KernAktuell April 2022, News

The oilseed pumpkin harvest forecast for 2022

European farmers make radical changes to their farming strategies

Most of the money spent by agricultural businesses goes on fertiliser, fuel, electricity, pest management and technology. But in recent months, prices for the above have risen by up to 400%, with the result that many farmers are opting to grow different crops.

Maize and grain require large amounts of fertiliser and hence might appear less favourable under the current circumstances. However, maize produces a reliable yield, and the contract prices for the 2022 harvest are high. This means that farmers can factor in the higher production costs – and the number of fields dedicated to maize is actually likely to rise.

Soybeans, which belong to the legume family, do not require nitrogen, meaning that fertiliser costs are less of an issue for farmers who focus on this crop. In fact, the shortage of GMO-free soybeans (a problem that is massively exacerbated by the situation in the Ukraine) has caused prices to rise to unprecedented levels. In 2022, Austria and Europe will be dedicating more fields than ever before to soybeans.

Oilseed pumpkin fields in the Ukraine and Russia don’t have the same market relevance for Europe as grain and soybeans. Nonetheless, harvests from these countries have been decisive in recent years in tipping the scales towards sufficient or insufficient availability. The impact of the crisis in the Ukraine on the oilseed pumpkin market is more indirect, manifesting itself in increased production costs and higher prices for reference crops such as maize and soybeans. Oilseed pumpkins require less fertiliser than maize, but proceeds are less predictable. In addition, weed control is more of an issue in pumpkin farming. Pumpkin prices, which have been rising since 2018, are still lower than they were in 2015/16, when prices for reference crops were relatively low. As a result, the minimum prices for oilseed pumpkins in 2022 are not appealing for farmers. Firstly, the cost of growing pumpkins has risen by more than 50 cents per kilo of pumpkin seeds, on account of price increases for fertiliser and fuel. And secondly, nobody can foresee how the situation will be in the autumn, when the pumpkin seeds need to be dried until their moisture content decreases from 60% to a maximum of 8%. The problem here is that most drying facilities are powered by oil or gas, and nobody can predict the cost of fuel in the coming autumn – not to mention its availability!

In short, the preconditions for growing pumpkins this year are not good. Farmers are likely to dedicate fewer fields to this crop, which will in turn lead to a further increase in prices. Unless the higher production costs are countered by higher proceeds, and unless pumpkin seeds can command a competitive price, the harvests are unlikely to yield enough to maintain the level of market growth we’ve seen in the last few years.

Immer auf dem neuesten Stand


Traditional Styrian
stamp press process

While modernity has brought progress in many areas, the traditional Styrian stamp press process is still the best way of making pumpkin seed oil. The main difference between this and other pressing methods is that we work with open roasting pans. At our plant, people check when the pumpkin seeds are perfectly roasted and so will yield the very best oil. This enables our experienced oil millers to produce the pumpkin seed oil that has won more prizes than any other – and which as a result of this type of pressing retains all the natural constituents. The untreated oil is not filtered; the particles that make it cloudy settle naturally when the oil is left to rest.

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