The EU-27’s sunflowerseed harvest in 2021 was 14% larger than the previous year and a 10% increase on the long-term average, according to estimates reported by Germany’s Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP).

However, the estimated figure of 10.3M tonnes did not top the record sunflowerseed harvest in 2017, according to the 9 November report.

The sunflower area also expanded compared to the previous year, UFOP said, although only just by under 1% to 4.5M hectares, 7% more than the five-year average.

At 23 decitonnes/ha, the average yield was a 13% increase on the previous year’s weak results.

However, it was just under 0.6% short of the long-term average.

The significant rise in the harvest was particularly due to production increases in Bulgaria, France, Romania and Slovakia, according to Agrarmarkt-Informationsgesellschaft.

With a growth of 0.8M tonnes to around 3M tonnes, Romania remained the largest sunflowerseed producer within the European Community, the report said, followed by Bulgaria which produced 1.9M tonnes.

Generally favourable weather conditions helped farmers bring in larger harvests according to the report, after lack of rain during the yield-forming period and torrential rain at harvest time had led to high harvest losses in Bulgaria and Romania the previous year.

Meanwhile, the harvest in Hungary was expected to be lower than the previous year, due to drought hampering yield formation during the vulnerable growing period, the report said.