Total sunflower production is higher than the fall forecast

Sunflower prices at the crush plants ended the week mixed at down 5 cents to unchanged. Traders are digesting the recently released 2017 US sunflower production figures. Total sunflower production added up to 2.17 billion pounds, down 18 percent from 2016 but up 19 percent from the October forecast. Despite the drought in the Dakotas last year, sunflower yields in the United States were the third highest on record.

The U.S. average yield per acre of 1,613 pounds decreased 118 pounds from 2016. But in North Dakota, where many growers saw severe drought, the average yield declined only 80 pounds from 2016, to 1,636 pounds per acre. U.S. production of oil-type sunflower varieties, at 1.86 billion pounds, representing a decrease of 22 percent from 2016. Production of non-oil sunflower varieties was estimated at 312 million pounds, an increase of 10 percent from last year. The non-oil production estimate was within trade expectations but the oil-type figure exceeded industry estimates. The market now has a figure to work from when determining needs for 2018 acres.

Most crushers and processors are out with 2018 oil-type and confection contracts. The remaining companies should be out with new crop prices soon now that the 2017 crop size is known. On the CBoT traders are monitoring U.S. export demand, South American weather, world farmer sales and carryout levels. The dollar also remains a key force in the markets.