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Sunflowers edge higher

(Commodity News Service Canada) — Sunflower prices have been rising in Western Canada, but haven’t triggered much in the way of producer selling, as most farmers feel values will still go higher.

Luc Remillard of Remillard Seed Farms at St. Joseph, Man., about 15 km east of Altona, said it’s been a wait-and-see process of late for farmers looking for more return for their product.

“Whoever has product has seen strengthening prices, so they are waiting to sell at the moment,” Remillard said. “There has been some disciplined selling going on, but it’s hard to see guys selling commodities with the way they have been going lately (higher).”

End users have been reluctant to buy a lot of product at one time, he said, adding they’ve been buying in a hand-to-mouth kind of trend.

A number of factors have led to the gains in the sunflower market, Remillard said.

“The acres were down (in 2010), and on the confection side, the quality is down from previous years,” he said. “Some of the end-users are not happy with the quality of the crop, so they are after other countries to supply their needs.”

Despite the upward momentum in price, Remillard said values are not close in comparison to other commodities, such as canola.

There were 135,000 acres planted in Manitoba in 2010 according to Statistics Canada, and Remillard said the price will have to go up if more acres are to be planted this spring.

“Sunflowers are competing for acres with other strong crops. If we don’t have decent new crop prices, producers will be walking away from this crop,” he said.

“Starting at 35 cents, only the diehard producers are likely to plant sunflowers on that number, but for someone who runs a wheat, canola and barley rotation, they won’t look at sunflowers for sure.”

Current deliveries for confectionary sunflowers in Manitoba were bringing 27 cents per pound, while oil sunflowers were bringing 25 cents per pound, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire.

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