What’s Your Market Doing?
With the off shore assault on the industrial U.S. honey market filling pipelines with low cost product, coupled with spotty production in the major producing regions, honey prices are changing. Wholesale prices are down a tad from last month and the month before, but retail prices, especially at the local level are rock steady to increasing a tad. With the new season just getting under way, we asked our reporters about their prices, if they were changing anything in their operations, and how colony conditions were looking for late Summer.
Fully 77% won’t be changing prices this year compared to last, but the remaining 33% will be increasing. None will be lowering prices, which is a good sign. When it comes to increasing other income producing opportunities, 23% are going to ramp up queens-for-sale production, capitalizing on the local queen demand, plus selling local hives and nucs. And just under 15% are going to increase prices and production next year to capture more of that local market, but fully 63% are going to stay right where they are with no changes in sight.
As far as colony management is concerned, about 40% will be feeding carbs and protein this Fall, with about twice as many feeding carbs as protein, about 20% are going to need to combine weak colonies, and pretty much everybody is double checking to make sure everybody is healthy. Mite loads this Summer are pretty much under control, with 75% at or below average for what they expect in Summer, but about 20% had more than they wanted, way more.
Overall, colony losses this Summer, across all regions, is only about 6% so far, with a range of less than 1% in region 1, to a high of 16% in region 6. USDA reported losses in 2016 and 2017 for the July – Sept time frame were between 12 – 13%, so this year seems pretty good.