May 8, 2018
U.S. sunflower acres will likely drop about 1% this year if the USDA planting intentions estimate holds up. USDA reports that farmers that farmers intend to plant 1.4 million fewer acres of sunflower in 2018 compared to 2017. In four of the eight major sunflower-producing states, sunflower acreage is expected be less than last year.
Area intended for oil-type varieties, at 1.2 million acres, is up 2% from 2017. Area intended for non-oil varieties, estimated at 150,000, is down 20% from last year.
The estimates for both types were lower than industry expectations. Oil crushers and bird food buyers were looking for a 10% to 15% increase; while non-oil acres were expected to be flat.
USDA reported that sunflower stocks on March 1 totaled 1.24 billion pounds, down 9% from March 2017. All stocks stored on farms totaled 546 million pounds, and off-farm stocks totaled 692 million pounds. Stocks of oil type sunflower seed were 1.05 billion pounds, down 2% from March 1, 2017; of this total, 482 million pounds are on-farm stocks and 565 million pounds are off-farm stocks. Non-oil sunflower stocks totaled 191 million pounds, down 34% from last year at this time, with 64 million pounds stored on the farm and 127 million pounds stored off the farm.
New and old crop sunflower prices have continued to move higher the past two months and are closely tracking CBoT soyoil values. This has pushed new crop prices $2.00 to $2.50 per cwt higher than last year at this same time.
Keep in mind that oil sunflowers 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. As of this writing, crushing plants are still offering new crop contracts that have Act of God production clauses as well.
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 sunflower vary by state and county.
In North Dakota, the final planting dates are either June 5 or June 10.
South Dakota’s is June 15 or June 20.
All of Minnesota is June 15.
Montana is June 10.
Kansas is June 25.
Colorado has three dates: June 15, June 20 and June 25.
Nebraska has two: June 15 and June 20.
Oklahoma and Texas have one date for summer plantings, June 25.
Wyoming’s dates are June 10 and June 15.
For your county’s final planting date see sunflowernsa.com/growers/crop-insurance.
After the final planting date, coverage is reduced by 1% per day. The actual final date that sunflowers can be planted is anywhere from 20 to 25 days after the crop insurance final planting date.
To keep up with market news and prices go to sunflowernsa.com. The NSA website also has a link to buyers on it for you to contact processors of oils, confections, hullers and bird food to contract 2018 acres.
Sandbakken is executive director of the National Sunflower Association.
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