Crushing companies in Ukraine are facing a tight supply of sunflowerseeds due to farmers holding back sales of old crop and low new stocks, compounded by the harvesting campaign’s slow progress due to heavy rainfall, AgriCensus wrote.

Some crushing companies in the central, northern and some southwestern regions have reported a lack of supply of both old and new crop sunflowerseeds as farmers hold back sales in anticipation of higher commodity prices going forward, according to the 22 September report.

As a result of the harvesting campaign’s slow pace due to heavy rainfall in Ukraine’s main regions, mass harvesting – subject to favourable weather conditions – was expected to begin in early October, the report said.

“Raw materials are tight, but there is no [real] shortage,” a central Ukrainian crusher told AgriCensus.

According to crushing estimates, market expectations of high sunflowerseed stocks did not materialise, with estimates of stocks as of 1 September at no more than 2.1M tonnes at plants and from farmers in Ukraine-controlled territory.

Meanwhile, crushing companies were trying to keep prices for old and new sunflowerseeds between US$327-US$373/tonne (carriage paid to -CPT) plant including VAT, as they were limited by sunflower oil prices and the timing of the grain corridor.

Prices in the range of US$327-US$350/tonne CPT plant are typical for sunflower with 46%-48% oil content, and above US$350/tonne CPT plant for sunflower with 50% oil content, according to the report.

However, due to competition for raw materials between processors and exporters, individual crushers were willing to pay more than US$385/tonne CPT plant for raw materials.

Export prices were significantly higher, ranging from US$515/tonne to US$550/tonne (delivered at place – DAP) in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.

Market sources expected a sunflower harvest of 10.3M tonnes-11.28M tonnes, according to preliminary estimates.

According to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy, 672,900ha of sunflowers or 14% of the planted areas – totalling almost 1.3M tonnes of sunflowerseeds – had been harvested as of 22 September.

The report said estimated sunflower exports for the 2022/23 season would not be lower than 1.6M tonnes and could reach 3M tonnes, mainly to Europe.