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Sunflower prices slip following USDA reports


Sunflower prices at the regional crush plants slipped some in mid-January following the release of several reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Nearby prices were down 55 cents to unchanged this week,” commented John Sandbakken, executive director of the National Sunflower Association, writing in the Jan. 18 NSA newsletter.

“2022 new crop NuSun and high-oleic contracts were down 35-55 cents at the North Dakota crush plants with the High Plains unchanged.”

As of Jan. 18, NuSun prices were listed at $31.70 per hundredweight for delivery in January and February at the ADM crush plant in Enderlin, N.D. At the Cargill crush plant in West Fargo, N.D., the price was $30 for delivery in January and February.

Prices for high-oleic sunflower at Cargill in West Fargo were $32.40 per hundredweight for delivery in January and $32.30 for delivery in February. ADM in Enderlin was offering $31.90 for high-oleic sunflower delivered in January and February.

Contracts for 2022 new crop NuSun and high-oleic sunflower were also posted. For 2022 new crop NuSun sunflower, the Cargill West Fargo crush plant was offering 2022 new crop contracts of $26.50 cash and $26 with an Act of God clause (AOG). The ADM plant in Enderlin was offering $26.30 cash and $25.80 with an AOG.

For high-oleic sunflower, the Cargill West Fargo plant was offering $27 cash and $26.50 with an AOG. The ADM Enderlin plant posted new crop prices of $26.55 cash and $26.05 with an AOG.

One of the reports released by USDA in January included its latest estimate of the 2021 U.S. sunflower crop.

“The impact of this year’s drought showed up in USDA’s production estimate as sunflower production totaled 1.90 billion pounds, down 36 percent from 2020,” Sandbakken said.

The average yield per acre for the U.S. sunflower crop was 1,530 pounds, a decrease of 260 pounds from the 2020 crop.

Other highlights from the report regarding the 2021 sunflower crop included 1.29 million planted acres which was 25 percent below the previous year.

“The area harvested also decreased 25 percent from 2020 to 1.24 million acres,” he said.

Production of oil-type sunflower varieties in the U.S. totaled 1.74 billion pounds, according to the USDA report. That’s a decrease of 34 percent from 2020.

“Compared with last year, harvested acres were down 22 percent and the average yield decreased by 279 pounds with a yield of 1,523 pounds per acre,” he noted.

USDA estimated production of confection sunflower varieties at 167 million pounds. That is a decrease of 54 percent from the previous year. Also, harvested area was pegged at 104,300 acres, down 51 percent from 2020. Comparing the 2021 crop to 2020, the report showed that average yield decreased by 109 pounds down to 1,602 pounds per acre.

“In its grain stocks report, USDA increased old crop non-oil sunflower stocks in all positions by 4.9 million pounds, up 5 percent from its September grain stocks report,” he said, adding that USDA increased old crop oil-type sunflower stocks slightly by 2.0 million pounds.

One other thing that sunflower producers should consider is the oil premiums that crush plants pay on sunflower for oil content above 40 percent. The crush plants offer oil premiums on oil content above 40 percent at a rate of 2 percent price premium for each 1 percent of oil above 40 percent. That means that on a contract with 45 percent oil content the gross return would get pushed 10 percent higher per hundredweight. An AOG $26.30 contract increases to $29, and the cash $27.30 contract moves up to $30.

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