Spanish Sunflower Association Predicts a Record World Output


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Aug 29, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

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The Spanish Sunflower Association (AEG) forecasts a record world production of Sunflower Seeds in the 2023-2024 campaign that will be close to 57 million tons, given the good harvest forecasts for the countries of the European Union (EU) and Ukraine.

The representative of the association has also indicated that “the availability of product at harvest time will be what can set the price and supply.” According to the information collected by the AEG, in Spain, the area for Sunflower planting this season is estimated at 740,000 hectares and an estimated production of 890,000 tons in the national harvest.

“70% of the Sunflower area planted in Andalusia has already been harvested, and despite the drought, its average production can be estimated at between 800-900 kilos per hectare, the quality of the Oil being higher than the previous 2021-2022 campaign,” has indicated the AEG.

Internationally, the area of Sunflower Seeds in Ukraine amounts to 6.5 million hectares, which would mean an increase of 8% compared to the previous year, according to the association. Thus, a harvest of 15.3 million tons is estimated, representing about 9% more than last year, although this forecast will depend on the evolution of the armed conflict in the country.

Russian production for the 2023-2024 campaign is expected to peak at 16.4 million tons for the second consecutive year. If the forecast comes true, Russia will continue to be the world’s largest supplier of Sunflower Seeds. In Romania, 1.25 million hectares were sown, and 700,000 in Bulgaria, according to the AEG, representing a slight variation compared to the average of previous years. For its part, France continues the trend of recent years, being the largest producer of high oleic Sunflower, with 80% compared to 20% of conventional high linoleic Sunflower.

Oilseed production in Spain was limited to Sunflower Seed, which was mainly processed to extract Oil for use in the food sector, followed by much lower volumes of Rapeseed, which was generally exported to neighboring Portugal or France.

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Soybean Industry in Spain 

Spain is the 4th largest country in the European Union (EU) and the world’s 16th largest economy, with a population of over 47 million. Spain is Europe’s 3rd largest soy crusher and home to Cargill’s first crushing plant. It is also the 2nd largest feed producer in the EU and 2nd largest pork exporter after Germany.

As Spain produced less than 5,000 tons/year of Soybeans – most of it for the food sector – the country needed to import almost all its protein feed ingredients. Spain is the third largest Soybean-crushing member state, accounting for 20% of total EU Soybean imports, after the Netherlands and Germany, which account for 25% and 21% of EU Soybean imports, respectively. 

Spain is dependent on protein, only producing 0.8 million tons of Oilseeds. Soybean meal consumption in Spain is 5.2 million tons. Practically half of this Soybean meal is produced in the crushing plants. There are four crushing plants: two in Barcelona belonging to Cargill and to Bunge, one in Cartagena, and one in Bilbao, which both belong to Bunge. Spain’s Soybean crushing capacity totals nearly 3.5 million tons.

Imports of Soybeans and soya products to Spain average around 6 million tons/year, driven by demand for feed ingredients for the country’s livestock sector, according to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The country’s limited Oilseed production made Spain one of the EU’s leading importers of Oilseeds and related products. Although Argentina mainly dominates Spain’s Soybean meal import market, most of the supply of Soybeans for crushing is sourced from Brazil, followed by the USA. According to AgFlow data, Spain imported 0.1 million tons of Soybeans from Brazil in July 2023, followed by the United States (57,120 tons). 

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