Dakota Farmer

Sunflower production to decrease

Sunflower Extra: Acres, production down in 2024

John Sandbakken, Executive director

May 31, 2024

3 Min Read
Windmill in sunflower field
2024 SEASON: According to USDA reports, planted sunflower acres are expected to drop 27% in 2024.Edwin Remsberg/Getty Images

According to the USDA, growers intend to plant 957,500 acres of sunflowers in 2024, down 27% from 2023. Using a trend yield, the initial estimate of 2024 U.S. sunflower production is pegged at 1.6 billion pounds, which would represent a decrease of 30% from last year.

Most of the reduction is anticipated in oil-type sunflowers, with intended acres at 804,000, down 31% from 2023. Based on intended acreage and using a trend yield, oil-type sunflower production may decline to 1.35 billion pounds in 2024, down 31% from last year.

Seed stocks were ample at the beginning of March and will give crushers some cushion next year if 2024 production turns out as expected. Non-oil sunflower acres are expected to remain equal to last year at about 153,500 acres. Assuming trend yields and good growing conditions, the 2024 output of non-oil-type sunflower is expected to result in increased export sales opportunities.

This season

In the current marketing year, the domestic crush of sunflower is expected to increase to 937 million pounds. Domestic sunflower oil consumption will continue to rise and reach 681 million pounds in 2023-24, with exports of sunflower oil predicted to be 85 million pounds. Meal usage is expected to expand to 518 million pounds.

Exports of sunflower seed, which includes confection in-shell seed and kernel, are expected to increase by 10% from 109 million to 120 million pounds, continuing the rebound in demand of the past two years. Bird food demand also is projected to increase slightly from the 2022-23 marketing year. Ending seed stocks are expected to move above the five-year average, but not to burdensome levels.

For 2024-25, global sunflower production is going to be a moving target depending on what actually gets planted in Ukraine this year. The war in Ukraine has left much uncertainty about what seed availability will be like this year and potentially in 2025, as well.

Ukraine was one of the major producers and exporters of sunflower oil, accounting for 50% of global sunflower oil trade. The events in Ukraine escalated an already-tight vegetable oil market. This conflict between Ukraine and Russia bears watching, as it has significantly increased the uncertainty of the agricultural supply and demand conditions in the region and globally.

Now that the South American oilseed harvest is finished, the attention of the oilseed market will shift to U.S. crop conditions and production prospects in the months ahead. Weather and demand news will be the main market factors across the sunflower-growing region.

New crop sunflower seed prices should remain firm in the months ahead, unless there is some pressure from lower prices in the soybean market during the first part of the marketing year. This can change dramatically over the course of the next few months depending upon the number of acres planted and yields achieved at harvest. Your one-stop shop to get answers to your sunflower production questions and to keep up with market news and prices is the NSA website at sunflowernsa.com. Follow on X @NatlSunflower.

Sandbakken is 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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