Sunflower meal is the by-product of oil extraction from sunflower seeds. Used as a feed ingredient, sunflower meal is rich in fiber content and protein content. By the virtue of sunflower meal’s high protein and fiber content, it is one of the 5 most widely used meals for animal feed. Sunflower meal can be obtained from whole or decorticated seeds. Since sunflower meal is high in protein, it is utilized for feed mostly in case of ruminants where the high fiber content is desirable. Or in sows in case of swine feed. The protein content in sunflower meal ranges from 23% to as high as 40% depending upon the type of extraction used in sunflower oil extraction.
Sunflower meal protein is more degradable than other seed meals such as soya bean, or rapeseed meal, making it the best contender for animal feed. Sunflower meal also is high in protein content, which is a macronutrient necessary for the proper growth and development of animals. Apart from the higher bioavailability of protein, sunflower meal is also devoid of any anti-nutritional factors, and hence is considered to be safe for all types of species and is not of limited use. Sunflower meal is also high in fat content, which makes it an ideal feed for dairy cows since farmer more often than not supplement the fat externally to improve the quality of milk obtained from the cows.
Since sunflower meal is a by-product of the sunflower oil processing, it is available at a much lower cost. This cost feasibility of the sunflower meal has led to it being chosen over other available options for animal feed in developing countries. Due to sunflower meal’s higher bioavailability, the feed conversion rate is also high which makes it an ideal animal feed ingredient. Poultry, especially layers have much use of sunflower meal as the sunflower meal is high in methionine, a necessary ingredient for layer hens absent in general feed products.
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Global demand for animal-derived products, including meat, dairy and poultry, and others is on a steady rise. To fulfill the demand, compound feed industry is growing as well. Sunflower meal plays an important part in compound feed formulation, and therefore the growth for sunflower meal market is proportional with the growth of the compound feed industry. Apart from being a part of compound feed formulation, sunflower meal can be fed to the animals directly in as much as 20% of the total ration being fed to the animals, although the use of non-hulled sunflower meal is restricted for use in adult ruminant diets only, the decorticated sunflower meal can be used freely for any species under a threshold. The reason for the threshold being the excessive use of fertilizers and insecticides for growing sunflowers that increase the heavy metal content in the sunflower meal.
Some of the key players in the global sunflower meal market are Optimusagro Holding Ltd., Melitopol Oil Extraction Plant LLC, Aston, VIOIL Holding S.A., Pology Oil Extraction Plant PJSC, Archer Daniel Midland Company, Cargill, Incorporated, Allseeds, Wilmar International Ltd, SVMA etc.
Opportunities for market participants in the sunflower meal market are plentiful in major livestock and feed producing regions. Global feed production has reached 1.07 billion metric tons as of 2017 over 1.03 billion metric tons in 2016, this speaks volumes about the scope of growth for sunflower meal market. Sunflower meal market has multiple opportunities for growth in developing regions as well where consumers prefer oilseed meals for livestock than formulated feed for cost feasibility. As the number of livestock and number of animal husbandries is rising per year, the demand for sunflower meal is anticipated to surge as well.