As sunflower harvest was temporarily slowed due to recent snow events across the tri-state region, nearby prices were going up.

“Nearby prices at the crush plants were up 10-25 cents for the week (ending Oct. 23),” commented John Sandbakken, executive director of the National Sunflower Association, writing in NSA’s weekly newsletter on Oct. 26.

He added that new crop 2021 sunflower prices are out at the Cargill West Fargo crush plant with cash and Act of God (AOG) contracts available. Cash NuSun and high-oleic prices were both at $18.05 with AOG at $17.75 per hundredweight.

Looking at prices at the region’s crush plants, as of Oct. 26, NuSun sunflower was listed at $17.65 per hundredweight at Cargill in West Fargo, N.D., for delivery in November. The price at ADM in Enderlin, N.D., was $17.50, also for delivery in November.

High-oleic sunflower prices were $17.65 at West Fargo, and $17.70 at Enderlin for delivery in November.

Elsewhere in North Dakota, the price for high-oleic sunflower was listed at $16.40 at Hebron for delivery in November. The price was $17.10 at Pingree, also for delivery in November.

“Something else to consider is the oil premiums that crush plants pay on sunflower,” Sandbakken said.

He explained that sunflower is the only oilseed that pays premiums for oil content above 40 percent.

“Considering oil premiums that are offered at the crush plants on oil content above 40 percent at a rate of 2 percent price premium for each 1 percent of oil above 40 percent – this pushes a contract with 45 percent oil content gross return 10 percent higher per hundredweight,” he said. “The AOG $17.75 contract increases to $19.50 and the cash $18.05 contract moves up to $19.85.”

After a week of largely clear weather allowed sunflower harvest progress to advance 15 percent to 40 percent complete for the week ending Oct. 16, several snow events the following week in parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota did slow harvest for a few days. However, toward the end of the week, progress was picking up again. Overall, harvest progress remains about two weeks ahead of the five-year average and four weeks ahead of last year at this same time.

As of Oct. 26, sunflower harvest in Minnesota was nearly complete at 95 percent harvested, 45 days ahead of last year and 30 days ahead of normal. The average is 58 percent complete. Harvest is ahead of last year in the Dakotas, as well, with North Dakota sunflower harvest at 58 percent complete compared to the five-year average of 37 percent. Also, 57 percent of North Dakota's sunflower crop is rated in good-to-excellent condition.

In South Dakota, sunflower harvest was slightly ahead of average with 39 percent complete compared to 36 percent on average.

“Traders will be watching to see how much the snow disrupts harvest progress, affects yield, and crop quality,” Sandbakken concluded.