With sunflower harvest just getting started in some parts of the region, the ADM crush plant in Enderlin, N.D., came out with 2021 new crop sunflower prices with cash contracts available.

NuSun is at $17.75 per hundredweight with high-oleic at $18, according to John Sandbakken, National Sunflower Association (NSA) executive director, commenting in the Sept. 28 NSA newsletter.

Nearby prices at the crush plants were mostly unchanged from the week before. As of Sept. 28, old crop NuSun prices were listed at $16.90 per hundredweight for delivery in October at both the Cargill crush plant in West Fargo, N.D., and at the ADM crush plant in Enderlin, N.D.

Looking at high-oleic sunflower prices, Enderlin was paying $17.10 per hundredweight and West Fargo $17.05 for October delivery. October high-oleic prices at Pingree, N.D., were listed at $16.60, while prices at Hebron, N.D., were listed at $15.90.

Sandbakken noted that something else for producers to consider is the oil premiums that crush plants pay on sunflower, as 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 explained. “The $17.75 contract increases to $19.50 and the cash $18 contract moves up to $19.80.”

As for this year’s sunflower crop, it continues to mature at a rapid rate. Sunflower development is well ahead of last year in North Dakota, where 62 percent was reported to be mature the week ending Sept. 25. That compares to 31 percent mature at this time last year and 56 percent for the five-year average.

In North Dakota 51 percent of this year’s sunflower crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition, with 32 percent rated fair and 17 percent poor-to-very poor. In Minnesota 77 percent of the crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition, 17 percent fair and 7 percent poor-to-very poor.

It was noted in the NSA newsletter that sunflower harvest is underway in the Dakotas and Minnesota, with North Dakota reporting 6 percent of the crop harvested, South Dakota 2 percent and Minnesota 7 percent.

“The weather forecast for the next two weeks is predicting drier than normal moisture conditions in the sunflower growing region,” Sandbakken said. “This bodes well for crop dry down and an earlier than normal start to harvest.”

Looking ahead, USDA will give its first estimate of 2020 sunflower production in October.

“Trading in the week ahead will focus on the USDA Grain Stocks report. Traders are expecting sunflower stocks to be down significantly from a year ago,” he concluded.