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Wisconsin honey bees rebound slightly in 2020

The bee business is buzzing
The bee business is buzzing(WCJB)
Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 7:20 AM CDT
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - A week from today the USDA will release its 2021 Planting Intentions Estimates for the major crops grown across the country. But ahead of that many commodity firms are offering their own estimates after talking to their farmer clients. One of those, IHS Marketing, is projecting farmers will plant 94.3 million acres to corn this spring—up almost 3 and a half million acres from last year. And they expect soybean acreage to jump over 6.6 million acres to 89.7 million this spring. But they do forecast that all wheat acres will be down about 1 million acres to 45.3 million.

February milk production across Wisconsin was down a little from last year. Total production hit 2.42 billion pounds in February—down less than 1% from last year.. Production per cow was down last month by 10 pounds from a year ago to 1,920 pounds per cow. Nationally milk production in February was also down—by just over 1%. Total production in the top 24 milk producing states was 16.8 billion pounds with California still leading in total production with 3.3 billion pounds in February. Like in Wisconsin, production per cow was down across the country by an average of 44 pounds—dropping to 1,864 pounds per cow. Idaho continues to rank third in milk production with Texas and New York in a battle for number 4.

Wisconsin honey bees had a pretty good year in 2020. Honey production across the state was up 4% last year to 2 and a quarter million pounds, and that’s with one thousand fewer colonies. We now rank 15th in honey production as each of our 45,000 colonies averaged 50 pounds of honey last year, up from 47 the year before. Also up was the price. Our 2020 honey crop was worth over 7.3 million dollars—13% more than in 2019 and the price per pound was up 26 cents to $3.26. Nationally honey production was down about 4% last year with total production at 148 million pounds. North Dakota is number 1 in honey production by far with yields last year of 38.6 million pounds.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he was going to provide more money for the Food Stamp program and he has. The Biden Administration has announced a 15% increase in program funding that will run through September providing an estimated $3.5 billion to the hungry in this country. The increased funding will mean an extra $100 a month for a family of four.

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