Sweet Potatoes and Their Vines: A nutritional and sustainable alternative for food and livestock feed

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $9,926.00
Projected End Date: 03/14/2021
Grant Recipient: farmer
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Principal Investigator:


  • Agronomic: potatoes


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Crop Production: food processing



    Traditional potato growers in Northeast Florida need to explore alternative specialty crops to remain economically sustainable in the world of agriculture.  Sweet potato is an alternative crop that offers nutritional advantages, versatility, and is easy to integrate into the potato chip cropping sequence.  Four sweet potato cultivars were grown for two consecutive seasons in Hastings, Florida. Marketable yields for Year 1 ranged from 5217 to 9205 lbs/acre depending on the cultivar.  Excessive rainfall during the Year 2 trial (32.4 inches) may have been the reason that the sweet potatoes did not reach marketable size.  A complete nutritional label was developed as part of the project for the newly established purple-flesh variety (Charleston Purple). Anthocyanin concentrations were 2.68 mg/100g for the purple-flesh variety and only 0.03 mg/100g for a common white-flesh variety.  Although these concentrations are not included on a standard nutritional label, they are a great marketing tool.  The Charleston Scarlett showed the least amount of plant-parasitic nematode pressure compared to the other cultivars, but further research is needed to determine if there is some genetic resistance qualities within this cultivar.  Sweet potato vines were harvested and baled as part of a demonstration for local cattlemen. The project served as an excellent model for both farmers and community members showing that sweet potatoes could be successfully grown as a rotation crop with potatoes in Northeast Florida.

    Project objectives:

    Project Objectives:

    There were four primary objectives associated with this project.

    • Objective #1 - To determine agronomic yields associated with different planting dates for several sweet potato varieties, including a newly developed purple-flesh sweet potato.
    • Objective #2 - To better understand nematode pressure on different sweet potato varieties.
    • Objective #3: To conduct nutritional analyses and establish certified nutritional labels for a newly developed variety.

    Objective #4: To determine if the vines can be harvested for use as livestock feed. 

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.