Low yields mean prices are high for saw palmetto.
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA; Silver Spring, MD) reports that harvest yield of saw palmetto berry in Florida is low due to the extensive rain in the region this year, which interrupted the flowering period that resulted in a widespread berry drop across the state.
The harvest season began in early August and into early September, and harvesters have found very low berry densities, AHPA says. This means that harvest yields have been smaller, and more labor was required to harvest from a larger area, resulting in a price increase for the raw material. AHPA reports that as of the first week of September, berry prices were three times higher than that of the average price in 2017.
Another factor impacting the yield and price, says AHPA, is the demand for immature, greener saw palmetto berries that was met earlier in the season by harvesters. As a result, there were less berries left behind to fully mature. If allowed to mature, these green berries would have yielded four times the weight in saw palmetto berries. The increased cost of the raw material means that the price of saw palmetto finished products will also be impacted. Final numbers for total berry harvest will not be known until the first week of October, AHPA said in September.