Manitoba’s sunflower harvest is in high gear and yield and quality are looking good despite an arid summer.
“The quality of the sunflowers seems to be very good, the yields are reasonably good. I think they’re going to be a good solid average,” said Ben Friesen, senior market manager with Scoular Special Crops.
Friesen estimates sunflower harvest is more than half done, with it a few weeks ahead of schedule due to the warm weather. The final Manitoba crop report released Oct. 16 said sunflower harvest was ongoing with yields being reported in the 1,800- to 2,600-pounds-per-acre range. As well some mid-stock rot had been reported.
According to Friesen, due to the dry weather, reports of mid-stock rot have been down from recent wet years.
The quality of confection sunflowers has been good, according to Friesen. The actual seed size however, is a bit smaller due to the dry weather.
Oilseed sunflowers have had no quality issues and the bushel weights have been good as well, according to Friesen.
Prices for sunflowers have been fairly level with original confection contracts from Scoular having been between 32 and 35 cents per pound. For oilseeds the contracts have been similar at between 22 and 24 cents per pound.
Manitoba farmers planted 65,000 acres of sunflowers in 2017, 5,000 less than the previous year, according to Statistics Canada. However, according to Friesen, in years previous to 2016 sunflower crops had been down as well.
“We feel at this time that we should be in pretty good shape because with the harvest coming in and to have yields coming in at average or in some cases a bit above average… I don’t think we’re going to have a large overage and also not a large shortage,” Friesen said.
Sunflower crops in Argentina and China, which affect the North American market, are both looking good as well, from what Friesen has heard.
“We’re offering prices into some of the Middle East areas, and we’re not getting them because China’s offering lower prices,” he said.