The USDA estimate for 2018 US sunflower production has been released. Total production was pegged at 2.12 billion pounds, down 1 percent from 2017. The U.S. average yield per acre of 1,731 pounds increased 128 pounds from 2017. The average yield was a record high for the US. Planted area, at 1.30 million acres, was 7 percent below the previous year.
Area harvested decreased 8 percent from 2017 to 1.22 million acres.
South Dakota was the number one producing state at 975 million pounds, a decrease of 4 percent from 2017. Compared with 2017, planted area in South Dakota decreased 8 percent but yield increased 105 pounds to 1,840 pounds per acre. Production in North Dakota increased 5 percent primarily due to average yield, which increased 6 percent from the previous year. The average yield in North Dakota increased 95 pounds from 2017 to 1,760 pounds per acre. U.S. production of oil-type sunflower varieties, at 1.90 billion pounds, increased 3 percent from 2017. Compared with the previous year, harvested acres were down 6 percent but the average yield increased by 144 pounds to 1,726 pounds per acre. Production of nonoil sunflower varieties was estimated at 220 million pounds, a decrease of 24 percent from 2017.
Area harvested, at 123,500 acres, was down 25 percent from 2017. The average yield increased by 31 pounds from 2017 to 1,781 pounds per acre and represented the second highest yield on record for non-oil varieties.
The sunflower market, as well as the soybean market and other commodities, were hoping for some positive news coming from the recent trade talks between the U.S. and China and it looks like they may have got some.
“After the U.S./China trade talks this week President Trump announced that China would be making another 5 million metric ton purchase of U.S. soybeans in coming weeks,” said John Sandbakken, executive director of the National Sunflower Association, in NSA’s weekly newsletter on Feb. 4. “Unfortunately, the issues of intellectual property theft and technology transfer were not addressed.
“Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT) traders were happy with the sales announcement, but stated that until those points are addressed, the trade war will drag on,” he added.
Nearby sunflower prices ended the week mixed at down 5 to up 5 cents.
At the Cargill plant in Fargo, NuSun prices were listed at $16.90 per hundredweight on Feb. 4 for February delivery and $17.05 for delivery in March. Prices at ADM in Enderlin were $16.65 for delivery in February and $16.90 for March delivery.
High oleic sunflower prices at Fargo were listed at $17 for February delivery and $17.45 for delivery in March. Prices at Enderlin were $17.25 for February delivery and $17.40 for delivery in March.
The 2019 new crop prices at the North Dakota crush plants were unchanged to up 10 cents. New crop NuSun contract prices for 2019 at Fargo were listed at $17.25 cash and $16.75 with an AOG clause. At Enderlin, NuSun new crop prices were posted at $16.90 cash and $16.40 with an AOG.
High oleic new crop contracts for 2019 were $17.35 cash and $16.85 with an AOG at Fargo, and $17.50 cash and $17 with an AOG at Enderlin.
The bird food market remained rather quiet and prices were unchanged as well.
Sandbakken pointed out that on Feb. 1, the USDA Risk Management Agency began the discovery process in determining 2019 crop insurance price elections for sunflower.
‘Producers have the option of choosing Yield Protection, Revenue Protection, and Revenue Protection with the Harvest Price Exclusion,” Sandbakken said. “All three policies have the same price election.”
He said producers should watch the 2019 CBoT December soy oil contract during the month of February to follow the direction for sunflower price elections. Final price elections will be announced in early March.
With the U.S. government “open for business” again, traders are receiving USDA data once again, he noted.
“But its usefulness is somewhat limited until data sets get current which will take until the end of the month,” Sandbakken said.
In the meantime, U.S. export demand and South American weather will be the main market movers in the near term, he added.