The size and quality of Manitoba’s sunflower crop is still very much up in the air, but the sheer lack of acres planted this spring will keep supplies on the tight side and should underpin the domestic market.
Manitoba accounts for nearly all of Canada’s sunflower production, and the provincial crop is currently estimated at only 16,400 tonnes by Statistics Canada, which compares with 67,500 tonnes a year ago. Wet conditions in the spring were said to have limited how many acres of the long season crop were able to go in the ground.
Widespread frost the morning of Sept. 14 and 15 likely caused only minimal damage to the few sunflower fields in the province, many crops were thought to be quite mature, according to a Manitoba-based sunflower dealer.
“It’s a wait and see game right now,” said the dealer. He expected the harvest to begin in another three to four weeks, depending on the weather.
From a marketing standpoint, prices in southern Manitoba are strong at 35 cents per bushel for confectionery and up to 40 cents per bushel for oilseed sunflowers, according to the dealer. While the spread between the two varieties typically favours confectionery seed, the relative tightness in the oilseed market was accounting for the relative strength there.