Prices at the crush plants ended the week mixed at down 20 cents to up 20 cents. Sunflower harvest should be starting soon as many acres are maturing quickly and could be desiccated to begin harvest. Desiccating the crop for early harvest is a great way to stay ahead of potential bird damage. Based on the latest figures from the USDA Farm Service Agency crop acreage report, area planted to sunflower in 2018 decreased slightly from 2017. Using a trend yield, initial estimates peg the US sunflower crop at around 875,000 MT, which compares to last year’s total of 984,000 MT. If realized this level of production will create very tight ending stocks at the end of the 2018/19 marketing year. The US slapped tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, intensifying the trade spat. US importers of the Chinese products will face a 10 percent duty on the goods starting September 24 and rises to 25 percent on January 1, 2019. Chinese sunflower seeds and kernel are among the targeted products. The president has indicated that if China takes retaliatory action against US farmers or other industries, the US will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports. Tariffs have been issued on more than $250 billion in Chinese goods in total. Adding another $267 billion would cover essentially all Chinese exports to the US.
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.