Bird food buyers and crushers were in competition for old crop sunflower in mid-July and that helped prices.

“The sunflower market continues to reflect supply and demand fundamentals for this time of year with bird food buyers and crushers competing for remaining old crop seed stocks,” according to John Sandbakken, NSA executive director, commenting in the National Sunflower Association (NSA) July 20 newsletter. “Bird food prices at some locations gained an additional $1-$1.50 per hundredweight this week with prices trading at $26.50-$27 in South Dakota and as much as $28 in North Dakota.

“Old crop NuSun and high-oleic prices were unchanged at the crush plants this week,” he added.

Looking at regional prices at the crush plants, as of July 20 NuSun sunflower was listed at $19.25 per hundredweight for delivery in August at ADM in Enderlin, N.D., and $18.75 at Cargill in West Fargo, N.D. The October price at both Enderlin and West Fargo was $16.80.

High-oleic prices were $19.55 at Enderlin for August delivery, while at West Fargo the price for delivery in August was $19. Both ADM at Enderlin and Cargill at West Fargo were offering $17 for October delivery of high-oleic sunflower.

Elsewhere in North Dakota, October high-oleic prices at Pingree were $16.50 cash, while ADM in Hebron, N.D., was offering $15.80.

According to Sandbakken, planting of the 2020 sunflower crop is complete in most states, although some double-crop sunflowers were still being planted in the High Plains, but that should have wrapped up, as well.

In states reporting crop conditions, most of the crop is being rated in good-to-excellent condition. In North Dakota, 66 percent of the crop is rated in good-to-excellent condition, with 32 percent fair and 2 percent poor. In Minnesota 67 percent is rated good-to-excellent with 25 percent fair and 8 percent poor-to-very poor.

“It is a different story in Colorado where drought is affecting crop conditions,” Sandbakken noted, adding that overall, trend yields are expected if current crop conditions continue.

“Mid-August through September is the critical time frame for sunflowers. Weather has not been much of a concern for Chicago Board of Trade traders so far this summer,” he continued. “The current stretch of hot temperatures across the Midwest has not been much of a price factor as traders eye more rain and milder temperatures forecast for the Midwest.”

On the demand side, Sandbakken also noted that China has been on a buying spree of soybeans and corn to meet the commitments in Phase One of the trade agreement between the U.S. and China.

“Traders are watching diplomatic developments between the U.S. and China as any signs of fallout could lead to sales cancellations,” he said.