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Sunflower acres may increase this year

Sunflower acres may increase this year
More acres of sunflowers will likely be planted this year, but that may not negatively affect prices. Demand is up.

Sunflower acres will likely increase this year, says John Sandbakken, National Sunflower Association executive director. But that doesn’t mean sunflower prices will fall.

“Based on historical usage, an 10-15% increase acres can easily be added given current demand without impacting present prices to a great degree,” Sandbakken says.

Several new domestic customers have added sunflower oil to their product mix. Export markets are growing as well, giving several market options to sell oil.

A field of sunflower blooms in South Dakota

“Obviously, world events can change markets in a hurry but based on tight beginning stocks, 2015 production and product demand the sunflower market should be able to handle a modest increase in 2016 acres,” Sandbakken says.

Crushers are currently offering new crop oil contracts at $16.75-$17.15 per cwt with Act of God (AOG) production clauses.

Switch to high oleics
In 2016, expect the push to covert the sunflower oil crop from NuSun to high oleic varieties to continue.

“There is a good market for both oils at this time,” Sandbakken says. “However, trends change and products need to adapt to consumer preferences. The market wants oils to have zero trans-fats 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.”

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