Goldenseal and Ginseng Dried Root Weights?
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Andrew
Posted on: November 29, 2006

I am a 22 year old college student living in west central Minnesota. I am in the process of researching Ginseng and Goldenseal as a potential form of extra income. I plan on growing it here in Minnesota on my families wooded acreage.

As of late I’ve been crunching a lot of numbers trying to see if this endeavor will work out. My question is, would you know the approximate or average dried root weights (per plant) of 10-12 year old wild-simulated ginseng and also 3-5 year old goldenseal. I’ve seen numbers on Goldenseal range from 3 grams to 30 grams, dried root weight and I can not find any information for ginseng dried root weights. Thought maybe you guys at Richters might know.

I just returned from visiting grandchildren, so I’m a bit behind in my catch-up to questions. Thanks for your patience. I am extremely gratified to see individuals like yourself seeking to learn farm values and the continuance of this form of supplemental incomes.

Let’s start with ginseng, since I am more familiar with that crop. First, a forest farming situation can be extremely profitable, unless two and four-legged varmints get into your crop. Some parts of Minnesota may experience crown rot, associated with too much standing snow. You may also be asking the wrong questions, from a marketing perspective.

Most forest-farm situations (COG) harvest a 4-year old root, as most profitable from a yield/year basis. Wild ginsengs usually bring in far more money, as they normally range in age from twelve to 25 years old. Not much of that around anymore, and anyone serious into this market cultivates this crop as a Forest Farming Project -- the new direction in wildcraft.

When you cultivate, you can increase density yields more than 100x with fertilizers and weeding practices. I guess I want to discourage wildcrafting ginsengs, as it becomes more endangered in most States at this time. Farming it is the only way to be really profitable.

Your best way to get accurate figures, because they vary significantly, is to do your own test plot. Most begin with 1/4 acre study. The kinds of specific information you request come from my experience and memory, not something published: There are three 10-12 year old wildcrafted roots per ounce; there are six to eight 4 year old forest grown roots per ounce. Goldenseal roots normally average 1.3x more in similar situations.

Those are my best recollections, and the weights can vary significantly from one farm, field, or another.

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