Sweet news for Central Valley honey producers
March 2, 2006
• Busy bees boost production
• But lower prices sting beekeepers
More honey flowed from California farms to consumers last year.
Honey production jumped 70 percent, to 30 million pounds, according to a report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
In California, bees produced an average of 75 pounds per colony, the report says. There were 400,000 colonies of bees toiling away in the state last year.
But beekeepers are being stung by lower prices. Honey prices decreased during 2005 to 90.4 cents per pound on a national average, down 15 percent from $1.069 in 2004, the report says. Honey prices for 2005 were lower than the previous year for all color class totals.
California honey producers averaged 84 cents per pound last year, the report says, compared to $1.01 in 2004.
A University of California bee expert says production rose, in part, because favorable weather led to more flowers from which bees could gather pollen to make honey.
The increase elevated California to the No. 2 spot among honey-producing states. North Dakota is the nation’s top honey-producing state.
Nationally, honey production totaled 175 million pounds, down 5 percent from 2004. There were 2.41 million colonies producing honey in 2005, down 6 percent from 2004, the report says.