Cool weather hurting province’s sunflower crops

Cool weather has Manitoba’s sunflower crop behind schedule.

“Planting was a little bit later than what we were hoping as well, so compounding the cooler weather, we’re like a week and a half (to) two weeks later than average,” said Mike Durand, sales and purchasing manager with Nestibo Agra in Deloraine.

Some crops are just starting to flower and need a good stretch of warm weather to catch up, he said.

“If we get a frost in September, we’ll still have a crop, but it just won’t be as good as otherwise,” said Durand.

But even favourable conditions won’t mean a repeat of the 2012 harvest.

“Farmers who grew sunflowers last year were very, very happy that they did,” said Durand. “We can’t expect another year like last year.”

Insects, sclerotinia and stalk rot haven’t been a problem this year, but it’s too early to tell if head rot will be an issue as crops haven’t reached the stage in development where it starts to show, said Durand, adding he expects harvest will be about two weeks later than normal.

Despite the less-than-stellar prospects this year, prices have been flat, although confectionery prices remain strong, supported by tight old-crop supplies.

Durand said he expects the confectionery supplies will be tight because of strong demand and smaller acreages this year. But it’s a different story for the oil-type sunflowers, with prices weak because of large supplies from last year.

Recent weakness in other oilseed markets also put some downward pressure on prices.

“We are, in a way, competing against the crushers in the U.S., and they have been dropping their bids and we’ve been following suit,” said Durand.

Cash bids for oil-type sunflowers were at 20 cents per pound as of Aug. 7, with confectionery prices ranging from 30 to 31 cents per pound, Prairie Ag Hotwire reported.

About the author

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Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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