Dakota Farmer

Sunflower production rebounds after 2021 drought

Sunflower Extra: U.S. average yield per acre of 1,750 pounds increased 221 pounds from 2021.

John Sandbakken

January 25, 2023

2 Min Read
sunflowers in a field
A SURVIVOR: Severe to extreme drought conditions reduced sunflower yields across the region in 2021, but production is expected to rebound to record highs this season.Mike Powles/Getty Images

Sunflower production rebounded after severe to extreme drought conditions reduced yields in the Dakotas and Minnesota in 2021. According to USDA, 2022 sunflower production totaled 2.81 billion pounds, up 48% from 2021.

U.S. average yield per acre of 1,750 pounds increased 221 pounds from 2021. Planted area at 1.69 million acres was 31% above the previous year, while area harvested increased 29% from 2021 to 1.61 million acres.

North Dakota regained its status as the leading sunflower producing state during 2022, with total production of 1.34 billion pounds, an increase of 76% from 2021. Compared with 2021, planted area in North Dakota increased 45% and yield increased 340 pounds to 1,921 pounds per acre.

Meanwhile, production in South Dakota increased 32% from 2021 to 1.08 billion pounds. Planted acreage in South Dakota at 652 thousand acres increased 25% from the previous year. The average yield in South Dakota increased 114 pounds from 2021 to 1,746 pounds per acre.

USDA estimated domestic production of oil-type sunflower varieties at 2.57 billion pounds, representing an increase of 48% from 2021. Harvested acres were up 30% and the average yield increased by 216 pounds to 1,739 pounds per acre and represents the second-highest yield on record for the U.S.

Record-high yields

The average yield for oil-type sunflower varieties in Minnesota and North Dakota were both record highs. Production of confection sunflower varieties was estimated at 241 million pounds, an increase of 44% from 2021. Area harvested at 128,000 acres was up 23% from 2021.

The average yield increased by 278 pounds from 2021 to a record-high 1,880 pounds per acre. The 2022 average yield for confection sunflower varieties in California, North Dakota and Texas were records.

In its grain stocks report, USDA lowered old-crop oil-type sunflower stocks in all positions by 232,000 pounds from its September grain stocks report. Old crop non-oil sunflower stocks were left unchanged from the September report.

The grain stocks report was in line with trade expectations for both crops, while the sunflower market has been following the trend of stronger oil values.

Oil stocks are tighter than a year ago. Concerns for palm oil production this year exist due to pandemic-related labor shortages reducing overall production. This scenario looks promising for high oil-content seeds such as sunflower.

The main market mover from April onward will be USDA's March Prospective Plantings report. Trade expectations about planted acreage will likely be in a wide range, but it seems reasonable to expect corn and soybean acreage to increase and spring wheat to show a decrease over 2022 levels.

New-crop sunflower prices are penciling out well, as crushers and confection processors are out with attractive 2023 production contracts. Another consideration is sunflower contracts contain an Act-of-God clause, which locks in a profitable price and reduces some risk.

To keep up with price movement, go to sunflowernsa.com. Follow us on Twitter @NatlSunflower.

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

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