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30 Years Ago

Saturday, December 1, 2018
filed under: Historical

       New Markets in Texas and Oklahoma / By Larry Stalcup — “Texas and Oklahoma sunflower producers hope that theory holds true with two new markets in their area — markets that may well give them a little better edge when it comes to selling their crops.
       “The Clinton, Okla., Co-op Oil Mill, a crushing plant in western Oklahoma, and Eagle, Inc., a mill in the Texas Panhandle community of Etter, are scheduled to begin crushing sunflower in 1989.  Both entities expect to receive most of their sunflower from producers in western Kansas and eastern Colorado.  But they also will receive product from growers in the Sooner and Lone Star states; and they are looking for a possible increase in sunflower production across the entire region.
       “ ‘We know we can get the product out of Kansas,’ says Dennis Lawrence, manager of Eagle, Inc.  ‘But we also feel that when we’re up and running, people will be more interested in raising sunflower in the Texas Panhandle area.’
       “ ‘We’ve had a lot of sunflower seed dealers wanting us to start crushing sunflower,’ says Robbie Winston, seed buyer fro the western Oklahoma operation.  ‘There hasn’t been a market in this part of the country for sunflower.  This country is looking for an alternate crop, and we feel sunflower may be one that farmers will go with.’
       “The Texas operation is actually a converted soybean crushing plant.  But according to Lawrence, the plant is flexible enough to be used for either sunflower or soybean with slight modification.”
       ‘Hot’ Times in the Confection Market / By Larry Kleingartner — “The confection sunflower market has been identified in past years as a ‘volatile bee hive.’  But with extremely dry conditions in July of 1988, it became a virtual ‘volcano.’  With a growing kernel market in West Europe and an active in-shell and bird food market within the United States, the industry was looking for a moderate increase in ’88 acreage and continued market growth.
       “What happened was nearly the opposite.  The first big shakeup was the USDA planting intentions report released early in the spring which indicated farmers were planning to increase ’88 confection sunflower acreage by 45 percent.  Since that figure did not include Kansas acreage, which was expected to increase as well, the market was all set for a big crop and cheap prices.  There was enormous pressure on the market to lower contract prices to brokers and buyers.  However, most firms contracting with farmers did not believe the USDA figures and tried to their ground on prices. . . .
       “[T]he market took off like a torpedo in early summer as the drought had obviously reduced yields.  There was panic buying in July as cash prices increased by 100 percent over contract prices.  ‘All of a sudden, we had everyone coming out of the woodwork wanting full delivery of their contracts,’ says an industry spokesman.”
       Good Crop Quality in ’88 / Despite Adverse Growing Conditions / By Karl Schmidt — “The quality of the 1988 sunflower crop is above average despite terrible growing conditions.  The National Sunflower Association gathered more than 117 randomly selected oil sunflower samples throughout the production regions of Colorado, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. . . .
       “The average test weight is about 31 pounds per bushel, which is above the five-year average. . . . The high test weight surprised many farmers who were expecting smaller and lighter seed due to the dry conditions. . . .
       “Researchers were also surprised.  Dr. Jerry Miller, USDA geneticist, said, ‘We haven’t seen sunflower perform under such adverse conditions before, so we didn’t know what to expect.  I think we are seeing the results of a lot of hard work on the part of public and private researchers.’. . .
       “Oil content is again high, at 42.7 percent.  Of 117 samples, only one had an oil content under 38 percent.  Several samples had over 47 percent oil.  Those growers realizing higher oil percentages will be rewarded by the industry’s 2-for-1 price premium on oil content over 40 percent.”
       Record Sunflower Crush in 1987/88 — “According to a National Sunflower Association survey of U.S. crushing plants, the 1987/88 marketing year was a record year for total crush.  A total of 900,000 tons of 900,000 tons of sunflower seed was processed in the 1987/88 marketing year which ended on September 30.  This represents an increase of 20 percent over the previous year.
       “The record crush is due to the Export Enhancement Program (EEP).  EEP is a USDA export program which matches the subsidies of the European Common Market.  EEP allowed the United States to complete in a number of North African vegetable oil markets which have been dominated by subsidized European oil for the past four years.”
       ADM Purchases Midwest Plant — “The Archer Daniels Midland Co. has purchased the Midwest Processing Co. crushing plant located in Velva, N.D.  The facility, rated at 1,000 tons per day, was built in the early 1980s to crush sunflower.  ADM has announced it intends to crush canola as well as sunflower at the plant.  Plans are to import Canadian canola until sufficient local supplies are available.
       “Among its other facilities, ADM owns and operates a sunflower and flax crushing plant at Red Wing, Minn.”                     
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