WASHINGTON — U.S. honey production from operations with five or more colonies totaled 147,638,000 lbs in 2017, down 9% from 161,882,000 lbs a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its annual Honey report March 14. Production was the lowest since 142,296,000 lbs in 2012 and the second lowest in records going back more than 30 years.
Honey was harvested from 2,669,000 colonies (operations with five or more colonies) in 2017, down 4% from 2,775,000 colonies in 2016, which had been the highest colony count since 1994, the U.S.D.A. said. Honey yield per harvested colony averaged 55.3 lbs, down 5% from 58.3 lbs in 2016.
Dec. 15, 2017, producer honey stocks were 30,577,000 lbs, down 26% from 41,253,000 lbs a year earlier.
Honey prices averaged 215.6c per lb in 2016, up 2% from 211.9c per lb in 2016, which was revised up from 207.5c initially reported last year. Prices included honey sold through private and retail channels and cooperatives.
The U.S.D.A. said production from operations with less than five colonies totaled 599,000 lbs, down 22% from 766,000 lbs in 2016, harvested from 20,000 colonies, down 17% from 24,000 colonies, with an average yield of 30 lbs per colony, down 6% from 31.9 lbs.