Lower loonie to boost U.S. demand for sunflowers

CNS Canada — Manitoba sunflowers are looking better than they have in recent years, despite minor pest pressure, in one agronomist’s view — and a lower Canadian dollar could be useful for producers looking to sell.

Sunflower prices aren’t seeing a lot of movement right now, but demand is good — and with a lower dollar, Canadian producers looking to sell into the U.S. are at an advantage when harvest comes, said Tim Petry, a procurement manager for SunOpta at Crookston, Minn.

“The nice thing about sunflowers is, I think inventories will be fairly low going into harvest. So it should bring good health into the market.”

Growing conditions in Manitoba were favourable throughout July, though inevitably some crops felt the effects of disease and insects.

“We’re still wondering and waiting as far as things like diseases go, but guys have been spraying and being proactive from what I’ve come across,” said Troy Turner, an agronomist for the National Sunflower Association of Canada at Carman, Man.

When sunflower crops started flowering, producers had issues with lygus bugs, which feed on the plant and cause spots on the seeds.

However, banded sunflower moths haven’t made much of an appearance this year, Turner said.

“I think everything has been going pretty well. It’s probably one of the better stands that I’ve seen over the last couple years,” he said.

He anticipated early harvest will start at the end of September, but said the majority will take place in the second week of October, if the weather holds.

Jade Markus writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Follow CNS at @CNSCanada on Twitter.

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