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30 Years Ago - A Look Back

Friday, January 25, 2019
filed under: Historical

         Confections a Hit in West Germany —“The market for confection sunflower in West Germany continued its rapid growth in 1988 with a 72 percent increase over the previous year.  The kernels are used largely in bread, but the utilization now has expanded to salad bars, snacking and home baking. 
         “The National Sunflower Association has been utilizing USDA Foreign Agricultural Service funds to promote confection sunflower kernels in West Germany for the past four years.  In a recent NSA consumer awareness survey, 44 percent of the population indicated awareness of the product and 23 percent reported purchasing or using the product. Both these figures are up over 100 percent from a previous consumer study conducted two years ago.” 
         Sunflower Meal Finds Its Niche — “Sunflower growers are always encouraged to watch the Chicago oil board for sunflower pricing signals.  With the vast majority (usually 70 to 80 percent) of the price of sunflower dependent upon oil, this makes good sense.  On a given day, a rise or fall in Chicago oil prices will almost guarantee the same fate for sunflower prices at a domestic crushing plant. 
         “But what about the remaining value of sunflower — the meal?  Does it track the Chicago soybean meal prices as closely as oil? The answer appears to be ‘not immediately.’ 
         “There are some major differences between the two products.  The major pricing component of meal is the protein content.  Soybean meal is sold on a 44 percent protein basis while sunflower meal protein contents vary from 28 to 38 percent.  The reason for the protein variability in sunflower meal is the manner in which sunflower seed is processed and the climatic conditions during the growing season. 
         “For example, the National Sun Industries plant in Enderlin, N.D., dehulls the seed prior to crushing, which results in a lower fiber content and a high protein content of 38 percent.  ADM’s Red Wing, Minn., plant crushes the seed whole and sells a protein meal in the range of 28 to 32 percent.  The Cargill plant in West Fargo, N.D., partially dehulls, with a protein content in the low to middle 30s. . . . 
         “Historically, in the 28 percent sunflower meal, a protein unit has been priced at about a 30 percent discount to a soybean protein unit.” 
         Sunflower Rotation Adds to Wheat YieldsBy Tracy Sayler — “Is it possible to get increased wheat yields on the previous year’s sunflower ground? 
         “Dale Schank, who farms near Richardton in western North Dakota, says he really noticed the yield advantage, especially the second round of rotation.  ‘I estimate we’re seeing a 20 to 25 percent increase in our wheat yield due to sunflower.’ 
         “Schank likes to use a wheat/sunflower/summer fallow rotation and says the increased wheat yields have really been noticeable in the past five years. This is in comparison to wheat yields prior to adding sunflower in the rotation and fields that do not include sunflower. 
         “The biggest advantage Schank sees is weed control from sunflower.  ‘We have very little pigeon grass or wild oats in our wheat fields because of the Treflan carryover.  This reduces our weed control costs on wheat, and we’re not giving away precious moisture to weeds,’ says Schank.”   
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