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Bees and suitable crops - Question from Customer Support Ticket

ANON
I live in the country on a small farm. We have livestock and will soon have bees. I will build fence around hives to keep livestock away.

I am planning to plant crops for the bees. I have to consider appropriate forage for the livestock (particularly sheep). I will be planting some buckwheat which is an excellent pollen/nectar source and is suitable for sheep to feed on. By the way, if you haven’t tried it, buckwheat honey is a dark/bold flavored honey - it’s great ! Do you have any suggestions for other crops that will safely serve dual purpose for bees and sheep ?

Kieran there is a project in Western Australia looking to assess different legumes (clovers) as a dual source of nectar and livestock feed. Bell Seeds are part of the trial and have some seed varieties that they sell that meet this need. I guess the answer will be country/location specific so may not be much use in answering your customers question.

Crimson Red Clover Crimson Red Clover $6.60 per kg | Bell Pasture Seeds
Perennial Reaper red Clover Perennial Reaper Red Clover $17.00 per kg | Bell Pasture Seeds
Palestine Strawberry Clover Palestine Strawberry Clover $11.00 per kg | Bell Pasture Seeds

Adam

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How about alfalfa? I know it is good for silage for cows, so maybe for sheep too. If you can let some go to the flowering stage, your bees will love you!

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Local Department of Agriculture would be a good starting point.

There are too many variables to give a generic answer. Climate, soil, paddock load and rotation, crops rotation, surrounding flora, pest/weed management, plant considered (or not) to be invasive locally, etc.

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