A Look Back - 30 Years Ago
NSA Opposes EEC Veg Oil Tax — “The National Sunflower Association has gone on record in opposition to a proposed consumption tax on vegetable oils within the European Economic Community. ‘Any action which adversely affects vegetable oil consumption in the EEC will directly affect United States sunflower seed exports to a major market,’ noted NSA Processor Committee Chairman Brian Peterson in mid-October testimony before a Senate subcommittee holding hearings on the matter.
“ ‘If the proposed consumption tax is enacted, we would expect United States sunflower seed exports to fall,’ Peterson stated. He further predicted increased competition in other markets for sun oil, less U.S. sunflower seed crushing capacity utilization and downward pressure on seed prices paid to American farmers. . . .
“The EEC’s proposed tax would be an internal tax placed on all fats and oils consumed within its member nations — with the exception of butter. The tax has drawn fire from a number of U.S. companies and organizations, including the American Soybean Association. Nearly half of 1982 U.S. exports of soybeans and soybean products went to the EEC.”
Four Futures Contracts Trade — “As if to say, ‘Yes, Virginia, there is still a sunflower futures contract,’ four contracts traded at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange between August 10 and September 27. Prior to August 10, the last trade recorded in the MGE sunflower futures pit was on March 3, 1982. The four trades constituted two ‘round-trips,’ and so as of September 28 the open interest was back to zero.”
North Carolinian Growers and Processes Confection Sunflower / By Don Lilleboe — “They’ve largely given way to more modern methods, but the old tin-roofed tobacco curing barns still dot the eastern North Carolina countryside — artifacts of an industry which has undergone substantial change, yet is still very much a part of the region’s agricultural economy.
“Sown on fields carved out of Eastern hardwood forests, it is tobacco, peanuts, corn and soybeans which dominate the area’s rust-colored cultivated soils. And even if he knows there are a few of them around this neck of the woods, a visitor still registers surprise at coming upon sunflower fields in the midst of tobacco country.
“But there they are — not many, mind you — and confections, for the most part. Yet there are a few farmers in that tri-county Halifax-Nashville-Edgecombe vicinity who think sunflower might just be a comer. Wayne Horne of Elm City is one of these. In fact, he’s accumulated enough confidence in the crop’s potential to construct a new confection sunflower cleaning and processing facility on his farm. To his knowledge, it’s the only such plant from North Carolina’s northern border on down through Florida.
“Horne’s aerated bins have a two-million-pound capacity. He has dehulling capabilities, but a good portion of the cleaned and sized seeds leave his farm as in-shells. While the majority of his handle comes from his own area, the marketing firm through which Horne works also had about 1,000 acres contracted in Florida this year, and they were brought to Elm City for processing. . . .
“With a 2,000-pound crop, the economics of raising confection sunflower in Horne’s neighborhood look quite attractive. ‘If you make a ton to the acre at 12 cents a pound, that’s $240 gross,’ he notes. ‘And you’ve got about $120 in the crop. So you’re talking about a $120 return — which is better than what corn and beans have been going for the past several years.’ ”
The Midge Backs Off in ’83 / By Don Lilleboe — “Sunflower growers in South Dakota and the western three-fourths of North Dakota, relax: the midge shows little inkling of coming your way. Growers in the Red River Valley and northwestern Minnesota in general, keep your eyes open: it hasn’t disappeared.
“Those, in a nutshell are the implications drawn from the 1983 survey of sunflower midge infestation conducted by entomologists from North Dakota State University, the University of Minnesota, South Dakota State University, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and Manitoba Agriculture. This is the third year such a survey has been carried out.
“ ‘The midge was not a big production problem this year, reports Dennis Kopp, North Dakota State University extension entomologist. He and colleague John Busacca guesstimate that less than one-half of one percent of the ’83 Red River Valley sunflower crop was lost to midge damage. That’s down from the 1982 level and substantially below that of 1981. They also note that cases of severe damage were quite rare this year — and most of those which were found were near or north of the U.S.-Canadian border.”
Proper Management of Stored Sunflower Seeds / By Les Backer, NDSU ag engineer — “We must recognize that the quality of our crop cannot been improved by storage; the most we can h ope to do is maintain the quality the crop had when it was placed into storage. Deterioration of the crop begins when storage begins. The rate of deterioration is slowest when the grain is the driest and coolest, since the growth rate of fungi is dependent upon moisture content and temperature of the crop. (That of insects depends primarily upon temperature.) The worst tendency that farmers and those in the crop storage business have is to put grain into storage and then forget about it. This reflects a false sense of security.
“Fungi (mold) and insects are the predominant causes of concern in the storage of sunflower. The development of both can be controlled by careful monitoring and control of seed temperature and moisture content.”
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