Sunflower meal is the by-product of the extraction of oil from sunflower seeds. In terms of production, it is the 4th most important oil meal after soybean meal, rapeseed meal and cottonseed meal. A wide variety of products are available on the market, from low-quality straw-like meals to high-quality flours. Sunflower meals can be made from whole or decorticated seeds, and can be mechanically and/or solvent-extracted. The quality of sunflower meal depends on the plant characteristics (seed composition, hulls/kernel ratio, dehulling potential, growth and storage conditions) and on the processing (dehulling, mechanical and/or solvent extraction). While solvent-extracted sunflower meal remains the main type of sunflower meal commercially available, oil-rich sunflower meals obtained by mechanical pressure only have become more popular since the 2000s, with the development of organic farming and on-farm oil production.
Sunflower meal is available worldwide. World production was estimated to 21.8.5 million tons in 2019. Ukraine and Russian federation are the main producers with respectively 6.3 and 5.1 million tons produced in 2019. The European Union (EU-27) is the 3rd producer with 4.8 million t in 2019. EU-27 also imported 3.4 million t sunflower meal in 2019.
Sunflower meal is the by-product of sunflower oil, which is an excellent livestock feed. A wide variety of products are available on the market, from low-quality straw-like meals to high-quality flours. It is usually graded and sold on based on its protein content. This meal can be made from whole or decorticated seeds.