Sunflower prices at the crush plants ended the week mixed at down 5 to up 15 cents. Birdfood prices continued their trend upward this week. Sunflower harvest is getting close to wrapping up in the US. Most states are equal to or slightly ahead of the five-year average harvest pace per USDA. Yield reports continue to be inconsistent ranging from below average to above average depending on the area and weather conditions it experienced this year. In the past week, producers harvested an additional 135,240 acres pushing 2017 harvested acres to almost 1,017,100 acres. This represents 81% of this year’s projected harvested acres and is slightly ahead of the five-year average. Traders are expecting USDA will peg harvested acres in a range of 90-95% complete on Monday. 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 2018.
2018 new crop prices are starting to roll out as well. The Cargill crush plant is offering NuSun cash at $18.00 per cwt. and Act of God (AOG) contracts at $17.00. High Oleic contracts are being offered as well with cash at $18.25 and AOG at $17.25. ADM Enderlin is offering $18.15 cash contracts for NuSun and High Oleic. 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. An $18 contract would be $19.80 and $18.25 goes over $20.00.