8 March 2002

Sunflowers on contract

SUNFLOWER production is being encouraged by a fixed price contract to help home-grown supplies meet demand for up to 15,000t for use in birdseed.

Domestic production is about 1500t, the rest coming from France, Eastern Europe, Argentina and the US, says grain broker ACS of Exeter. Its fixed price contracts are for £185/t ex-farm at 9% moisture and 2% admix. Variable contracts are for French price at movement plus k30/t.

"On an appropriate site realistic yields of 2-2.2t/ha can be achieved to produce crop values of around £400/ha before IACS," says ACSs John Collier.

With relatively low inputs, sunflower margins can outperform alternative spring combinable crops, he says. &#42