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. CBoT soy oil contracts ended the week weaker on price pressure from a potential build in world vegetable oil stocks in 2017/18. This resulted in sunflower prices at the crush plants ended the week down 10 to 35 cents. Based on the latest figures from the USDA Farm Service Agency crop acreage report, area planted to sunflower in 2017 decreased 16 percent from 2016 and totals 1.33 million acres. Planted area of oil type varieties, at 1.17 million acres, is down 17 percent from 2016. Planted acreage of non-oil varieties, estimated at 156,000 acres, is down 12 percent from last year. Using a trend yield would peg the US sunflower crop at around 800,000 MT, which compares to last year’s total of 1.2 million metric tons (MMT). If realized this level of production will create very tight ending stocks at the end of the 2017/18 marketing year. The biggest unknown is the drought impact on production in the Dakotas, the largest sunflower producers. A significant drop off in yield will impact the market. USDA will release its final acreage and production estimates in January.