Sunflower, known for its heliotropism (motion in response to the direction of the sun), is mostly processed into an oil with a high omega 6 fatty acids content. The crop is widely grown in the region around the Black Sea, and the future of sunflower oil industry is exposed to policies in that region.
The world leading sunflower exporters (Ukraine, Russia and Argentina) crush their production locally into meal and oil for optimal industrial capacities and reasons linked to policies (e.g. export taxes, trade agreements, etc.). Consequently, the long-term fate of crushing margins will be subject to the evolution of these policies.
As the domestic demand for quality feed compounds increases in the Black Sea region, the demand for soybean meal with nutritional properties (e.g. higher in lysine content) emerges. This puts pressure on sunflower meal sales and draws farming towards more soy.
Last but not least, hulls isolated from the seeds are frequently burnt in crushing plants to produce energy making these self-sufficient in energy. Once pelletized, these hulls find growing outlets in the EU with the development of the biomass and bioenergy markets.