Sunflower prices at the crush plants ended the week mixed, with NuSun unchanged and High Oleic unchanged to up 20 cents. Birdfood prices continue in a holding pattern but have seen some upward movement in some locations. Two years ago, harvest pressure and heavy producer selling caused prices to crash and nearby sunflower prices were trading in range of $14.35-$14.75 at the crush plants. That will likely not be the case this marketing year as reduced acreage and slower deliveries have led to little harvest pressure this year. Nearby prices at the crush plants have held steady to up slightly higher the past two weeks. It is very possible that the market low has already been established and prices will remain relatively firm for the foreseeable future. The annual acreage battle will crank up in the US after the new year. Soybean supply is at a record global level. Wheat and corn are also facing a plentiful global supply and stiff international competition. The market is also closely watching developments in the US-China trade negotiations and if the Chinese start buying US soybeans. Overall price direction will be determined by export demand news and South American oilseed production prospects in the near term. USDA will release its supply and demand report next week. Traders are anticipating that any significant changes to production, stocks and usage will come in the January report.
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.