Honey prices record high in 2011, outturn down 16%

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — U.S. honey prices in 2011 were record high for the fourth consecutive year as production declined 16% from 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its annual Honey report on March 30.

The average price for all classes of honey sold through all channels was a record 172.9c a lb in 2011, up 7% from the revised previous record high of 161.9c in 2010, the U.S.D.A. said. The average price at retail was 328.4c a lb, up 5% from 311.6c in 2010, and at the cooperative and private level was 164.3c, up 7% from 154.1c. The total value of honey produced in 2011 was $256,509,000, down 10% from $285,692,000 a year earlier.

Production of all types of honey totaled 148,357,000 lbs in 2011, down 16% from 176,462,000 lbs in 2010, the U.S.D.A. said. Honey production in 2009 was the lowest in records going back more than 50 years but rebounded to a six-year high in 2010. Production in 2011 was just slightly above that of 148,341,000 lbs in 2007 and the third lowest in at least the last 25 years.

Stocks of honey held by producers on Dec. 15, 2011, totaled 36,761,000 lbs, down 18% from 45,018,000 lbs a year earlier.

The number of producing colonies declined 7% from 2,692,000 in 2010 to 2,491,000 in 2011, the U.S.D.A. said. Honey yield per colony averaged 59.6 lbs in 2011, down 9% from 65.6 lbs in 2010.

The five states of North Dakota, California, South Dakota, Montana and Florida accounted for 62% of the nation’s honey production in 2011, down from 65% in 2010, with top producing North Dakota producing 22% of the total, down from 26% in 2010. Production in North Dakota was 32,660,000 lbs, down 30% from 2010, California was 17,760,000 lbs, down 35%, South Dakota was 16,500,000 lbs, up 7%, Montana was 13,340,000 lbs, up 15%, and Florida was 10,980,000 lbs, down 20%.

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