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Sunflower prices could firm up with drop in planted acres

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FEWER ACRES: Sunflower planted acres could be down 10% to 15% nationwide this year.
Perhaps 10% to 15% fewer acres of sunflowers could be planted in 2017.

“I would expect planted acres of sunflowers will drop in 2017, maybe by as much as 10% to 15% when planting is completed in June,” says John Sandbakken, National Sunflower Association executive director. “If this expected reduction does happen, it might start to create some unexpected opportunities as we look ahead. Historically when USDA's March intentions report showed acreage below industry expectations, new-crop prices firmed up after that, and in most cases prices have moved higher as the industry looked to secure seed supplies. Depending on how final planted acres turn out this year, it could happen again, and diversifying your risk with some sunflower acres could be a good option in 2017,” he says.

Push to high-oleic
In 2017, expect to see a continued push toward converting the oil crop from NuSun to high-oleic sunflower. “There is a good market for both oils now,” Sandbakken says. “However, trends change and products need to adapt to consumer preferences. The market wants oils to have zero trans fat and saturated fat levels at or below 7%. In addition, food processors want oils to be very stable for extended shelf life and fry life, coupled with a neutral taste profile. High-oleic sunflower oil fits the bill on all counts. While NuSun was a positive move for the sunflower industry in the late 1990s, the increasing market demand for high-oleic oils has convinced oil crushers that the industry needs to adjust again.”

Grant awarded for Phomopsis forecasting model
South Dakota State University and North Dakota State University and University of Nebraska researchers received a $300,000 USDA grant to develop disease forecasting to manage Phomopsis stem canker of sunflower. The funds will be delivered over three years.

Summer meeting in Rapid City
June 27-29 is the annual National Sunflower Association’s Summer Seminar. It will be held at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn in Rapid City, S.D.

ConAgra Brands to buy BIGS sunflower, pumpkin seed brand
ConAgra Brands has struck a deal to buy Thanasi Foods, maker of Duke’s meat snacks and BIGS seeds, for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to close this summer. The Duke’s and BIGS brands will continue operating out of Boulder, Colo. ConAgra Brands is based in Chicago. BIGS produces seed snacks, including jumbo in-shell sunflower seeds, sunflower seed kernels and roasted pumpkin seeds. Duke’s makes premium meat products.

Source: National Sunflower Association

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