Russia. Sunflower seed no longer attractive this season

15.02.2019

According to preliminary information of the Russian State Statistics Service, Russia harvested a record 19.6 MMT of oilseeds this 2018/19 season, including 12.6 MMT of sunflower seed (+20.2%), 3.93 MMT of soybeans (+8.4%) and 1.98 MMT of rapeseed (+31.1%).

Taking into account the oilseed markets’ potential in the 2018/19 season (+11%), the crushing and export figures will certainly hit new highs. However, the current situation is not so unambiguous, reports UkrAgroConsult.

The first four months witnessed higher crushing of soybeans and rapeseed, but sunflower oil production remains 5.7% behind last year’s record.

Low domestic prices for sunflower seed and a similar situation in the sunflower oil export market during the first months this season resulted in 34% higher grower stocks of the raw material as of early 2019.

The initial forecasts for the 2019 crop acreage allocation published by the Agriculture Ministry of Russia envisage a decrease in oilseed plantings, including a 466.9 Th ha drop in sunflower (7.6 Ml ha) and a 150.2 Th ha smaller area of spring rape (1.2 Ml ha). The soybean planted area is forecast to expand by 27.9 Th ha, to 2.96 Ml ha. In its later statements, the Ministry aimed at producing at least 18 MMT of oilseeds – this falls short of the previous target and is apparently below the 2018 record.

Practice shows that the first official forecasts are always conservative, envisaging sunflower acreage contraction from year to year, but the reality is opposite: its plantings are on the rise. The 2019 year is quite likely to be an exception, since sunflower growing is expected to become less profitable.

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