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Alastair

Cost of sugar

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Have used Chelsea maxis this season which has worked well, but since getting the bills have done a few sums, and best I can tell it's a much more expensive way to get sugar than buying granulated sugar and dissolving it yourself.

 

I'm not sure if some folks get discounts.

 

Anyhow bit late for this season, but for next time around i'm just wondering what people do for the most economical way to feed sugar?

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Have used Chelsea maxis this season which has worked well, but since getting the bills have done a few sums, and best I can tell it's a much more expensive way to get sugar than buying granulated sugar and dissolving it yourself.

 

I'm not sure if some folks get discounts.

 

Anyhow bit late for this season, but for next time around i'm just wondering what people do for the most economical way to feed sugar?

I try to buy it by the ton and mix my own syrup, last time I got a 1 ton pellet of damaged 25kg bags....only a third of the bags were damaged but I think I paid 95cents a kg.

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18,000 L at a time, I would hate to have to try and mix that as fast as we can feed it out for wintering

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25kg bags from Gilmours in Constellation Drive. They were around $23/$24 per bag on my last shop.

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As you know it all comes down to how much your time is worth. If you can do more valuble things with the time used mixing then the maxi is cheap. If you mix it in TV watching, non profitable down time then that may keep the cost down. If it is during R&R time then that may have a physical cost.

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Good comments. The last 2 maxis cost me just over a thousand bucks as spot price of sugar went up.

 

My rough calculations are that the maxi holds 1120 kg's of syrup and is 66% sugar, or that's my understanding at this stage.

 

If so, 1120 x's 66% ='s 739.2 kilos of sugar. Currently I can go to Gilmores down the road and get Chelsea white sugar for $23 for a 25 kilo bag. Which would cost out the quantity of sugar in a maxi at $680.00. But a maxi at $1050.00 is $370.00 more. If I bought bagged sugar I could probably mix that quantity in an hour using my tank and pump, and $370.00 for an hours work is a rate I would not complain about.

 

Of course I would have to drive down and get the sugar which might take another hour but I haven't costed that because I also have to hassle around taking delivery of the maxi which is roughly a similar amount of work.

 

Any thoughts?

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Your maths looks sound. I intend to keep buying and mixing.

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At your age Alastair a man's entitled to think stuff it I can't be bothered with all that mixing :lol:lol

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I worked it out that it costs me around 1 dollar per l to buy pre mix and around 70c per l To mix excluding time. I am fairy sure I could mix 1000L in a day, and I would rather have the $300 in my pocket. That may change in time tho.

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depends a bit on scale, but time is a big factor and also cost of hot water.

heating large volumes of water is not cheap and you won't get 2:1 without heating it.

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A couple hundred litres of water heated in a dairy heater doesn't cost much at all, tbh a large amount of water is heated in your house every day

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A couple hundred litres of water heated in a dairy heater doesn't cost much at all, tbh a large amount of water is heated in your house every day

but your looking at i think 300 odd liters per maxis which you can use one or two a day easy enough.

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looking at the numbers posted above, not including labour it is still cheaper to mix granulated sugar, but I suspect with labour it would still be cheaper

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I hate to think how many tonnes of sugar I have mixed over the years. I have been getting my sugar in Maxis for many years now and although it is more expensive it has a lot of advantages including not fermenting anywhere near as fast. It also doesn't seem to cause quite as much robbing. I only feed sugar when I have to . I save a lot of honey to feed back to the hives in the spring which on the face of it seems to be the most expensive option but it does have a lot of advantages. Feeding hives can be like buying boxes. The cheapest option is not always the most economical in the long term. We used to feed dry raw sugar many years ago and believe me that really is a last resort.

I would still love to get hold of commercial quantities of fondant. This is readily available in many overseas countries and I just can't understand why it's not available here.

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it has a lot of advantages including not fermenting anywhere near as fast.

i suspect not quite getting the home mixed quite thick enough.

but there can also be issues with sanitation. your adding bacteria and yeasts with the water (unless sterilized) which starts off the fermentation. especially if water is not hot enough as the sugar cools the water down. not enough heat to kill the yeast and bacteria but hot enough to make a perfect growing environment.

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I would still love to get hold of commercial quantities of fondant. This is readily available in many overseas countries and I just can't understand why it's not available here.
Think I can take a stab at answering that. Fondant is mainly used in countries with very cold winters by beekeepers who for whatever reason did not get their hives fed syrup in time, winter can set in so quick by the time they have harvested things get cold so quick the bees won't take syrup so they get fed fondant.

 

Here in NZ our kinder winter climate is more forgiving and gives a decent leeway to get hives fed syrup before things get too cold.

 

Just wondering John why a commercial beekeeper such as yourself would be interested in feeding fondant? Syrup, to me anyway, is so much simpler. But I'm sure you have your reasons what are they?

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How is fondant different to icing? Could an icing manufacturer do a batch for you?

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i suspect not quite getting the home mixed quite thick enough.

but there can also be issues with sanitation. your adding bacteria and yeasts with the water (unless sterilized) which starts off the fermentation. especially if water is not hot enough as the sugar cools the water down. not enough heat to kill the yeast and bacteria but hot enough to make a perfect growing environment.

Thymol and Iso Alcohol added to syrup will keep it clear.

My next maxi if needed will be invert which is more expensive but more realistic for late feeding, not that I really want to pour any more water into my hives.

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I thought you used fondant Philbee?

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I'm getting 67% inverted sugar at $1 litre delivered, I have a large yearly contract. Currently on selling for $1.10 litre, RRP however has been set at $1.20 ltr, i don't think it costs me that much in pump power to shift it and organise loads/re order etc... I do reheat the syrup for myself though 40 deg, just to make it pump smoother so this time of year its going into hives warm plus i can mix in my goodies. It would be $1.20 if anyone wanted that service.

 

Fondant would be awesome for nucs and queen breeding units and weak hives, I'd buy if if available, we used to feed glucose to our poly nucs to prevent robbing

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I thought you used fondant Philbee?

I used to but its not possible now,

If I could buy it Id use it

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Ha Ha I wondered how long till you came round. :D

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Ha Ha I wondered how long till you came round. :D

Id like to be able to buy huge rolls of marshmallow like ready lawn that could be cut to length and placed in my deep hive mats over a central access hole to the hive.

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Yes, well making it is probably 1/2 the battle.

 

Of course, anything can be made if the price is right. Heck, I would make and sell it if the price was right. But that's one of the reasons I've never seen it as practical, just the making of fondant is so much drama compared to syrup. I'm guessing that's why you decided not to use it any more?

 

The other major advantage with syrup is if it is fed at the right time the bees can store it as they would honey, exactly where they want it for their winter food supplies. Unlike fonant which by definition has to be a big lump of something not in the comb where the bees would naturally have their food stores.

 

The big advantage with fondant could be feeding weak nucs without much risk of robbing. Although that can be done with syrup long as the system is right.

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Couldn't you just feed pollen substitute patties to weak hives and nucs instead?Looking at the recipies of it, there is a lot of sugar in those! Fondant if it could be bought in large quantities, if at all(I've never seen it for sale) would be cheaper for sure

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