The European Union (EU) Commission has forecast a significant expansion in the EU’s sunflower area this year, Germany’s Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) reported.
According to the EU Commission's forecast, the EU sunflower area for harvest this year totals around 4.7M ha, representing a 199M ha rise compared to the previous year and exceeding the 2013 peak of 4.6M ha.
With the outlook for sowing and growing sunflowers in Ukraine uncertain due to the ongoing conflict with Russia, this was an important signal for the market supply of European oil mills, the report said.
In terms of area, Romania remains the EU’s biggest producer, according to the report, with a forecast increase of 56,000 ha bringing the total area to around 1.3M ha.
Bulgaria has the second largest area with a projected area of 875,000 ha, an expansion of 4.4%.
According to the EU Commission report, France was likely to also record a 4.4% rise in area to 729,000 ha.
The sunflower planted area in Hungary was expected to expand to 680,000ha, a 4.5% increase, compared to the previous year.
In Spain, sunflower production is also forecast to expand by 4.5% compared to the previous year to 654,000 ha.
Germany is expecting a larger increase, although at a low level, according to research by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH), with the sunflower planted area forecast to expand by 5.3% to 40,000ha.
In its 2022 outlook, the EU Commission forecast yields at an overall average of 23.8 decitonnes/ha, representing an almost 2% year-on-year rise.
The highest per hectare yields are expected to be reached in Hungary, according to the report, at around 29.7 decitonnes/ha. This would exceed the previous year’s levels by more than 14%.