Sunflower

With everything that’s been taking place across the country recently, including the coronavirus world pandemic, tough economic times, high unemployment, and more recently, national and global protests, the fact that sunflower prices have remained firm of late is positive news.

Commenting in the National Sunflower Association (NSA) June 8 newsletter, John Sandbakken, NSA executive director, said new crop NuSun and high-oleic prices have been firm the past three weeks, remaining unchanged.

“Nearby and new crop NuSun nearby prices are trading $1.85-$2.35, with high-oleic $1.70-$2.25 per hundredweight higher than a year ago at this same time,” Sandbakken said. Looking at regional prices at the crush plants, as of June 8, NuSun sunflower was listed at $19.55 per hundredweight for delivery in June at both ADM in Enderlin, N.D., and at Cargill in West Fargo, N.D. The July delivery price at Enderlin was $19 while at West Fargo the July delivery price was $18.40.

New crop NuSun prices for 2020 were $16.90 cash at West Fargo, while Enderlin was offering $16.80 cash.

High-oleic prices were $19.80 at West Fargo for June delivery, while at Enderlin the price for delivery in June was $19.75. ADM at Enderlin was offering $19.30 for July delivery of high-oleic sunflower while at Cargill in West Fargo the price for delivery in July was $18.70.

West Fargo was offering $17.10 for 2020 new crop high-oleic sunflower in October, while Enderlin’s new crop October price was $17. Elsewhere in North Dakota, new crop high-oleic prices at Pingree were $16.50 cash, while ADM in Hebron, N.D., was offering $15.80.

Sandbakken also pointed out that planting progress in the High Plains states is continuing at a good clip.

“Sunflower planting continues in all states and is slightly ahead of last year at this same time, but remains behind the five-year average in the Dakotas and Minnesota,” he said.

Planting is nearly finished in Minnesota, where 95 percent of the sunflower crop is reported planted, slightly ahead of the five-year average of 92 percent. Meanwhile, North Dakota reports 60 percent of the crop planted, which is behind the average of 78 percent. Elsewhere, South Dakota producers have 45 percent of the sunflower crop planted, which is just above the average of 41 percent.

During the first week of June, “producers made excellent progress and planted an additional 272,350 acres, pushing 2020 planted acres to about 506,000 acres,” he said. “This represents 34 percent of this year’s projected planted acres and is behind the five-year average of 46 percent.”

Drier and warmer than normal weather forecasts for the Dakotas and Minnesota should allow for good planting progress.

On the demand side, sunflower oil exports to Canada continue to increase, Sandbakken noted. From October 2019 to April 2020, Canada has imported 14,234 metric tons (MT) of sunflower oil. That’s almost 2,000 MT more than the 12,264 MT imported from October 2018 to April 2019. Total sun oil exports from October 2019 to April 2020 were 25,757 MT, compared to 27,138 MT during the same time period a year ago.

Exports of sunflower kernel are down slightly from a year ago, from 3,176 MT from October 2018 to April 2019 to 2,715 MT from October 2019 to April 2020.

“Canada remained the top importer of U.S. sunflower kernel, importing 1,586 MT from October 2018 to April 2019,” he said, also noting that in-shell exports are down from 20,626 MT from October 2019 to April 2020 compared to 11,253 MT from October 2019 to April 2020. Spain remains the top importer of U.S. in-shell sunflower, importing 6,645 MT from October 2019 to April 2020.

“On the Chicago Board of Trade, commodities have been trading higher on optimism about demand as the U.S. dollar continued to weaken, making U.S. products more attractive to overseas buyers,” Sandbakken said. “Traders are also are keeping an eye on U.S.-China trade relations. China has told state-owned firms to halt purchases of soybeans, pork, corn, and cotton from the United States.

“Despite this announcement some purchases have occurred leaving traders to think this just another case of saber rattling in the long running trade tiff,” he concluded.