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Sunflower acreage increases in 2022

Sunflower Extra: Acreage was up from 2021 in five of the eight top states for sunflower production, with North Dakota leading the group.

John Sandbakken

July 27, 2022

3 Min Read
Field of sunflowers
RECORD PRICES: New-crop sunflower prices established record highs this spring, supported by tightening global vegetable oil supply concerns, as well as the murky outlook for Ukraine’s production.John Lamb/Getty Images

According to USDA, area planted to sunflowers in 2022 increased 29% from 2021 and totals 1.67 million acres. Harvested area for all types is expected to increase 29% from last year to 1.60 million acres.

Planted area of oil-type varieties, at 1.54 million acres, is up 31% from 2021. Harvested area for oil types is expected to increase 29% from last year to 1.49 million acres. Planted acreage of non-oil varieties, estimated at 123,000, is up 11% from last year. Harvested area is expected to increase 10% from last year to 114,700 acres.

Compared with last year, acreage increased in five of the eight major sunflower-producing states. The state with the largest increase from last year is North Dakota, where planted area increased 241,000 acres compared with last year. South Dakota also had a large increase compared with last year, with planted area up 82,000 acres from the previous year.

Initial estimates using trend yields peg oil-type sunflower production at 2.44 billion pounds, up 40% from last year, with confection sunflower production at 193 million pounds, up 16% from 2021.

Good news with record highs

The increase in acres was not a surprise to the market and welcome given current seed demand. New-crop sunflower prices established record highs this spring, supported by tightening global vegetable oil supply concerns, as well as the murky outlook for Ukrainian sunflower production.

This was the first report of planted acres, and these reports can change from month to month. Planting was still going on in some states when the survey was taken, so changes to planted acres will most likely occur. In the past five years, USDA has changed final planted and harvested sunflower acres significantly by the time the final crop production numbers were released at the end of the year.

In March, USDA reported stocks of oil-type sunflower seed were at 779 million pounds, down 13% from last year at the same time. Non-oil sunflower stocks totaled 126 million pounds, down 32% from last year. This level of stocks gave crushers, confection and bird food companies some cushion before new-crop arrival at the plants.

However, given the current excellent bird food and oil demand, sunflower seed stocks will be extremely tight by the end of September. This should keep old-crop prices firm, and there is a good likelihood that price premiums will be in place to encourage growers to desiccate and harvest early.

Now that the USDA report is factored into the market, buyers will anxiously watch crop production prospects before making longer-term purchases. Mid-August through September is the critical time frame for sunflowers.

So far this year, most sunflower acreage in the Dakotas and Minnesota has been rated in good-to-excellent condition. In October, USDA will provide an updated estimate for oil and non-oil sunflower production. This report and demand news will set the tone for new-crop sunflower price direction.

To keep up with market news and prices, go to sunflowernsa.com. Follow us on Twitter @NatlSunflower.

Sandbakken serves as the executive director of the National Sunflower Association and writes from Mandan, N.D.

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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