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More money in your back pocket with high oil sunflower

For many grain producers, the sunflower crop has played an important part in making the sums add up at the end of the season. SY 3970CL is a sunflower cultivar that not only brings in the money, but that actually make the purse bulge.

Syngenta is seen as the world leader in sunflower genetics and with the merging of Syngenta and Sensako, Sensako now has direct access to top sunflower genetics from across the world. According to Andries Wessels, Product Development Manager at Syngenta, the South African sunflower producer can now capitalise on this availability of the latest genetics and high oil content cultivars with additional tolerance to herbicides.

SY 3970CL is one of these new generation sunflower hybrids. “The future of sunflower lies in oil and although grain yield remains important, with the high oil content processors also now share in the benefits. The new focus on cultivars with a high oil content contributes towards the profitability of the farmer as well as the processor,” says Andries.

Over the past two seasons Unigrain and Sensako started a new project that completes the value chain with great benefit of the farmer. This year producers have another chance to become part of this project where they may be able to realise a premium if they deliver grain with a high oil content.

“The current standard for oil content in sunflower grain is between 36% and 38%, but with the new Sensako cultivar, SY 3970CL, producers can realise between 42% en 50% oil. In the 2020 season farmers realised oil percentages between 45,7% and 50,5 %. According to Unigrain the yield was also more than what was expected,” according to Andries.

According to Peter Lovelace, Chief Executive Officer of CEOCO, they realised between 40 and 41% oil during the 2010 and 2011 production seasons, but lately the oil percentages of the sunflower delivered at Boksburg declined to as low as 35%.

“This has enormous implications for the sustainability of the sunflower oil industry. While our running costs increases, the quality of sunflower oil percentages has declined. This means that we had to take in more sunflower to realise the same amount of oil.”

The past couple of years CEOCO worked with Syngenta to inter alia, offer more contracts for sunflower grain that is delivered in Boksburg. “The project delivered outstanding results and we are excited about the oil percentages that farmers are realising with SY 3970CL. We are prepared to pay out the agreed upon premium to producers because we know that all parties are walking away happy.”

SY 3970CL is a sunflower cultivar with good yield potential and offers tolerance against dryer conditions. The seedling is vigorous and takes about 125 – 130 days to relative maturity and 69-72 days to flowering. This medium to long grower does not grow remarkably high and lodging is therefore not a problem in windy conditions. The black grain helps with identify preservation in the value chain.

For more information, contact your nearest Sensako broker or Pieter Craven, at or Andries Wessels at