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Sunflowers bounce back in Manitoba

Manitoba farmers will start bringing in this year’s sunflower crop by mid-September, and early reports point to a large, good-quality crop that will help replenish supplies in the province.

After planting only 35,000 acres of sunflowers in 2011, due to adverse spring conditions, area in the province bounced back in 2012 with seeded area pegged at 110,000 acres by Statistics Canada.

The harvest "will be starting later this week, or early next week," said Grant Fehr of Keystone Grain at Winkler, Man. He said quality and yields were both "above-average to fantastic" for both oilseed and confectionary varieties.

From a pricing standpoint, he said, anything moving this fall will have been contracted earlier, with any spot opportunities few and far between.

"The contracts will come in, and then we’ll buy the overage," said Fehr, noting that the majority of the sunflowers grown in the province are contracted.

This year, Manitoba farmers were able to contract confectionary sunflowers at 30 to 35 cents per pound, with oilseeds generally contracted at around 30 cents.

As far as spot bids are concerned, he said large supplies in Argentina were keeping some caution in the market, with the outcome of seeding operations in the South American country a month from now likely providing a clearer signal for pricing the un-contracted Manitoba supplies at that time.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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