Manitoba sunflowers ready for harvest

CNS Canada — Most sunflower fields in southern Manitoba are ready for harvest, but the province first needs to see some drier weather.

A handful of fields have seen some harvest activity already, “but the bulk is still to come,” said Ben Friesen, purchasing manager with Scoular Canada at Winkler, Man.

“If the sun shines, they’ll be going very seriously within the next few days,” he said.

About 75 per cent of the sunflowers will be desiccated this year, he estimated, allowing the long maturing crop to be harvested by the middle of October. The remainder will be waiting for a frost, but nearby forecasts don’t look cold enough for a killing frost.

Quality is generally good in the province, though Friesen said heavy winds earlier in the growing season cut into the production potential, with many fields getting only half a crop.

From a pricing standpoint, most confectionary sunflower seed contracts in Manitoba were pre-priced at about $28 per hundredweight, which compares with old crop at $26. Oilseeds were contracted at about $24-$25/cwt.

“It’s a firm price; not super-high or super-low,” Friesen said of the values.

Statistics Canada has forecast Manitoba’s 2016 sunflower crop at 53,500 tonnes in 2016, down from 72,600 the previous year.

Confectionary acres were drastically reduced in the province, as U.S. buyers did not come in to do any contracting, said Friesen. Oilseed acres held relatively steady.

Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for MarketsFarm specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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