How Many Honey Bee Colonies Can a Farmer Afford for a Collective Cotton Pollination Bee Yard?
David E. MacFawn, Jeffrey Kaigler, Russell Sharpe
The farmer will have a positive impact on his profit margin if the cost of honey bees (Apis mellifera) is less than the value of the increase in production (for both yield plus quality) for his crop. Hence, without bees you may be impacting the profit margin of your operation. Cost of colonies can impact a farmers’ profit margin. The farmer may have to back-off on the number of recommended colonies due to cost. Question is, what are the absolute maximum number of colonies that a farmer can afford based on his costs and revenue, and the minimum number of colonies to properly pollinate a farmer’s crops?
In this analysis, we determined the actual farmer primary variable cost factors, the most recent revenue factors, and varied the impact of increases in yield and quality due to honey bees (Apis mellifera), to determine the increase in revenue and profit for the crops. Soybeans, cotton, and sunflower were addressed. We finally only analyzed cotton, since the yield research benefits of soybeans are variable, and the farmer was not planning on harvesting the sunflowers. We used the research recommended number of colonies, and varied the yield + quality for the cotton until a positive farm operation return was obtained. The yield + quality crop increase percentages were compared to the research numbers to determine if the results were greater or less than the research results. This analysis also incorporated the notion of co-op renting of honey bees (Apis mellifera) by one or several farmers to reduce the colony cost per farmer.
Beekeeper David E. MacFawn Master Craftsman Beekeeper, BSEE, MBA, CCP, PTM, PMP-retired 205 Ridgecreek Drive Lexington, SC 29072 803.957.8897 (home) 803.629.8076 (cell) firstname.lastname@example.org
140 Kaigler Road
Swansea, SC 29160
P.O. Box 552
North, SC 29112