Sunflowers, Mid-September 2016

Recent strong prices in the sunflower seed market made for some active selling which, in turn, resulted in some pressure on prices.

In fact, prices at the crush plants for sunflower ended last week down 15-35 cents per hundredweight.

“Nearby sunflower prices have backed off somewhat as farmers have been very active sellers on the recent rally in seed prices at the crush plants,” commented John Sandbakken, executive director of the National Sunflower Association, in the weekly newsletter.

“Weaker CBoT (Chicago Board of Trade) soyoil prices have added resistance to sunflower prices,” he said, adding that despite last week’s price setback, sunflower prices continue to trade higher than the 60 day moving average at the crush plants.

Soon the market will be turning its attention toward sunflower harvest which is just around the corner, as well as cooperating weather. Many sunflower acres have already been desiccated and producers are just waiting for drier weather before they begin harvest. As of Sept. 12, USDA continued to rate the majority of the U.S. sunflower crop in good to excellent condition in all major production states.

In North Dakota, 73 percent of the crop was rated good/excellent with 23 percent rated fair and 6 percent poor/very poor. Twenty-two percent of the crop was considered mature, which compares to 12 percent at this time last year.

In Minnesota, 58 percent of the crop was in good/excellent condition and 37 percent fair, while in South Dakota the crop was rated 55 percent good/excellent and 38 percent fair.

In addition to watching weather forecasts and awaiting harvest, Sandbakken noted that CBoT traders were anxiously awaiting the next series of USDA reports that were released Sept. 12.

“Traders were expecting USDA to confirm recent private crop estimates and they did not disappoint as soybean production was raised 141 million bushels due to a higher yield forecast of 50.6 bushels per acre, which bumped production to 4.2 billion bushels, which would be a record,” Sandbakken said.

“USDA also increased new crop ending stocks from 330 million to 365 million bushels, more than was expected. This set a bearish tone at the CBoT for beans and products resulting in today’s losses.

“In the week ahead, the market will continue to trade the USDA September crop report and any actual yield reports from this year’s harvest.”

Earlier, USDA had raised their weekly soybean crop ratings for the U.S. which triggered fund selling as traders took off any remaining weather premium. USDA rated the crop 73 percent good to excellent versus 63 percent last year at this time.

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