Sunflower markets

Sunflower By Barbara Austin, St. John, Kansas.

Tough field and road conditions after rain and snow events had slowed harvest in the northern Plains. Fortunately, a pattern change in the past seven days to warmer and drier conditions has benefited the remaining harvest. Harvest progress advanced 9% to 78% complete for the week ending Nov. 19.

In the past week, producers harvested an additional 113,000 acres pushing 2023 harvested acres to about 937,500 acres. Last year at this same time about 94% of acres were harvested. Harvest progress is equal to the five-year average. Nearby prices at the crush plants were unchanged this week but are facing seed supplies that are burdensome at this time.

Last year’s crop was huge and the 2023 yield is looking to be one of the best as well. Crop quality remains very good, and yields have been above expectations in most cases. Supplies are big despite smaller planted sunflower acres in 2023. The market needs time to use up the ample seed supply and this is being reflected in the significant price spread between nearby and deferred contracts. Given the current price scenario a good strategy may be to put the seed in the bin for now and look at delivering it down the road.

Something else to consider is the oil premiums that crush plants pay on sunflowers. Add on the premium for oil content above 40% at a rate of 2% price premium for each 1% of oil above 40% when making marketing decisions.