The sweet potato is one of the oldest vegetables known to man, is native to Central America and has been grown for thousands of years, starting with the Incas of Peru and the Mayan Tribes. Columbus documented the sweet potato in 1493 on his fourth voyage to South America and the West Indies. The Portuguese traders took the sweet potato to Africa around 1540, and later to India, Malaya and China. The Spanish introduced sweet potato to the East Indies and Philippines. It remains a staple in the diets for some of these nations’ peoples today.
This root vegetable qualified as an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), a very good source of vitamin C and manganese . It is also a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. Recent research studies on the sweet potato has also focused on two areas of unique health benefit. First are some unique root storage proteins in this food that have been observed to have significant antioxidant capacities. In one study, these proteins had about one-third the antioxidant activity of glutathione – one of the body’s most impressive internally produced antioxidants. Count on these root proteins to help explain sweet potatoes ‘healing properties’.
Planting the sweet potato in beds produces vigorous growth and usually can be harvested fairly easy with a sickle and fed too as a supplement to other forages you might offer your Goats. We have experimented with planting them in the paddocks but the resulting leave growth cannot keep up with the Goats eating them and the sweet potato itself is often dug up and eaten!
You can also harvest the potato and slice it thinly, the thinner the better. Then dry in the sun for at least a whole day. The thinner the slice the faster it will dry out. Feed to your Goats as a snack or treat.