Sunflower growers have many choices when choosing sunflower market segments that best fit their farming operations. Understanding the risks and benefits of each market will help a grower decide which can be the most profitable in any given year.
Factors to Consider
- Marketing options
- Delivery options
- Available hybrids
- Understand the level of crop management required for the market. Sunflowers grown for the confection and dehull markets require more management than those for oil markets. Because products sold in confection and dehull markets often have quality standards regarding insect and disease damage, growers will need to pay closer attention to pressure from these threats. Substantial penalties may apply if standards are not met. Confection and dehull markets also are seed-size sensitive, so planting populations and final stand counts are much more important. Larger harvested seed size is often the result of lower populations.
- Evaluate available marketing options. Marketing options vary in each market segment. Contracts may or may not be available. Act of God provisions may or may not apply. Multiple pricing options may or may not be offered. Some segments may allow for total crop delivery under a contract, whereas others may put some of the crop in the open market. Talk with a local processor to understand what options are available and best fit your needs.
- Determine if you can meet the delivery requirements. Understanding the cash-flow needs of your operation is a good place to start when making delivery option decisions. Many sunflower contracts require on-farm storage for part of the crop. To preserve the identity of the products, each market segment needs to be carefully handled and stored to prevent cross-product contamination. Make sure you have the capacity to follow these guidelines before signing a contract. The implications of where the product needs to be delivered should be considered, as well.
- Select hybrids that fit market demand. Choose hybrids with the proper agronomic characteristics for a particular field and the genetic attributes that make them a good fit for a particular market. Also, consider the need for traits. Do you need herbicide-tolerant hybrids, or hybrids with rust tolerance or downy mildew resistance? Reviewing product data can help you make the decision that best fits the needs of your operation.
Knowing the management needs, contracting options and delivery requirements for each sunflower market segment will help determine the best market options for your operation. For more information, contact your local Mycogen Seeds customer agronomist or trusted agronomic adviser.