Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dandelions & Vitamin A

As seen in the last post, Dandelions have a very high yield of Vitamin A per acre.

Over 30,000 adult doese or 300,000 kid doses yield per Acre vs corn which has none. While yield calculations seek bushel & dollar amounts per acre, its vital we start calculating the nutritional yields per acre and the true values for human health.

This lack of green veggies in grain rich diets worldwide is the cause of incredible numbers of Night Blindness Victums, especially in children, along with other vitamin deficiencies bordering consistantly on scurvy (C), pellagra (Niacin) beri beri (B's) and so forth. Its a nighmare.

The overall weakened immunity is from not just vitamins but also minerals. Lets take a look at some of that. 100g of Corn Calcium is only 1% of Daily Need, while Dandelions have 19% of daily need. This calcs out ot approx. 6,900 grams of Calcium/Acre vs only 363 grams of Ca/Ac. This is 19 times more Calcium which ever way you "calc" it.

So its easy to see that Dandelions should not be considered just a minor supplement, but the major dietary food could turn the tide against the vast human suffering and environmental damage.

Ok, are you convinced yet of the necessity of Dandelions to save humanity and the planet?
Everyone who cares should take a look around and see what they can do about helping promote Dandelions, whether its just a small yard full or an old pasture/orchard, or nature projects or
educational or financial efforts, there is a role for everyone, including children to save children.


Dandelion Farming Yields

After digging pretty deep I have found some useful numbers for dandelion farming.

For growing Dandelions for Fresh or Dry Leaves, the plants are spaced about the same as corn, 29,000 per acre. Interesting coincidence. The yields are highly variable and depend on regular moisture, much the same as corn, but drip irrigation has great yields at up to 35 g dry/plant,
(75% drying loss) which calcs back to about 8000 lbs fresh/ac. Hybrid Corn yields ave 155 bu/ac = 8650 lbs/ac.

Even dry farming dandelions has 5g/plant which is over 1000 lbs of fresh greens per acre.

Variables also include herbivore losses, especially rabbits and most wildlife will move right in.
This may add alot to fencing costs vs corn that doesn't need fencing because wildlife doesn't like it. Dandelions have far lower pest problems than corn, although a little pesticide is used in California since dandelion crops are often close to other pest infested crops.

Fresh Dandelion prices are quite good, although the market is tiny compared to corn. Dry prices for Dandelions (dry has a much larger feed market) yield about twice the value per acre as corn, over $1000/ac. Then there are values that are quite good for Dry Dandelion Root, which is for beverage uses, which can be harvested in the second year. Plus good honey yield bonus.

Seed costs are an important aspect of corn production, and hybrid corn must be purchased each year and has been increasing. Dandelion Seed costs are quite high but they are pretty much a once in a lifetime purchase, and if they can be harvested by vacumming from a site where they are not wanted the cost can be very low.

But I think that the real values of Dandelion Farming come when these numbers are taken a step further, to calculating the nutritional yields per acre, which is something I have rarely seen taken into consideration, except by wise old livestock ranchers. It is a factor in calculating feed lot operations and so good numbers are available from a number of sources. See pervious blog for comparison of Fresh Dandelions, Corn and Soy nutrition. Comparisons of fresh greens with grains or beans is somewhat apples and oranges, but its worth using to calculate real yields.

100 grams of corn vs dandelion

cals 365 - 45
fat cals 40 - 6
fat cals/cal 11% - 13.3%
chol 0 - 0
carbs 74 - 7
fiber 7 - 4
sugar 1 - 4
protein 9 - 3
prot/cals 2.5% - 6.66%
vitamin A 4% - 98%
vitamin C 0% - 58%
Ca 1% - 19%
Fe 15% -17%
Na 35mg - 76mg

So we see that there are some amazing differences, especially vitamins. This table really doesn't do Dandelions justice, as it is also very rich in all the others like niacin which is missing from corn and which led to pellagra deficiencies. It also doesn't show all the rest of the mineral richness of Dandelions.

First lets take Vitamin A Information, which is somewhat complicated but worthy of study

After some calculations I came up with 36,320 Daily Adult Doses per Acre, which calcs to 363,200 kid doses (@~500 mcg/day) per acre !

So on to more yield and value analysis...
to be continued

Dandelion Nutritional Analysis

I found this great little web page that gives instant analysis for most foods, you know, that little chart found on food packages. So I typed in "Dandelions, 100 grams" and voila there it was !

Take a look, its very impressive, balanced, low sodium, etc. but then whoa !
Look at those Vitamins and Minerals ! I don't remember seeing numbers like that anywhere!

Ok, lets compare with soybeans, boiled no salt, 100 grams

First thing is the high fat (soy oil), high soy protein, but no vitamin A, low C, some minerals.
But this is misleading as Soy also has a number of nutritional risks.

So much for Soy saving the world, saving the sick and dying people, wildlife, livestock and ravaged planet. Similar but even poorer results for corn:

So even though corn crops look productive, one would have to eat an enormous amount to fulfill minimum requirements. This needs to be caculated to find out what real nutritional values are achieved by growing corn versus dandelions. So next we will have to dig up some yield info.