The bright red ginseng berries hold ginseng seed
Both North American and Asian wild ginseng have been harvested to near extinction over the past 200 years. Only the cultivation of ginseng has enabled the huge consumer demand to be met. Ginseng growers have learned to simulate the conditions in natural hardwood forests that this finicky, fragile herb demands. More than 100 years of experimentation and experience in the traditional growing areas of southern Ontario, Canada and Wisconsin, USA have resulted in ginseng production systems that are widely used today. Chai-Na-Ta used this knowledge as a springboard to develop the sophisticated crop management production system that it currently employs.

There are many entry barriers for ginseng growers. Production systems are both labour and capital intensive. The plant is strongly adapted to the deep shade of the forest floor and requires artificial shade to survive the bright summer sun. Shade structures are costly and require considerable labour to erect and maintain. Seed is costly and difficult to obtain. Gardens are typically weeded by hand and most of the seed and root harvesting is done manually.
In addition, there are normal farm costs such as land, water, machinery and labour. However the biggest barrier to large scale ginseng farming is potential plant disease.

In the wet, shady, humid summers in the eastern hardwood forests of North America, plant diseases such as root rot and leaf blight flourish. These are a threat to many crops, but in the cool shade of a ginseng garden, their impact can be extreme. Disease has hampered the efforts of many growers in Wisconsin, New York and the Carolinas. Chai-Na-Ta has taken a long, hard look at the problems affecting production and developed an integrated crop management system to allow for safe and efficient cultivation of quality ginseng.

Shade structures are used in gardens.
Chai-Na-Ta Farms is an industry leader in developing environmentally sound techniques in fertility, soil enhancement, weed control, harvesting and processing. Our research allows us to produce cost-effective, high quality ginseng crops without the use of insecticides or herbicides in any of our gardens. Careful development of our systems has also led to our position as one of the lowest cost producers in the industry.

Our farming strength is the combination of expertise in plant science, agricultural management, engineering and finance. With this broad mix of skills, we have become the industry leader in the production of low-cost, high quality crops-using environmentally sound techniques.