Industry Facts & Figures

Australian Sunflower Industry Facts & Figures

Nutritional and health benefits of sunflower

Sunflower seeds contain healthy unsaturated oils, protein and fibre plus essential nutrients that help maintain good health. As they are a good source of protein, sunflower seeds have been seen as a long-time staple for people choosing plant-based diets.

Fact Sheet – Nutritional Benefits of Sunflower Products

Industry overview

Sunflower is primarily a summer crop and competes with other summer cropping options such as cotton, sorghum, maize, pulses and soybeans.

Historically, a large percentage of the Australian crop was comprised of polyunsaturated oil varieties, commencing with the 1974 release of Pacific Seeds first Australian hybrid for the bottled oil and margarine markets. Meeting the demands of health-conscious consumers, domestic production moved to monounsaturated oil varieties in the 1980s. Polyunsaturated and confectionary varieties have been grown to supply niche markets for edible oils and spreads, bird seed, horse feed and other animal feed markets in Australia and exported throughout Asia.

Northern New South Wales, Southern Queensland and Central Queensland are the key locations for sunflower production in Australia. Strong interest from growers in the southern NSW and Victorian irrigation areas has seen an increase in hectares planted in southern regions.

Globally, Australia is well located to meet increasing market demands from growth in both the domestic and Asian niche markets for birdseed, confectionary, horse feed and other emerging markets. The key challenge for all sectors of the value chain remains the ability of processors and manufacturers to guarantee continuous supply for domestic consumers of sunflower products.

Find out more about the market opportunities and constraints.