Although sunflower yields are an important factor for a stellar ROI, oil content is a big factor as well. Alison Pokrzywinski, Nuseed Product Manager NA, is happy to note that this is another area where this superhero crop proved its worth in 2021!
“The combination of really good yields with the high-quality oil content, as well as good prices, is really making that light bulb go off in growers’ heads and made them look at increasing their acres for 2022,” she says.
“Many of these growers also yielded sunflowers with up to 47 percent oil content, which is amazing. For sunflower that’s being sold into the crush market, growers get a premium for anything over 40 percent oil content. To have 47 percent means you’re getting more money per pound. Let’s say your base price is $27 per hundredweight (cwt). At 47 percent oil content, that would mean that your sunflower seed would now be getting $30.78 per hundredweight (cwt). That’s a huge selling feature of this crop.”
John Sandbakken, Executive Director for the National Sunflower Association, says the growth in sunflower acres is directly driven by growth in market demand, which is surging.
“We’ve been experiencing about a 5 percent to 10 percent growth in usage each year, and that continues to move up as consumers are looking for healthier products,” he says. “Everybody wants to eat the same amount of food; they just want it to be healthier. With sunflowers, you get very high monounsaturated fat and low saturated fat, and that’s what people want.”
The “clean eating” trend is a big one and puts an emphasis on whole foods that are less processed — namely, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy oils.
“The ‘clean’ label is very big in the U.S. and Canada, and sunflower just fits in perfectly with that,” Sandbakken says. “It has a very neutral taste, and it doesn’t impart any other kinds of flavors into the foods that we eat.”