We are still in the price discovery process for 2019 crop insurance price elections. Currently, oil type sunflowers are at $16.80 and confections are $22.60 per cwt. To follow sunflower price election trends, watch the 2019 CBoT December soyoil contract through February 28. Final price elections will be announced in early March. The long-awaited final crop production estimates were released by USDA last week. The market was trading in a fog the past month without any fundamental data. USDA reduced 2017 sunflower production slightly but increased 2018 production almost ten percent higher from its October estimate. Total production was pegged at 2.12 billion pounds, down 1 percent from 2017. The US average yield per acre of 1,731 pounds increased 128 pounds from 2017 and was a record high for the US. With some numbers in hand old and new crop sunflower markets will be able to trade on supply and demand fundamentals in the months ahead. USDA will update its statistical guesses at its annual Agricultural Outlook Forum this week. Traders will pay close attention to USDA’s expectations for 2019 planted acres, supply & demand outlooks along with ending stocks figures. This will give the market some numbers to crunch ahead of the March reports. Traders will also continue to focus on South America weather reports and crop prospects as February is the critical month for oilseed development.
The USDA estimate for 2018 US sunflower production has been released. Total production was pegged at 2.12 billion pounds, down 1 percent from 2017. The US average yield per acre of 1,731 pounds increased 128 pounds from 2017. The average yield was a record high for the US. Planted area, at 1.30 million acres, was 7 percent below the previous year. Area harvested decreased 8 percent from 2017 to 1.22 million acres. South Dakota was the number one producing state at 975 million pounds, a decrease of 4 percent from 2017. Compared with 2017, planted area in South Dakota decreased 8 percent but yield increased 105 pounds to 1,840 pounds per acre. Production in North Dakota increased 5 percent primarily due to average yield, which increased 6 percent from the previous year. The average yield in North Dakota increased 95 pounds from 2017 to 1,760 pounds per acre. US production of oil-type sunflower varieties, at 1.90 billion pounds, increased 3 percent from 2017. Compared with the previous year, harvested acres were down 6 percent but the average yield increased by 144 pounds to 1,726 pounds per acre. Production of non-oil sunflower varieties was estimated at 220 million pounds, a decrease of 24 percent from 2017. Area harvested, at 123,500 acres, was down 25 percent from 2017. The average yield increased by 31 pounds from 2017 to 1,781 pounds per acre and represented the second highest yield on record for non-oil varieties.