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- CRB Fundamentals - 2008 Commodity Articles

Sunflowerseed and Products

Sunflowers are native to South and North America, but are now grown almost worldwide. Sunflower-seed oil accounts for approximately 14% of the world production of seed oils. Sunflower varieties that are commercially grown contain from 39% to 49% oil in the seed. Sunflower crops produce about 50 bushels of seed per acre on average, which yields approximately 50 gallons of oil.

Sunflower-seed oil accounts for around 80% of the value of the sunflower crop. Refined sunflower-seed oil is edible and used primarily as a salad and cooking oil and in margarine. Crude sunflower-seed oil is used industrially for making soaps, candles, varnishes, and detergents. Sunflower-seed oil contains 93% of the energy of U.S. No. 2 diesel fuel and is being explored as a potential alternate fuel source in diesel engines. Sunflower meal is used in livestock feed and when fed to poultry, increases the yield of eggs. Sunflower seeds are also used for birdfeed and as a snack for humans.

Prices - The average monthly price received by U.S. farmers for sunflower seeds in the first four months of the 2007-08 marketing year (September 2007 through August 2008) was up +22.9% to $18.48 per hundred pounds, which was a new record high.

Supply - World sunflower-seed production in the 2005-06 marketing year (latest data available) rose +12.5% yr/yr to a record high of 29.660 million metric tons. The world's largest sunflower-seed producers are the former USSR with 39% of world production, Argentina with 13%, China with 6%, U.S with 6%, and France and India both with 5%.

U.S. production of sunflower seeds in 2006-07 fell by -46.7% yr/yr to 972,000 metric tons, which was far below the record production level of 3.309 million metric tons posted in 1979-80. U.S. farmers harvested 1.864 million acres of sunflowers in 2006-07, down -28.6% from last year's 6-year high of 2.610 million acres posted in 2005-06. U.S sunflower yield in 2006-07 was down -26.4% to 11.34 pounds per acre, down from the record high of 15.40 pound per acre in 2005-06.

Demand - Total U.S. disappearance of sunflower seeds in 2006-07 fell -20.8% yr/yr to 1.264 million metric tons, of which 50% went to crushing for oil and meal, 38% went to non-oil and seed use, and 12% went to exports.

Trade - World sunflower-seed exports in 2005-06 rose +12.9% yr/yr to 1.754 million metric tons. The world's largest exporters are the former USSR which accounted for 35% of world exports in 2005-06 and the U.S. which accounted for 11% of world exports.

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