Sunflower markets

Sunflower prices were unchanged to up 10 cents a week ago at the crush plants. Nearby birdfood prices have remained firm since last month. According to the September USDA Farm Service Agency crop acreage report, area planted to sunflower in 2020 increased 22% from 2019 and totals 1.65 million acres. Planted area of oil type varieties, at 1.46 million acres, is up 22% from 2019. Planted acreage of non-oil varieties, estimated at 192,800 acres, is up 25% from last year. 2020 U.S. sunflower production is still undetermined and will not be known until this fall. The freeze that occurred a week ago in the Dakotas and Minnesota could affect yields in the most important production states. Initial estimates of total oil and non-oil sunflower production before the freeze occurred was in a range of 2.2 to 2.4 billion pounds, which is about 25% higher than last year’s crop. In October, USDA will provide its first estimate for oil and non-oil sunflower production. Traders will be keen to see how USDA factors in any potential effect of the freeze into the production numbers. This report along with actual harvest reports will set the tone for new crop sunflower price direction in the near term. Getting the crop harvested several weeks early can result in lower drying costs, plus reduces late season crop and blackbird damage.