Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) in Saskatchewan
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Rubina Malik
Posted on: July 01, 2007

I am interested in growing milk thistle on a small scale in Saskatchewan and wanted to ask you how is the current demand and market for it. I would appreciate if you can kindly send latest 2007 market prices, yield per acre and demand info to me.

There is a growing domestic need for Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum L.) seed. World market production is now more than 12,000 acres, with North American production is in excess of 1,200 acres. Current market prices are: seeds, dried $2.40/lb; seeds, organic $6.80/lb.

New demand from European sources have led this to become a cultivated crop. Problems with larvae require it to often requiring sterilized. Organic manufacturers have trouble locating "clean" seed that does not require sterilization. Your region may be cold enough to kill the larvae during the winter, choking it out of a given region.

I personally can sell upward of 6,000 lbs per year, especially when it is truly COG. As a broker, I take a 10% commission on gross sales.

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