Sunflower prices at the crush plants ended the week unchanged. Birdfood prices continue to see little movement in either direction. Sunflower harvest continues to slowly move along in the US. Most states are trailing the five-year average harvest pace per USDA. Wet and below normal cold weather has hampered harvest progress in the largest production area of the Dakotas and Minnesota. In the past week, producers harvested an additional 103,000 acres pushing 2018 harvested acres to almost 711,000 acres. This represents 62% of this year’s projected harvested acres and is behind the five-year average. Last year at this time 81% of the crop was harvested. Yields are being reported in the 1,500-2,800 pound range with some reports over 3,500 pounds. Seed quality remains generally very good. On the CBoT, traders are concerned about US soybean export demand and a mostly favorable South America weather outlook. This has led to choppy trade on most days. With the USDA November production estimate in the market and harvest wrapping up in the Northern Hemisphere attention will continue to be more focused on demand news and to South America's oilseed production prospects. For most commodities, producer selling will likely slow down given current pricing unless storage is an issue with the hope of a rally occurring later this year or early 2019.
The price discovery period is complete for USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Harvest Prices for revenue insurance policies for sunflower. The harvest price per pound for oil-type sunflowers should be 15.5 cents and confection sunflowers at 21.7 cents. The spring prices were 17.5 cents for oils and 23.7 cents for confections. Given the drop between the spring and fall prices producers should contact their local crop insurance agent to see if they are eligible for an indemnity payment due to loss in revenue even if they have reached their proven yield.
2019 new crop sunflower prices are out at the ND crush plants with cash and Act of God (AOG) contracts available. Something else to consider is the oil premiums that crush plants pay on sunflower. Sunflower is the only oilseed that pays premiums for oil content above 40%. Considering oil premiums that are offered at the crush plants on oil content above 40% at a rate of 2% price premium for each 1% of oil above 40%; this pushes a contract with 45% oil content gross return 10% higher per cwt. The AOG $16.50 contract increases to $18.15 and the cash $17.00 contract moves up to $18.70.