The month of June was a good one for sunflower prices as they continued to climb upward.

“At the North Dakota crush plants sunflower prices continued their upward movement this week,” John Sandbakken, executive director of the National Sunflower Association, wrote in NSA’s weekly newsletter on June 24. “Old crop NuSun and high oleic prices ended the week unchanged to up 10 cents. New crop NuSun prices ended the week up 10-15 cents with high oleic up 15-20 cents.”

Sandbakken also noted that both old and new crop NuSun and high oleic sunflower prices in the High Plains were up 10 cents.

“In the past two weeks, old crop has gained in range of 10-35 cents with high oleic adding 10-30 cents as well,” he said. “New crop NuSun and high oleic contracts have added 10-30 cents during the same period.”

As of June 24, old crop NuSun prices at the Cargill crush plant in Fargo, N.D., were listed at $17.60 per hundredweight for delivery in July. At the ADM crush plant in Enderlin, N.D., NuSun prices for delivery in July were $17.45.

High oleic sunflower prices at Fargo were $17.90 for delivery in July, and at Enderlin high oleic prices were $17.75 for July delivery.

Looking at new crop prices, Sandbakken also noted that NuSun new crop prices at Fargo were $16.65 cash and $16.15 with an Act of God (AOG) clause. At Enderlin, new crop NuSun prices were listed at $16.40 cash and $15.90 with an AOG.

High oleic 2019 new crop prices at Fargo were posted at $16.85 cash and $16.35 with an AOG. High oleic new crop prices at Enderlin were $16.95 cash and $16.45 with an AOG. High oleic new crop prices at Pingree, N.D., were $16.15 and $15.45 at Hebron, N.D.

All the commodity markets, including sunflower, were anticipating USDA’s release on June 28 of the 2019 final planted acreage report as well as the quarterly stocks report for further direction.

“The acreage figures will necessitate careful consideration on the part of the trade because they will be based on surveys from the first two weeks of June,” Sandbakken noted. “With this season’s difficult planting conditions, uncertainty remains about how many acres farmers will plant this year, with some fields switched from corn and others too wet to plant.

“Yield drag could also be an issue that’s even harder for traders to assess,” he added.

Traders, as well as producers, will also be watching for news about U.S./China trade talks. After negotiations broke down over a month ago, President Xi of China and U.S. President Trump are scheduled to meet at the upcoming G2-Summit to discuss the ongoing trade war. U.S. chief negotiators will be meeting with their Chinese counterparts just before the meeting to set up some talking points on the key issues.

“Speculation on the outcome of this meeting and position squaring ahead of USDA’s acreage report will guide the market (this) week,” Sandbakken said.

On the product side, as of June 24 sunflower planting was complete in Minnesota, and producers in other reporting states made good progress as well. North Dakota producers were 93 percent finished with planting and in South Dakota planting was 82 percent complete. In North Dakota, 77 percent of the state's crop was reported emerged.

Sandbakken also pointed out that sunflower is included in the plan for 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments announced earlier.

According to USDA, “payment will be based on a single county rate for all covered commodities multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to all crops in aggregate in 2019. The per acre payments are not dependent on the crops that are planted in 2019 to not influence planting decisions. Each county will be assigned an MFP payment rate based on historical production.”

Information on payment rates was not released when USDA announced the program.

“All growers in a county will receive the same rate, regardless of the eligible crop grown. Payments will be based on reported planted acres for 2019 which cannot exceed 2018 plantings,” he said.