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Sunflower seeds: drought impairs development of the flowers

July 23, 2020 at 11:20 AM, Der AUDITOR
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SOFIA. In some parts of Bulgaria it rained well in the last days, only in the east it remained mostly dry. This is not expected to change for the time being, the...

... current weather forecasts speak primarily of precipitation in the west of the country. In terms of development, sunflowers are currently in the core formation phase and market players still expect an average yield. Due to the drought, however, there are concerns that the kernels in the shells could be comparatively small, as they were last year. For the hulling companies, this would mean a higher product input and a higher percentage of broken kernels to obtain one kilo of hulled sunflower seeds.

The European Commission last estimated the Bulgarian sunflower seed crop in 2020 at 2.045 million metric tonnes, due to the larger acreage with a similar yield as last year. EU-wide earnings of 10.45 million metric tonnes are expected, which is also a slight increase compared to 2019.

Prices not below last year's level

The farmgate prices for black in-shells with a 98% purity have become cheaper due to the approaching start of the harvest and are at EUR 332 per metric tonne CPT Varna. At the same time, both spot offers and new crop prices for bakery kernels have stabilised at the level of the past weeks and currently it is not expected that prices at the beginning of the harvest will be lower than last year. Meanwhile, organic bakery kernels with Eastern European origin are offered between EUR 1.13 per kg and EUR 1.24 per kg DDP Germany.

Sunflower kernels, Bulgaria



Hulled, bakery, DDP DE, 2019 crop


Hulled, bakery, DDP DE, 2020 crop


Organic, hulled, bakery, DDP DE, 2020 crop


Unhulled, 98% purity, CPT Varna


Trade sources

EU exports shrink

Between July 2019 and May 2020, 495,185 metric tonnes of sunflower seeds were exported from the EU to third countries according to data from the European Commission, around 14% less than in the same period last year. In September 2019 the volume of exports reached a record 120,000 metric tonnes but between January and May 2020 exports fell by up to two thirds in comparison with the same month last year. In the same period, the volume of imports almost doubled to 948,525 metric tonnes, mainly due to a significant increase in exports from Russia (2018/19: 18,600 mt vs. 2019/20: 362,167 mt).

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