Manitoba’s sunflower crop turned out relatively poor this year, as growing conditions led to low yields and caused disease problems. As a result, premium prices are available for good-quality sunflower seed, and the tighter supplies will likely cause some processors to import more U. S. sunflower seed.
Oilseed sunflowers in the Red River Valley and east turned out very poor this year, with low yields and a lot of head rot and sclerotia, due to excessive moisture, said Earl Schnellert, of Agri-Tel Grain. “Most of that stuff isn’t worth much more than 14 or 15 cents (per pound).”
Farther west, where the fields fared a little better, prices for oilseed sunflower seed can be found in the 16-to 18-cents-per pound range.
Confectionery seed had the same problem, with poor crops in the central and eastern growing regions and better quality farther west, said Schnellert.
“If it wasn’t written off, it’s very ugly,” said Schnellert of the eastern crop. Out west, the overabundance of poor-quality confectionery seed has caused prices for better-quality supplies to go as high as 40 cents per pound, which is a 12-cent increase from the start of harvest.
Some sunflowers are still standing in Manitoba and will be harvested through the winter.
While Manitoba’s sunflower crops did not turn out well overall, the demand is still good and sales are relatively decent, said Schnellert.
Statistics Canada has pegged Manitoba’s 2009-10 (Aug./ July) sunflower crop at 101,900 tonnes, which would compare with 112,200 tonnes the previous year.