Bird food buyers and crushers are continuing to look for old crop sunflower and the competition is pushing the market.

“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,” commented John Sandbakken, executive director of the National Sunflower Association, writing in NSA’s weekly newsletter on Aug. 3.

“South Dakota bird food prices continued their upward movement (for the week ending July 31), gaining an additional $1.50 per hundredweight at some locations with others unchanged,” he said, adding that bird food bids were trading at $28-$30 in South Dakota. In North Dakota, bird food prices were as high as $28, but then fell 50 cents to unchanged and were trading for around $27.50.

But while bird food prices are rising, it’s a different story at the crush plants. Sandbakken explained that the old crop price premium evaporated and prices transitioned to new crop levels.

“There is very little old crop seed left to trade and the recent surge in bird food prices reflects this,” he said.

Looking at prices at the region’s crush plants, as of Aug. 3, NuSun sunflower was listed at $16.70 per hundredweight at Cargill in West Fargo, N.D., and $16.60 at ADM in Enderlin, N.D., for delivery in both August and September. Those prices were also good for October.

High-oleic sunflower prices were $16.90 at West Fargo, and $16.80 at Enderlin for delivery in Au-gust, September and October.

Elsewhere in North Dakota, the price for October high-oleic sunflower was listed at $15.60 at Car-gill in Hebron.

Sandbakken also explained that, on a positive note, the U.S. dollar has dropped to its lowest level in almost two years against a basket of major currencies, as this makes U.S. agriculture products more competitive on the world export market.

“According to currency traders, the dollar is likely to weaken further following this week’s FOMC meeting, even if the Federal Reserve holds current policy,” he said, adding that commodity traders are starting to get into position for USDA’s August crop reports.

“Aug. 12 will be a huge day for commodity markets as USDA will release its latest supply and demand reports and first report of FSA certified acres,” he said. “The FSA figures will be compared to the USDA June acreage report and will give the market a better idea of what got planted this year. This data and weather conditions will guide traders in the coming weeks.”

Looking at the 2020 sunflower crop in North Dakota and Minnesota, most of the crop is being rated in good-to-excellent condition. In North Dakota, 76 percent is in good-to-excellent condition and 54 percent of the crop is blooming, right on par with the five-year average. In Minnesota, 75 per-cent of the crop is rated in good-to-excellent condition.

However, it’s a different story for the sunflower crop in Colorado, where drought is affecting crop conditions.

“Overall, trend yields are expected if current crop conditions continue,” Sandbakken said, adding that the next two months will be a critical time for sunflowers.

“Weather has not been much of a concern for Chicago Board of Trade traders so far this summer,” he said. “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.”

He also noted that traders are watching diplomatic developments between the U.S. and China, as any signs of fallout could lead to sales cancellations. China has been on a buying spree of soy-beans and corn in recent weeks.