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Ginseng Information

Ginseng occurs naturally under hardwood timber throughout the eastern half of North America, from southern Canada to central Alabama and from the east coast to just west of the Mississippi River. In southern range it is limited due to cold required to break dormancy. In selecting a site, keep in mind that a well drained wooded lot is the best of choice, as Ginseng cannot be grown in direct sunlight. 70% to 80% shade is ideal. A natural woods will shade perfectly providing the trees are mature. A mixed woods is best. If a natural woods is not available, please select an area on the North or East side of the house, along a fence row, etc. Rich, well drained soil on a slight slope is ideal. But Ginseng is known to grow in a variety of soils. If weeds grow well, Ginseng will too. A low line area may cause root rot. Ginseng likes moisture, but hates wetness. If a planting area is not available, while out in the woods digging Wild Ginseng this fall, plant the seeds in locations where you think nobody will look.

Past root prices

The big question this fall is 25% tariffs to mainland China and how long will these tariffs last and how will it affect root prices? Past history shows American wild dry ginseng roots to mainland China has traditionally been smuggled in. So new tariffs are unlikely to have a dramatic affect for the wild dry market. However, those that play by the rules will be more pressured to smuggle just to compete with others. Since nobody really knows for sure how the prices will be affected, this year I am not going to attempt to predict future prices.

The prices basically stabilized through November of 2016 to the end of the buying season for 2017, which would be $500.00 average quality to $700.00 for high quality dry wild ginseng roots. The market opened at an average of $400.00 per pound for dry roots. Prices everywhere rose steadily. And by the middle of November, for many years now, Minnesota, Wisconsin, parts of North Carolina, and the limited supply of New York roots, were paying the best prices of around $800.00 for average wild ginseng roots. At the same time frame Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri roots was about $700.00 and Kentucky and Arkansas was about $600.00 per dry pound. As roots became scarcer toward the end of the buying season for non-select wild dry roots, the price rose to $825.00 to $850.00 and for select nice larger, older dry wild roots the prices reached $900.00.

January of 2016 prices for wild root were slightly lower than the fall of 2015 when prices peaked at an average of $800.00 per dry pound. When the market opened in the fall of 2016 for dry roots, the average price was $400.00 to $500.00 per pound. And peaked at about $700.00 for quality dry roots. Much lower than previous years. And for a good reason. A long story short, a huge root buyer in Hong Kong, purchasing large inventory of roots during the past years, went out of business and sold their company. And large quantities of quality wild roots were sold at a low price. Flooding the market. Although much of the inventory had been sold, the new owners purchased little or no wild ginseng roots last fall.

January through March of 2015 typical prices were $875 to $900.00 range. When the market opened in the fall of 2015 the average price was between $500 to $600.00 per pound dry. As the season progressed root prices slowly went up. By November and December prices averaged between $700.00 to $830.00 and there were a small niche sales reported of about $1,000 per dry pound.

January through March of 2014 prices for dried wild roots sold for $1,100.00 to $1,300.00 range. When the markets opened in the fall of 2014, dried roots were selling between $650.00 to $700.00 per pound dry. By the end of October to the end of November prices were about $750.00 to $800.00 per pound dry. By late December and extending into the new year, prices climbed to $875.00 to $900.00

February 2013 prices reached $800.00 to $850.00 per dried pound. The highest paid was well over $1,000 for some lucky diggers for New York state. When the market opened in the fall of 2014, dried wild roots started in the $600.00 to $700.00 range. By the end of September prices were around $750.00 per pound. By the end of October prices were around $850.00 per pound. By Christmas the prices leaped in price to $1,050 to $1250.00 per dry pound, depending on quality. By late December through March of 2014, quality New York roots, which there is not much of, sold as high as $1,800.00 per dry pound.

January 2012 to the end of March, root prices remained at about $600.00 per pound. At the markets high, better New York roots sold as high as $750.00 per pound. When the market opened in the fall of 2012 prices were as low as $400.00 to $500.00 per dried pound range. By November, for the bulk of the roots being purchased, the prices were in the $700.00 plus range. By Christmas diggers were getting about $800.00 per dried pound.

Fall of 2011 wild roots brought as little as $320.00 per dry pound for the very first few days that the market opened in September. By the middle of September the market quickly rose to $400.00 per pound. By the first of October the price had reached $500.00 per pound. From early October through the end of 2011 prices continued to rise, but at a slow rate. Ending late December of 2011 at about $600.00 per pound.

By January of 2010 right through summer, the range had been $500.00 to $600.00 per pound! The fall of 2010 prices started in the $350.00 to $400.00 range. Middle of September it was $400.00 to $450.00 range. End of October it was $550.00 or higher. At the end of the digging season in early November, speculative buyers pushed the prices to $650.00 to 850.00 range. New York and Wisconsin premium wild roots peaked at over $1,000.00 per dry pound.

Late May of 2009 it was in the $500.00 range. During the fall of 2009 roots were selling for $350.00 to $450.00 and kept rising to $450.00 to $550.00 by late November.

Early August of 2008 prices were around $600.00 and quickly fell as low as $250.00 in October and November. Many factors caused this including over digging in anticipating high prices, the economy was laying people off and diggers chose to sell at any price to obtain money, the overall economy in general, and some buyers who still had loans out on their purchase of roots to obtain the inventory they were holding did not want to purchase more roots, even at a low price. Beginning around mid November the market began to correct itself and roots were selling in the $325.00 to $350.00 range. By December it was over the $400.00 range.

Fall of 2007 Wild dried roots were selling at the typical $400.00 per pound range. Then quickly rose to $800.00 and peaked briefly in late November at $1,150.00 These were historically unprecedented prices.