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  • UFOP

EU sunflower-seed output set to hit record level this year



The EU sunflower-seed output is expected to increase significantly compared to the previous year, especially in Romania and Hungary.



This is expected to more than offset the anticipated declines in France and Germany.



According to the latest EU Commission estimates, around 10.9 million metric tons of sunflower seed will be harvested in the EU-27 in 2023.



This would not only be up nearly 18 percent on the previous year, but also hit a new record high.



The forecast is based solely on yield increases, since the EU sunflower area will probably be around 7 percent smaller than 2022 at 4.8 million hectares.



Romania is set to strengthen its position as the largest EU producer.



At 3.3 million tons, the estimate is up as much as 967,000 tons, or almost 42 percent, on the previous year.



According to investigations conducted by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH), the main reason for the strong production increase is higher yields, because the area planted with sunflowers will probably decrease marginally to 1.3 million hectares.



Other EU member states, including Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Slovakia are also expected to see considerable harvest increases.



By contrast, France is forecast to harvest only 1.7 million tons of sunflower seed. This would translate to an around 105,000-ton decline on 2022, partly because the sunflower area will likely be around 12 percent smaller.



For Germany, the EU Commission projects a sharp slump in sunflower-seed production by more than half. Around 67,000 tons of sunflower seed are expected to be produced on a significantly reduced area of 32,000 hectares.



A year earlier, the German sunflower area was expanded to a record high of 86,000 hectares due to the war against Ukraine, with production reaching 159,000 tons.



From the perspective of the Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen e. V. (UFOP), this response in production behavior is easy to understand since producer prices have fallen back to normal levels following their overheated development last year, and with expected higher contribution margins, farmers have increasingly returned to relying on winter-planted crops.



According to the UFOP, the development also highlights the importance of medium-term production and delivery contracts with traders and processors, if the German-sunflower market is to be established at a permanently higher level.

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