Sunflower prices continue to move upward gaining 5 cents this week at the crush plants. This is the fourth week in row with positive price gains for old crop prices. Sunflower planting is wrapped up in North Dakota and Minnesota with South Dakota finishing soon. Planting is moving along in the High Plains states at or close to the five-year average in most states. Next week USDA will release its latest planted acres report. Traders are anxious to confirm thoughts of a decrease in corn and wheat acres with soybeans showing an increase from 2016 levels. There also continues to be rumors that USDA could look at the lack of prevent plant acres especially in North Dakota versus what they accounted for in the March intentions report and could make some acreage adjustments based on this. In the past week, a larger area of the US sunflower production region has slid into a moderate to severe drought situation with some areas now considered in extreme drought conditions. There appears to be some relief in sight as the 6-10-day weather forecast expects above normal precipitation for the Northern Plains with normal to below normal temperatures. Next week traders will be positioning themselves ahead of the USDA planted acres and stocks reports. Weather forecasts and crop condition ratings will also remain top mind for traders in the week ahead.
Cash and Act of God (AOG) contracts are still available. 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 $16.60 contract with 45% oil content gross return 10% higher per cwt and would raise the cash price to $18.26. An AOG contract at $16.10 per hundredweight to $17.71.