April 22, 2022
According to USDA, growers intend to plant 1.42 million acres of sunflowers in 2022, up 10% from 2021. Compared with last year, growers in five of the eight major sunflower-producing states expect an increase in sunflower acreage this year.
The largest increase in planted area from last year is expected in North Dakota. Area intended for oil-type varieties, at 1.27 million acres, is up 8% from 2021, with non-oil varieties estimated at 142,000 acres, up 29% from last year.
The estimate for oil-type varieties was considerably lower than industry expectations. Oil crushers and bird food buyers were looking for a 20% to 25% increase in acres. Non-oil sunflower acres were in line with most traders’ thoughts.
USDA also reported sunflower stocks in all positions as of March 1. Seed stocks totaled 905 million pounds, down 16% from March 1, 2021. All stocks stored on farms totaled 316 million pounds, and off-farm stocks totaled 590 million pounds.
Stocks of oil-type sunflower seed were 779 million pounds, down 13% from March 1, 2021. Of this total, 277 million pounds are on-farm stocks and 502 million pounds are off-farm. Non-oil sunflower stocks totaled 126 million pounds, down 32% from last year at this time, with 39 million pounds stored on the farm and 87.5 million pounds stored off. Decreased stocks were expected by traders given last year’s overall lower production.
With lower-than-anticipated acres, diversifying market risk with some oil sunflower acres could be a good option in 2022. New-crop oil sunflower prices surpassed the previous record high of $30.50 in March and continue to trade at record highs with oil crushers offering Act of God and cash contracts. Keep in mind that oils also receive a 2% price premium for each 1% of oil content that is over 40%. At current new-crop prices, that can add significantly to the final price when delivered.
If there are any planting delays this year, another advantage to having late-season planted crops like sunflowers in your rotation is that they can be planted until late June. The final planting dates for crop insurance purposes for sunflowers vary by state and county:
North Dakota, June 10 or 15
South Dakota, June 15 or 20
Minnesota, June 15
After these dates, the coverage is reduced by only 1% per day. The actual final date that sunflowers can be planted is anywhere from 20 to 25 days after this date, depending on the county. Find the final planting date by county here.
There is still time to take advantage of the market opportunities that sunflowers can offer. Late-season planted crops like sunflowers can perform well, and markets will reward that production. To keep up with market news and prices, go to sunflowernsa.com. The National Sunflower Association website also has a link to buyers of oils, confections, hullers and bird food for contracting 2022 acres.
Sandbakken is executive director of the National Sunflower Association.
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