Sainfoin, as bailed forage, is sold at a price comparable to alfalfa. However, the benefits of Sainfoin – both as animal fodder and pollinator feed source – far exceed alfalfa.
For the beekeeper, the minimum average honey harvested from pasture fields of Sainfoin is 120 lbs per hive with 2 hives per acre. Sainfoin, left for seed, has been said to produce 200-250lbs per hive with 2 hives per acre. This info came from Shane Witzell, a rancher/beekeeper in Wyoming. Cotswold farms (UK) has stated a higher production, while beekeepers in France have stated lower amounts. Hive condition is considered to play a major role in production.
In conjunction with the reclamation part of the U.R.P.P. (Upper Rogue Pollinator Project), providing additional forage for pollinators, including honey bees, there is the possibility of the following, per hive, production and value:
200lbs honey = 200 x $2.00/lb (bulk retail) = $400.00
1 nuc (nucleus colony), average retail price is $100.00. (This is believed to be normal average production, with a re-enforced environment that 2 nucs could be produced through the season.)
Queens – quality queen production requires good influxes of nectar and pollen and because of this most queen production ends in July. With an environment supporting a longer lasting season it is believed that 2 extra queens could be produced per acre.
o Honey = $400.00 x 2 hives = $800.00 per acre
o Nucs = $200.00 x 2 hives = $400.00 per acre
o 2 Queens= $40.00 per acre
Total ‘Added Value’ land production over current use = $1,240 per acre. Thus, 1000 acres equals a potential of $1,240,000.00 per year
Other economic benefits include:
the income potential from Eco-tourism,
other honey bee products that can be produced, and
retail values as a ‘Regional Organic’ brand.
There is also great positive environmental benefits that would be derived from this project ie: soil/water conservation, reduced methane, reduced nitrates, bird forage, wild animal forage
There is potential value from the resulting research and development within the project ie; an adapted hygienic honeybee, sainfoin seed sales, pollen/propolis products, venom, to name a few.