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Global sunflower production expected to drop

Nisian Hughes/Getty Images Dried-dead sunflowers in field
DECREASE EXPECTED: While U.S. sunflower production will not be known until fall, experts are forecasted a 14% drop in global production in the 2022 to 2023 season.
Sunflower Extra: Production is forecasted to decrease 14% from last year.

Global sunflower production in 2022-23 is forecast at 49.2 million metric tons, 14% lower than last year’s record crop. The largest declines are expected in Ukraine, Russia and Moldova, driven by smaller harvested area.

Ukraine is expected to account for the largest part of the decrease, with harvested area at the lowest level since 2015. Production growth is projected for Argentina, U.S., Serbia, Turkey and the European Union. However, total gains will not offset total losses, according to USDA.

Global sunflower seed consumption in 2022-23 is forecast to decline by only 2% to 49.9 million metric tons (MMT), as record beginning stocks are likely to keep crush demand strong. Global sunflower seed stocks at the end of 2022-23 are forecast to decrease but remain within the five-year average. These figures can change dramatically over the course of the next few months, depending upon weather conditions this summer and fall.

Prices should hold steady

Since 2011, sunflower oil production has expanded faster than any other oil, averaging almost 7% growth per year. Global sunflower oil demand is forecast at 17.8 MMT, almost unchanged from the previous marketing year, making it the fourth-largest consumed oil.

Strong demand for sunflower oil is projected to drive trade higher, with imports growing 2% to 8.7 MMT. The higher import demand is mostly driven by the EU and Iran, followed by ongoing strong demand in China, India and Turkey.

U.S. sunflower oil exports to Canada and Mexico, the main export customers, are off to a great start and are expected to remain robust for the remainder of this marketing year, supporting seed prices at crush plants. Total U.S. exports are forecast to reach 40,000 metric tons in 2021-22. With growing oil demand, global sunflower oil stocks are projected to fall 16% to a two-year low at 1.88 MMT.

2022 U.S. sunflower production is still undetermined and will not be known until this fall. Initial industry estimates pegged 2022 U.S. sunflower production at 2.4 billion pounds, which would represent an increase of 22% from last year’s drought reduced production. The higher production is based on an increase in planted area from 1.28 million to 1.42 million acres and trend yields for oil-type and confection sunflowers.

USDA reported March 1 seed stocks for all sunflower seed types at 905 million pounds, down 16% from last year. Using this stocks figure and the current demand should lead to minimal ending stocks at the end of this marketing year. It also sets up a very positive price trend through the 2022-23 marketing year.

The smaller-than-expected 2021 U.S. sunflower crop should keep old-crop prices firm. With tighter seed stocks, likely price premiums will encourage growers to desiccate and harvest early. Bird food demand should also start to heat up.

Overall, new-crop price direction will be driven by demand news and eventual 2022 crop production. To keep up with market news, go to sunflowernsa.com.

Sandbakken is executive director of the National Sunflower Association and writes from Bismarck, N.D.
TAGS: Market News
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