Sunflower markets end the week mixed

Sunflower prices at the crush plants ended the week down 5 cents to unchanged. According to the September USDA Farm Service Agency crop acreage report, area planted to sunflower in 2018 decreased 8 percent from 2017 and totals 1.29 million acres. Planted area of oil type varieties, at 1.17 million acres, is down 5 percent from 2017. Planted acreage of non-oil varieties, estimated at 131,000 acres, is down 30 percent from last year. If realized this level of planted acreage will create very tight ending stocks at the end of the 2018/19 marketing year. USDA will release its first estimate of harvested sunflower acres and production in October. Big crops keep getting bigger, according to USDA’s latest soybean yield estimates. USDA expects farmers to harvest an average 52.8 bushels per acre, putting production at 4.69 billion bushels. Both figures were in line with pre-report expectations. Ending soybean stocks were also increased to 845 million bushels versus, the average trade estimate of 830 million bushels and the USDA’s August estimate of 785 million bushels. This and China’s announcement that it would slash bean meal imports further set a negative tone in the market last week. The US-China trade war continues to stay on the minds of traders making it difficult for the market to rally. Sunflower harvest should be starting soon as many acres are maturing quickly and could be desiccated to begin harvest.