a bit of labor. clover is an expensive crop to plant and establish but generally once it is established provides a constant source of excellent nectar for the bees, feed for animals and nitrogen for the soil.
     
  5. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Hard to really profit much on 5 acres.

    Not sure what type business setup you have have. But here are some options.

    Sunflowers. They don't put off much nectar but do put off pollen. Some types better than others. There could be a market to flower shops in cut flowers, homeowners for bird feed, and perhaps hook up with gardening groups to sell the heads in bulk to eco-friendly groups. Easy to grow and plant.

    Buckwheat. Flowers out about 30 days after planting. So timing for maximum bee use can easily be accomplished.

    If you are going to let it grow and don't want to mow and spend money maintaining much, yellow sweet clover. (Although it blooms the second year. But a great cover crop that can be mixed with other seeeds.

    Again, not knowing if you want to, or are looking to harvest or not, but you can also buy goldenrod seed. And even aster.

    If you have enough potential customers or are looking to sell product and make money off the land, you could do any number of pick your own crops. I do a few blueberry, pumpkin, and strawberry farms. It is amazing how much CASH ;) flows in on a Saturday morning.

    I'm a "niche" type thinker. I think there are many markets to maximize potential and profit. (Profit......still a good term in my mind :thumbsup: )

    Whatever you do, good luck!
     
  6. Bee n There

    Bee n There New Member

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    I guess none of it likely makes sense givens todays markets and expences. The existing but somewhat overgrown clover field does look to be the easiest to start with and the hay from it could be some value sold as small square bales for horses or farm pets.

    I did plant a couple small plots of sunflowers, buckwheat and mixed in some yellow clover this year. Sunflowers heads harvested by hand will make some chicken and turkey feed but really impractical to try and grow as a sale crop when I'd have to pay for someone to combine it and those guys have zero desire to mess with small fields.

    Frustrating how agriculture has gone, often it seem every effort has been made to squash the small farms forcing them to either sell or lease to larger industrial farms that can only profit with mono culture planting, genetically modified seeds and tones of chemicals.
     
  7. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Alfalfa, cost to start is high, but in my area we get 3 to 4 cuttings and it last for several years. The bees love it and the square bales sell for a premium. If your wanting to make a living off the farm? you will be better off getting a minimum wag job. :mrgreen: Jack
     
  8. jb63

    jb63 New Member

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    Do you have irrogation?
     
  9. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    No irrigation here, we just rely on the weather.The root system on alfalfa goes deep into the ground (i've heard 15ft.?) which helps it survive drought. Irrigation would be a plus. Jack
     
  10. Bee n There

    Bee n There New Member

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    Thats the thing, more and more people are having a hard time even finding one of those. Right now I have some resources to build up these things, a couple year out based on how I read the witing on the wall I likely won't.

    Also if farm land gets left it gets exponentially harder to reclaim the fields and the value of the land from both a practical and financial prespective falls.

    There are other little twists to it as well, if the farm makes nothing we pay 4 times the property tax rate as we do if the farm shows >$7000 in sales (not profit).

    Don't have any need for irrigation here, virtually unheard of short of growing specialty crops. Tile drains on the otherhand would be nice and the big local producers do spend a lot of cash for drainage just to get onto the fields a couple weeks earlier.
     
  11. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    I think if I had access to 5-10 acres, I would consider raising grass fed (hopefully organic) beef. Even in the area where I am, which is very economically distressed right now, people are willing to pay for this kind of meat. Some places work as co-ops (people pay so much upfront then the rest when the steer is butchered and packaged) while other places raise only so many steers and then advertise when they have availability.

    The good thing about this would be that both bees and cattle like the same kind of plants.