Guidelines for Estimating Seabuckthorn Production Costs

The projected seabuckthorn berry production costs in this publication have been prepared to assist you in developing your own production costs. The capital and cash input costs associated with growing seabuckthorn berries in Manitoba are substantial. Detailed planning is necessary when budgeting for capital expenditures and also for the annual operating costs. The importance of good financial planning is evident by noting the capital required for 5 acres of seabuckthorn berries may be in the vicinity of $65,000. Cash costs of establishing the crop run about $16,000 in the four years prior to picking before income begins to flow.

The budget should be used as a guide only as each situation may have higher or lower costs than those listed. Costs and yields on each farm differ due to soil type, climatic conditions and agronomic practices. Therefore, producers are encouraged to substitute their own figures in the attached budget to develop their own cost of production for saskatoon berry production.

Industry Overview

The sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) belongs to the family Elaeagnceae. Sea buckthorn is native to Europe and Asia and was introduced to Canada some time ago. Introduced to Canada as ornamental and shelterbelt shrub. Recently planted in orchards for commercial production across Canada, but mostly on the prairies. The sea buckthorn is a medium deciduous shrub six to 13 feet (2 to 4 m) in height. The trees are dioecious meaning there are male and female plants. Sea buckthorn plants are very hardy and can withstand temperatures of -43 to 40°C.

Used for centuries in Eurasia for food and medicinal uses. In ancient Greece, sea-buckthorn was known as a remedy for horses, using leaves and young branches in the fodder. Seabuckthorn products were utilized in the diet of Soviet cosmonauts to reduce stresses of extended space missions (skin cream and juice). Seabuckthorn juice is claimed to be the first fruit juice in space.

There are two main challenges for the Manitoba Seabuckthorn industry: marketing and harvesting. The early varieties of Seabuckthorn planted on the prairies (Sinesis, Indian Summer) are very difficult to harvest due to the presence of thorns and the tight attachment of the fruit to the stem. A cut-branch harvest method similar to methods used in Quebec and Germany has been tested in Manitoba with success, however a working field model has not been developed to date. Marketing of seabuckthorn has been difficult due to lack of quality buyers, limited domestic market development and lack of processing facilities on the prairies for seabuckthorn. The functional food aspects of this fruit crop are becoming more well known in North America and are increasing consumer knowledge of this fruit.

Many Uses of Seabuckthorn Plant

Berry Fruit Juice Health and Sport Drinks
  Pulp Cosmetics/ Pharmaceuticals and Mixed into other food products.
  Pulp Oil Cosmetics/ Pharmaceuticals and Mixed into other food products.
Seed Seed Oil Cosmetics/ Pharmaceuticals
  Seed Meal Animal Feeds
Leaves   Tea
    Cosmetics/ Pharmaceuticals
    Animal Feeds
Bark/ Twigs   Cosmetics/ Pharmaceuticals
    Animal Feeds

Health Benefits

Fruit: High in vitamin C (100 g serving provides 450% daily requirement), antioxidants, minerals.

Seed/Pulp Oil: High in omega-3, 6, 7, 9, treats skin disorders, burns, sunscreen.

Leaves: High protein (15%), nutrients and oil content for animal feed (horses, pet food).

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