Honey prices record high in 2012, outturn down 1%

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — U.S. honey prices in 2012 were record high for the fifth consecutive year as production declined 1% from 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its recent annual Honey report.

The average price for all classes of honey sold through all channels was a record 195.1c a lb, up 11% from an upwardly revised 176.5c a lb in 2011, the U.S.D.A. said. The average price at retail was 340.5c a lb, up 8% from 314.7c in 2011, and at the cooperative and private level was 187.8c, up 12% from 167.7c. The total value of honey produced in 2012 was $286,976,000, up 10% from $261,850,000 a year earlier.

Production of all types of honey totaled 147,092,000 lbs in 2012, down 1% from 148,357,000 lbs in 2011, the U.S.D.A. said. Honey production in 2009 at 146,416,000 lbs was the lowest in records going back more than 50 years but rebounded to a six-year high in 2010. Production in 2012 was just slightly above the 2009 low and the second lowest in at least the last 25 years.

Stocks of honey held by producers on Dec. 15, 2012, totaled 32,922,000 lbs, down 10% from 36,761,000 lbs a year earlier.

The number of producing colonies increased 5% from 2,491,000 in 2011 to 2,624,000 in 2012, the U.S.D.A. said. Honey yield per colony averaged 56.1 lbs in 2012, down 6% from 59.6 lbs in 2011.

The five states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Florida, California and Minnesota accounted for 57% of the nation’s honey production in 2012, with top producing North Dakota producing 34,155,000 lbs, up 5% from 2011 and accounting for 23% of the total. Minnesota replaced Montana as the fifth-largest producing state in 2012.
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