Sunflower is one of the main oilseeds in Europe.
Along with soybeans, rapeseed and flaxseed, sunflower is used for both food and industrial purposes. EU countries are engaged in both importing this crop and growing it on their own territories. At the same time, the yield of sunflower in Europe is not particularly high, since basically this crop is still imported from other countries, especially from Ukraine.
What factors affect the yield of sunflower
According to statistics, no more than 10 million tons of this crop are grown in the EU. At the same time, its yield strongly depends not only on the fertility of local soils, but also on the availability of sufficient precipitation. In this regard, 2020 was a test for European farmers, since the rainfall necessary for the growth of the crop was not observed.
In addition, proper pre-sowing treatment of seeds and soil is important to increase yields. For soil cultivation, plow, plow-free plowing and no-till technology are used, which is supposed to be sown without additional mechanical work. The choice of processing technology is necessary depending on the type of soil, the characteristics of the local climate and the degree of infection with pests and diseases. It is also important to properly fertilize the soil with potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus oxide, sulfur and magnesium oxide. In addition, to increase yields, it is worth treating crops from pests and diseases, and the EU has its own peculiarities in this regard. In particular, in Europe, certain products are prohibited that increase the percentage of harmful substances in seeds. These requirements also apply to imported products. The non-use of harmful additives when growing crops must be confirmed by appropriate documents.
Sunflower yield in 2020
According to forecasts of the European Commission, sunflower yield will decrease to 8.9 million tons, which will be the lowest level since 2016. At the same time, the EU is going to import more sunflower oil, mainly from Ukraine (2.3 million tons). By the way, Europe will also import more soybeans and soybean oil – 15.7 million tons and 400 thousand tons, respectively.
At the same time, in the EU, the yield of this crop in 2020 was only 9 million tons. In total, almost 50 million tons of sunflower will be produced in the world – the total yield decreased by 5 million tons compared to 2019, when 54.98 million tons were produced. Accordingly, the amount of produced meal and sunflower oil also fell.
At the same time, in Ukraine, the yield of sunflower also does not break records, and in 2020 the country grew 5% less sunflower than a year earlier – i.e. 25.6 c / ha. It’s all the fault of the same drought that affected the yield of this crop. But nevertheless, this crop remains export and the gross harvest is expected to be almost at the level of last year – 16.2 million tons (or + 1%), thanks to fertile soils and a sufficient number of sown areas. Therefore, the supply of sunflower from Ukraine to the EU will not stop, because it is Ukraine that remains the main supplier of these products, providing up to 90% of the market.