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2023 U.S. sunflower production down 19%

Sunflower Extra: North Dakota maintains top sunflower-producing state in 2023.

John Sandbakken

January 23, 2024

2 Min Read
sunflower field
RECORD YEAR: North Dakota remains the leading sunflower-producing state in the country for 2023, with a yield increase of 77 pounds per acre. South Dakota’s yield, on the other hand, decreased 36 pounds per acre.John Lamb/Getty Images

According to USDA, 2023 sunflower production totaled 2.26 billion pounds, down 19% from 2022. The U.S. average yield per acre of 1,786 pounds increased 30 pounds from 2022. Planted area at 1.32 million acres was 22% below the previous year. Area harvested decreased 21% from 2022 to 1.27 million acres.

North Dakota maintained its status as the leading sunflower-producing state during 2023, with total production of 1.12 billion pounds, a decrease of 16% from 2022. Compared with 2022, planted area in North Dakota decreased 20%, but yield increased 77 pounds to 1,998 pounds per acre.

Meanwhile, production in South Dakota decreased 25% from 2022 to 817 million pounds. Planted acreage in South Dakota at 495 thousand acres decreased 36% from the previous year. The average yield in South Dakota decreased 36 pounds from 2022 to 1,710 pounds per acre.

Acres down, yields up

USDA estimated U.S. production of oil-type sunflower varieties at 1.97 billion pounds representing a decrease of 23% from 2022. Harvested acres were down 23%, but the average yield increased by 2 pounds to 1,747 pounds per acre and represents the second-highest yield on record for the U.S.

For the second year in a row, the average yield for oil-type sunflower varieties in North Dakota set a record high. Production of confection sunflower varieties was estimated at 297 million pounds, an increase of 23% from 2022. Area harvested at 142,000 acres was up 11% from 2022. The average yield increased by 206 pounds from 2022 to a record high of 2,090 pounds per acre. The 2023 average yields for confection sunflower varieties in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota were record highs.

In its January grain stocks report, USDA pegged old-crop sunflower stocks in all positions at 365 million pounds, up 24% from a year ago. All stocks stored on farms totaled 142.6 million pounds, and off-farm stocks totaled 223.3 million pounds.

Stocks of oil-type sunflower seed are 340 million pounds. Of this total, 137 million pounds are on-farm stocks, and 203.2 million pounds are off-farm stocks. USDA left old-crop oil-type sunflower stocks unchanged from its September report.

Oil-type sunflower seed stocks are 53% higher than last year and were in line with trade expectations. Old-crop non-oil sunflower stocks were lowered by 1.3 million pounds from the September report. Non-oil sunflower stocks totaled 25.7 million pounds, with 5.6 million pounds stored on the farm and 20.1 million pounds stored off the farm. Non-oil stocks are down 64% from last year and in line with industry estimates.

The main market mover from April onward will be USDA’s March Prospective Plantings report. New-crop sunflower prices are out as crushers and confection processors are offering 2024 production contracts. Another thing to consider is that with sunflower contracts, you have the Act of God clause, which is helpful to lock in a profitable price and reduce some risk. To keep up with price movement, visit sunflowernsa.com.

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About the Author(s)

John Sandbakken

Executive director, National Sunflower Association

John Sandbakken of Mandan, N.D., has been the executive director of the National Sunflower Association since 2012. Before his current post, he was NSA's international marketing director for 16 years.

The National Sunflower Association is a combination of United States sunflower growers and industry members. NSA is a nonprofit organization working in the areas of market development, education, production and utilization research.

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