Black Sea sunflower harvest could rise 6m mt to 42m mt: trade

Analytical agencies across the Black Sea are expecting sunflower production across the region to bounce back after last year's...

Analytical agencies across the Black Sea are expecting sunflower production across the region to bounce back after last year’s weather-related losses, with output expected to increase by more than 6 million mt, or over 16% year-on-year, mostly from the big producing nations. 

Weather conditions in the Black Sea region have allowed trade sources to expect a large, in comparison with the last year, sunflower harvest that could total more than 41-42 million mt.

Of that total, more than 32 million mt is expected to come from Ukraine and Russia.

Ukraine

According to analytical agencies of Ukraine, the sunflower harvest in the current season is expected to increase to between 16.5-17.5 million mt due to a rise in acreage and an expected improvement in yield.

“The weather this year is favorable for sunflower and I think Ukraine will harvest at least 16.5 million mt of sunflower,” an agronomist in the Odesa region told AgriСЃensus.

Russia

For Russia, analysts predict sunflower harvest in the range of 15.2-16.7 million mt, althought the outlook is harder to call as the country once again wilts under hot, dry conditions.

The the minimum threshold of the estimate is based on any decrease in yields due to dry weather, while the upper end of the scale is justified by an increase in cultivated areas of 13% to 9.64 million ha, according to Russian statistical agency Rosstat.

In a number of regions of Russia, dry and hot weather persists, while the rains that took place in some southern and central regions have not significantly affected the condition of sunflowers.

“The increase in acreage will be offset by low yields due to drought. At the same time, in spite of the weather, forecasts of analytical agencies indicate harvests from 15.3 million mt to 16.7 million mt,” one trader told Agricensus.

That means the two giants of global sunflower production could be heading in opposite directions.

“I do not see great risks of reduced sunflower harvest in Ukraine below 17 million mt, while in Russia the risks are quite high. This is due to the increase of sowing area of 1.6 million hectares under sunflower in Russia this season,” Sergiy Repetskiy, managing partner at brokerage Sunstone Brokers SA told Agricensus.

“The big question is whether Russian farmers will be able to remove all the sunflower before the first snow, given the sharp increase in area and late planting. According to my estimates, up to 600,000 hectares will not be harvested on time, resulting in a reduced harvest,” Repetskiy warned.

Black Sea

An increase in the sunflower crop in the Black Sea region is also expected in Bulgaria and Romania, which, according to experts’ expectations, will collectively harvest a total of 5.3 million mt, 30% more than last year.

“Weather is perfect for harvesting, as is 30-33 degrees in the whole country of Bulgaria, as well as Romania. Harvesting ‘scorched fields’ is slowly starting in central and southern Bulgaria, but it is not indicative. The combined harvest for both Bulgaria and Romania is expected to increase by almost 30% compared to last year to 2-2.1 million mt in Bulgaria and up to 3 million mt in Romania,” Vassil Vassilev, head broker at AgriVia told Agricensus.

According to USDA forecasts, Turkey is expected to have one of its biggest sunflower harvests of the past four years, amounting to 1.8 million mt, which is 17% higher than last year.

“Our expectations are for a harvest of at least 1.7 million mt, which is almost 20% higher than last year,” added the broker.

Sunflower harvesting in dry areas is expected to begin after August 25, while mass harvesting is planned for September.

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