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WikdWaze
08-09-2004, 01:45 AM
I know I haven't even started my first batch yet, but I'm already planning for commercial production :o Seems to me the most efficient way to go about it would be to control every aspect of it. If you had a few acres of the source plant, your own apiaries, and whatever else you could be sure of always having a supply of honey. What I can't find, however, is any estimates of how much honey you can get from an acre of the source plant. I know this would depend on how many bees you had, but that would in turn depend on how much an acre would support. It wouldn't be a problem if you only needed 5-10 acres to support your production level, but if you needed much more than that you'd have to find some way of making additional profit by harvesting the source plant.

Anybody know of any meaderies doing this? Any sites where I could find how much honey an acre of various plants could produce?

Derf
08-09-2004, 02:04 AM
I can assure you that running your own apiary is NOT a good way to ensure you have a consistant suply of honey. Keeping bees happy and healthy and putting out honey is not easy and there is no way to be sure of exactly how much honey they will produce from one season to the next. If you want to keep bee, do it because you love bees. And do more research.

You can't find any info about how much honey you can get from an acre of "source plant" because it doesn't make much sence to try to measure it that way. A given hive of bees may be able to produce 80 pounds in a year. 30 pounds is more realistic. If it's a bad year, you may not be able to take any, and you will still have to feed them sugar water to get them through the winter. As far as area is concerned, bees can fly as far as 10 miles to find flowers, but they are much happier if they can stick to a 2 mile radius. That's a lot of acres. And how many hives can you keep in one apiary? If the area is rich in flowers you can probably keep 25 or so in one spot before crowding will have a negative impact on your overall production. You'll get diminishing returns before that though.

WikdWaze
08-09-2004, 03:18 AM
I'd definitely have a trained professional in charge of the little critters. I've always been fascinated by the subject, but I have no desire to do it myself.

More research has led me to believe it may be impractical. A professionally managed hive is capable of producing 100 pounds of honey annually. They say that 2-3 hives per acre is the maximum to prevent crowding. That means that, if everything goes right, an acre can produce 300 pounds of honey. Using 3 pounds per gallon for a sweet mead, that means 1 acre could produce 100 gallons. That's 500 standard wine bottles per acre. Even doing all the work myself that's not much of a payday unless I put a hefty pricetag on each bottle, and I still have to pay the beekeeper. Seems you'd need 30-50 acres minimum to keep the profits at a reasonable level. Only thing to do is compare the price of 9,000 pounds of honey, including shipping, to the annual cost of maintaining 30 acres of land and 90 or 100 beehives.

Oskaar
08-09-2004, 03:54 AM
For me, too much cash, time and hassle. Let the bee-keepers do their thing. I'm happy just to buy it from them and make mead.

Wickd, do you have Ken Schramm's book, The Compleat Mead Maker? If not I would recommend getting it. He has some great information in there on a lots of the subjects you seem interested in. I know it's no substitute for personal experience, but it will help to point you in the right direction when you want to research something.

I like the book, and got a kick out of some of his recipes. That Cyser recipe he put in there looks interesting. It sounds pretty similar to Thirsty Viking's recipe.

Speaking of which, has anyone seen or heard from TV lately??

He seems to be MIA!
Oskaar

Norskersword
08-09-2004, 05:58 AM
Yes The Compleat Meadmaker has alot of info on bees and the work that beekeepers go through.

I've been wondering what happened to ThirstyViking as well, but came to the conclusion that he is tied up in family matters right now, since he mentioned that in a few posts. Lets hope he comes back to the forum soon. In the meantime, maybe we should email him to find out what's up.

Jmattioli
08-09-2004, 07:09 AM
Wickd, do you have Ken Schramm's book, The Compleat Mead Maker? If not I would recommend getting it. He has some great information in there on a lots of the subjects you seem interested in. I know it's no substitute for personal experience, but it will help to point you in the right direction when you want to research something.

Good advice Oskaar. I also have been wondering about ThirstyViking (miss his inputs) and also Vicki. Haven't heard from her much at all lately. Left her a message concerning the search engine on the home page and haven't heard back yet.
Joe

Vicky Rowe
08-09-2004, 09:46 AM
Sorry guys, my mundane life has taken over lately, and I've been buried in what little free time I have with trying to figure out the Gotmead re-write. Should I put it into a content management system, and what will that do to my Google ranking, or should I laboriously re-code the whole thing by hand, and maybe save the ranking?

Meanwhile, I am backlogged about 6 months on updates, so I'm just trying to catch up. Sorry about not being around much, I haven't even had time to rack my own batches lately!

Vicky

WikdWaze
08-09-2004, 11:29 AM
For me, too much cash, time and hassle. Let the bee-keepers do their thing. I'm happy just to buy it from them and make mead.

Wickd, do you have Ken Schramm's book, The Compleat Mead Maker? If not I would recommend getting it. He has some great information in there on a lots of the subjects you seem interested in. I know it's no substitute for personal experience, but it will help to point you in the right direction when you want to research something.

I like the book, and got a kick out of some of his recipes. That Cyser recipe he put in there looks interesting. It sounds pretty similar to Thirsty Viking's recipe.

Speaking of which, has anyone seen or heard from TV lately??

He seems to be MIA!
Oskaar

Like I said above, I'd let a professional handle the bees. I was just thinking that a meadery with it's own apiary would be more cost effective than shipping hundreds even thousands of gallons of honey halfway across the country. I mean, how many wineries buy their grapes from an outside supplier?

Believe me, I plan to get some books on the subject. My brain is a sponge, it's not happy unless it's soaking up information. I've pretty much exhausted what's available on the net it seems. That's why I keep tapping into the vast well of knowledge here.

Norskersword
08-10-2004, 01:40 AM
Sorry guys, my mundane life has taken over lately, and I've been buried in what little free time I have with trying to figure out the Gotmead re-write. Should I put it into a content management system, and what will that do to my Google ranking, or should I laboriously re-code the whole thing by hand, and maybe save the ranking?

Meanwhile, I am backlogged about 6 months on updates, so I'm just trying to catch up. Sorry about not being around much, I haven't even had time to rack my own batches lately!

Vicky

Vicky, I deal with this problem every day at work and I must say that every day I am frustrated by the restrictions our content editors bring to the table, especially in the head section of the documents, which the ones we have almost completely restrict access to.

I came to my job with web design experience and, being forced to use content editors, I must say that I find them to be too restricting for comfort, and prone to errors. Granted, I know nothing about the one you plan to use.

I hope that answers your question.