Extreme dryness diminished yield potential of EU sunflowers
In the EU-27, the 2022 harvest of sunflower seed came in considerably lower than 2021 due to extreme dryness. It was also short of the long-term average.
According to the latest EU Commission’s estimate, 9.3 million metric tons of sunflower seed were harvested in the European Union in 2022. This would be around 10 percent less than in 2021.
In other words, both the 2017 bumper crop of 10.4 million tons and the long-term average of 10.2 million tons were clearly missed.
The area planted was expanded around 18 percent to a new record of 5.1 million hectares, but at 1.95 tons per hectare, yields fell nearly 18 percent short of those reached in 2021.
The continued dryness and extreme heat over the summer months led to harvest losses. The genetic yield potential could not take effect.
The Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen e. V. (UFOP) nevertheless regards sunflowers as a crop alternative in some regions in order to expand crop rotations and minimize risks.
The UFOP recommends that in view of the uncertain supply situation for sunflower seed and sunflower oil from Ukraine farmers take sunflowers into account when planning their 2023 sowings.
The annual variety trials that are funded by the UFOP and conducted in cooperation with the responsible regional authorities confirm the high-yield potential of both conventional and high-oleic varieties, also in terms of oil content.
These and other findings relating to rapeseed and grain legumes are available (in German only) as a free download here.