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Number of Wisconsin honeybee colonies is on the rise

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 7:22 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Wisconsin honeybee colonies started this year with more colonies than at the start of 2020. U.S. Department of Agriculture reports say there were 25,000 operations in the state with five or more colonies. That’s a 56 percent increase compared with the 16,000 colonies reported on January 1 of 2020. However, it’s also fewer than the 60,000 colonies reported in the state during the October-to-December quarter of 2020. Wisconsin producers responded by adding more colonies during the January-to-March quarter of 2021, to 37,000. Honey bee colonies lost for operation with five or more colonies during the January-to-March quarter of 2021 was 2,500. Varroa mites were ranked as the state’s top honey bee stressor during the year’s first quarter.

Application information has been made available for Wisconsin’s Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grants program. The program’s goal is to improve the state’s soil and water quality by supporting and advancing producer-led conservation projects. The program’s funding priorities include management projects such as alternative forages or grain crops, precision planting, stacking conservation systems, education and outreach programs and other conservation practices. The application information is available through the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, which administrates the program.

Wisconsin continues to be a milk-pelt production leader in the United States. The USDA has reported that there were 403,540 pelts produced in the state during 2020. Utah produced the second-most pelts at 386,880 pelts. Despite its lead in national production with nearly a third of the nation’s pelts from our state, Wisconsin farmers produced 61 percent fewer pelts during 2020 than were produced in the state during 2019. There were about 1.4 million pelts produced nationally during 2020, a 50 percent decrease compared with 2019.

Week two of the Wisconsin State Fair kicks off today in West Allis; the state fair will run through Sunday. But there are other fairs also on the radar: County fairs this week are in Clark County, Pierce County, Rusk County and Sawyer County.

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