CNS Canada — Manitoba farmers will soon be harvesting this year’s sunflower crop, and early expectations look good despite some areas of concern.
There are certain areas of the province where the sunflowers are starting to break down due to disease or weather issues, said Anastasia Kubinec, an oilseed specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.
However, most fields look better than in recent years, with good seed sets and test weights. She said head rot is also not as bad as in recent years.
“In certain areas they may not have a great crop, but in some areas they will have a pretty good crop,” said Kubinec.
Statistics Canada now forecasts Manitoba’s sunflower seed production at 94,100 tonnes, which would compare with the 55,000 tonnes grown the previous year. However, whether that target is hit or not will depend on weather conditions through the harvest season.
“Sunflowers are a funny crop; it could snow tomorrow and we’d be in trouble,” said Kubinec.
Sunflowers are being desiccated around the province; Kubinec anticipated some harvest activity this week. Late-seeded fields won’t be harvested for at least another month.
One major demand channel for sunflower seed is the birdseed market — but birds are also quite adept at bypassing the middleman.
Kubinec said farmers need to watch their bird populations, and get on their fields as quickly as possible.
There is no product available to keep the birds away, she said, while efforts to discourage them, such as noise cannons, are quickly ignored.
— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.