In the middle of August it seems almost impossible to get a ballpark range on what wild dry ginseng prices will be. By early September we will all have the answer. Even talking to the experts, they give a wide range on what they think the price will be. My own personal opinion is with the hot temps and dry conditions across most of the areas that produce the most wild root, the plants are either gone, or coming down early, and it will affect the supply. If most sang hunters fail to find their usual amount of root, under normal conditions a person would assume the root prices would be very high, if not get to near record or record high territory. But just like trying to predict a stock market, your guess is as good as mine. I have an email friend (I prefer not to mention his name) who claims he has been offered $300.00 per pound for freshly dug wild ginseng. Since Ginseng dries to 1/3 wet weight, then the math says dry would be $900.00 but before anyone gets too excited about this price, first of all, sometimes a buyer of fresh roots has good reason to buy fresh and that same buyer may not be paying the same extreme high price for dry. Also this person may be lucky and has a buyer who skips all the middle people on the sale. And probably most important, I don't have any facts to prove this as I am not the one selling the roots. So if the market opens low, don't come back on my opinion and say I was totally wrong. Lets have some others comment on this subject to get the information more accurate. I can say this about Ginseng seed. For those of you who buy seed to plant, I have more accurate facts on the seed. The last two seasons seed has been much more scarce to purchase. And this fall the stratified seed may have had slightly more seed available to purchase. But what has happened is with this drought, harvesting of green seed was extremely low and the large growers of ginseng are now planting more of their stratified seed, creating a shortage. The seed is available to purchase, and around the same price as the last two years, but the seed may sell out early. Also for the newer growers, be careful who you get your seed from. Years ago I found out the hard way that buying bargain seed was not the way to go. Especially spending several days planting it to find out I had little or no germination the next spring. I have had very nice germination of seed two years in a row now, buy buying from Hardwood Ginseng. The price is mid range and fair. I always examine the seed before planting, looking for disease, testing for floaters, etc. and the seed appears to be of high quality. Search Hardwood Ginseng on the internet and the web site should come up, if interested. Of course, there are others out there who also sell good seed. But just be careful if buying in bulk from someone you have never purchased from before. I would also like to mention that due to the extreme drought conditions, seed sold as stratified next fall, prices possibly could double. Again, this is my best guess, but I am very confident I am accurate on seed prices next fall being very high. My suggestion is, since there has been a seed shortage for three years, and next year seed will be next to impossible to find for sale, at least at an afforable price, is to buy and plant as much as you can this fall, and maybe skip next falls plantings. And with seed supply being short for the last years, a person would think this all will help prices of Ginseng keep going up and up.
Mike LOL, I can't help but laugh at your semi-covert advertisement. I also seen you were advertising to buy green seed from shade gardens. Iv considered it myself but the price for stratified and green isn't much different so I haven't yet.
You got me there! I can be a bit sneaky, but what I say about the seed is definately true. Again I had extremily high germination from the seed. In fact I had some seed stored over until spring and by the middle of March, the very last batch of seed quickly rooted out, barely getting it planted on time. And if I remember right, every seed was rooting out. Looking at my seed I am currently selling and also planting, I would definately trust it for high germination.
This is the first time I have actually advertised for green seed. I count on seed sales every year and this possibly could be the first time I will have very little seed to sell. So what I am doing is not taking any chances and trying to get some green seed. I would feel much better if I know I am sitting on some extra seed for next fall sales. But as my ad states, I want a sample of the seed before I was to buy in bulk. I don't want to be the person who gets suckered in on poor quality seed. Especially since I have an excellent reputation of selling high quality seed. I don't have to worry about this yet, as I have had zero responses. And with zero replies that also indicated the rumor of the seed shortage must be true. Mike
No one knows just yet what the prices for wild will be in a given section of the country. However, a good rule of thumb is to expect the market to open a bit less than it was at the close of the last season.
As for seed, there is no difference in green or stratified at the wholesale level. There is only so much seed produced in a year, and whether you buy it green and take all the risk yourself or buy it stratified the year after is no difference to the commercial farmers. They produce seed to plant, not to sell, and the seed that is available to us is their left over.
Last year the hot weather caused many seed heads to abort without producing seed at all. Those that did produce seed, produced a higher than normal percentage of under-developed or defective seed. Therefore, this year, there IS a shortage of seed. The seed that is available tested much lower than normal for viability, and much more of it floated coming out of the box. This increased the viability percentage you will see, but also reduced the amount of seed available. For instance, I culled about 7% of the seed I bought this year to insure that I was only planting (and selling) the best seed I had available.
This year was as bad or worse for the production of seed. Therefore I agree with you that seed will still be in short supply next year, and may indeed go up in price.
My experience has shown that what will most likely happen if there is a \"shortage\" of roots dug this year, the fresh price will be up. then there are people who have hold over dried roots that will flood the market with that old root. So then the supply is back to normal, and prices come down right away. then once the old stale roots get into circulation the buyers/users aren't pleased so the market may respond negatively. and average to low prices will be paid for dry. Then we wait till the next year, when there may or may not be another shortage, and the market may command higher prices for FRESH roots, (remembering the stale dry roots from previous year) and then stabilize normally for dry roots later in the season. I expect the market to start where it normally does, i expect there to be a low start price for dry, and a good to high price for fresh this year. The last 5-7 years years I have sold 85% of my roots fresh, and have come out ahead. Take last year for example: 150-175 paid for fresh in the beginning. Now i always use a 3.5 to 1 ratio for fresh to dry. AT 175 X 3.5 U have 612.50, now the dry market i don't think got over 550, and ended about 450-500. so the way i see it, i lose money drying roots, anywhere from 35-125 per pound. Now the rarity was 2007 when prices got to $1000+ for dry. and look what's happened since...everyone who had hold over roots sold in 2007, the market was and has been flooded since, and we have never seen that price again, and the market knows there are hold over roots from 1-5 years old because folks held them from '07 thinking '08 would be even better. the market adjusts based on all these things most diggers don't think about in depth. I plan to sell fresh roots again this year and maybe hold 7 pounds to dry so i will have 2 lbs dry to sell JUST IN CASE dry price goes very high. given the state of the economy, more people are digging, given the global economy less people are buying at premium prices. so in summation, even if there is a drought and shortage, it does not equal higher root prices in the drought/shortage year.
I just called two buyers here in Iowa to get quotes on green ginseng for this fall. The gentleman in Baldwin said he would pay $140 to $200 for fresh root. The gentleman in Lamont is reported to pay $140 for fresh and $400 - $500 for dried. Has anyone else gotten quotes yet? Are they paying better in Illinois?
I understand what you are saying. It's a gamble either way. The numbers are going to fluctuate for both wet and dry equally. If there was such an advantage to selling wet, people would be doing it in droves. Just as if there were an overwhelming advantage to sell dry, there would be no market for wet. Also you have to remember that as soon as the root has been dug it starts to dry out. By the time the dealer gets it and then sends it on to his buyer it has been drying awhile. I don't think buyers have any issues with \"stale\" ginseng. Because if there were, you wouldn't be given an option to certify it to hold over to sell the next year. The rules would be structured so that anything dug be sold in the same season. These are just my own observations. Everyone has their own thoughts and ideas about ginseng.