Strong spot sunflower bids spark movement

(Resource News International) — Strong spot bids for confectionary varieties of sunflower have helped to spark some farmer movement of the commodity into the cash market.

Strong end-user demand and concerns about the crop have helped to prop up the cash market.

“End users are paying as much as 40 to 42 cents a pound for good quality confectionary sunflower seeds at present, and producers have started to take advantage of that to some degree,” said Darcelle Graham, executive director for the National Sunflower Association of Canada at Carman, Man.

New-crop bids for confectionary sunflowers were reported to be in the 30-cent-a-pound range, but were expected to rise in the very near future.

Spot prices for oil sunflower varieties were currently in the 12-17 cent range while new-crop bids were 18-19 cents a pound.

News that BASF Canada has been able to register Headline fungicide for sunflowers on an emergency basis to combat rust has so far had little if no impact on sunflower prices, she said.

However, she said, the registration of Headline comes at a very critical time for sunflowers as the rust disease can cut yields significantly. 

“Given that sunflower acres in general were down about 45,000 acres this spring due to the wet and cool spring, the ability to limit yield loss is very important,” Graham said.

Of the area seeded in Manitoba, an estimated 100,000 acres were said to have been planted to confectionary sunflower varieties, while the oil varieties of sunflower totalled only about 30,000 acres. She said the drop in oil sunflower varieties represented about an 85 per cent drop from 2008.

Producers had planned on increasing the area to sunflowers this spring, Graham said, but with the late planting prospects, only the dedicated growers stayed with the crop.

The sunflower crop in the Red River Valley region of Manitoba was said to be in pretty good shape as that area hasn’t had to deal with as much moisture as in other regions of the province, the representative said.

However, because of the reduced acres, the potential for rust disease and strong demand from end-users, new-crop prices for confectionary sunflower varieties were expected to expand upward from the current 30-cent-a-pound level, Graham said.

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