Producers in the Upper Midwest have completed planting of the 2019 sunflower crop and the crop looks to be off to a very good start.

There was still some planting being done of double crop sunflowers in the High Plains, but that should have wrapped up as well as of mid-July, according to John Sandbakken, executive director of the National Sunflower Association, writing in NSA’s weekly newsletter on July 22.

“In states reporting crop conditions, the crop is being rated at 75-81 percent good-to-excellent condition. This is comparable to last year at this same time,” Sandbakken said. “Above trend yields are expected if current crop conditions continue.”

Sunflowers are beginning to bloom across North Dakota with 12 percent in the blooming stage. The North Dakota crop looks good as well, with 78-percent of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition, 19 percent fair and 3 percent poor.

The sunflower crop in Minnesota looks very good tool with 83 percent rated in good-to-excellent condition and 17 percent fair.

Sandbakken noted that mid-August through September is the critical time frame for sunflowers so the market will be paying close attention to weather and growing conditions.

“Sunflower trading will be influenced by crop conditions and progress along with weather conditions,” he said.

Despite all the market turmoil this summer, prices have held up quite well with old and new crop finishing down 10 to up 10 cents for the week ending July 19.

“The sunflower market is reflecting supply and demand fundamentals for this time of year,” he said.

As of July 22 old crop NuSun prices at the Cargill crush plant in Fargo, N.D., were listed at $17.75 per hundredweight for delivery in August. At the ADM crush plant in Enderlin, N.D., NuSun prices for delivery in August were $17.65.

High oleic sunflower prices at Fargo were $18.10 for delivery in August, and at Enderlin high oleic prices were $17.95 for August delivery.

Looking at new crop prices, Sandbakken also noted out that NuSun new crop prices at Fargo were $17 cash and at Enderlin, new crop NuSun prices were listed at $17 cash and $16.50 with an Act of God clause.

High oleic 2019 new crop prices at Fargo were posted at $17.05 cash and at Enderlin were $17.20 cash and $16.70 with an AOG. High oleic new crop prices at Pingree, N.D., were $16.40 and $15.70 at Hebron, N.D.

The market is also keeping an eye on trade negotiations, or perhaps, the lack thereof.

“News was scant after negotiators from the U.S. and China spoke by phone for only the second time since the trade war truce at the end of June,” Sandbakken said. “Lack of Chinese buying of U.S. farm goods has been a key source of friction in trying to get the talks going again.”

As stated, the market will be watching crop condition/progress and the weather in the coming weeks although, Sandbakken noted, the weather hasn’t been much of a concern for Chicago Board of Trade traders so far this summer.

“The current stretch of hot temperatures across the Midwest hasn’t been much of a price factor as milder summer temperatures are expected to return and will be more crop friendly even though there is not much rain in the forecast for the next two weeks,” he concluded.

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