Sunflower Highlights
Post Date: Apr 12 2021
Reducing Blackbird Damage
A good strategy to reducing blackbird damage is to plant as early as possible and desiccate the crop. In many cases, producers have been about to get the cop all harvested before the birds even more in. The earliest plant date for Minnesota is April 21. In North Dakota, it is May 6 for most counties north of Highway 200 and May 11 for the remaining counties, based on the USDA RMA early planting dates. Why take a chance when it comes to blackbirds when you can have a good sunflower crop? Maximize your return by planting early and getting the crop harvested as soon as possible.
Exports of Kernel and In-Shell Sunflower Increase
Exports of confection sunflower, both kernel and in-shell, are on the rise. From October 2020 to February 2021, 9,946 metric tons (MT) of in-shell sunflower was exported; that is up from 7,511 from the same time period a year ago. Mexico and Spain are the top importers of in-shell sunflower—since October, Mexico has imported 2,171 MT of in-shell sunflower while Spain has imported 3,913 MT. From October 2020 to February 2021, 1,902 MT of kernel was exported; that is up from 1,873 from the same time period a year ago. Canada has imported 916 MT of kernel to remain the top importer.
Oil Premium Paid at Crush Plants
Something else to consider when making final planting decisions 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 $22.75 contract increases to $25.00, and the cash $24.25 contract moves up to $26.70. See for yourself how the oil premium can add to the bottom line by going to: Oil Premium Calculator (
Drought is spreading and intensifying in the Dakotas. Crush plants are still offering Act of God (AOG) contracts for fall delivery.  These ‘fail safe’ contracts have become very popular with farmers throughout the production region.  It provides an opportunity to ‘lock in’ attractive prices now for fall delivery and removes that all important factor of ‘yield risk’ when uncertain growing conditions exist. Traders are still chattering about last week’s USDA reports which had producers in seven of the eight major sunflower production states expecting a decrease in sunflower acreage this year. The USDA Planting Intentions report kicked off a rally in sunflower prices at the crush plants. Since March 31, sunflower prices have continued to find positive forward momentum on the possibility that lower than expected acres will be planted later this spring. Old crop is up $1.75-$2.00 with new crop up $1.25-$1.75. Market analysts expect the acreage discussion to continue into the foreseeable future as the battle for acres continues. The March report gave farmers a look at what others are thinking of planting this year. Depleted soil moisture levels suggest yield damage is imminent for some crops. There is still time to adjust your plans to take advantage of the market opportunities that drought tolerant sunflowers can offer. Late season planted crops like sunflower can perform well and markets will reward that production. With lower than anticipated acres, diversifying market risk with some oil sunflower acres could be a good option in 2021.
Work safely around grain
People who work with grain—loading it, unloading it and moving it from bin to bin—need to know about the hazards of flowing grain and how to prevent a grain entrapment situation. People can become trapped in grain in three different ways: the collapse of bridged grain, the collapse of a vertical wall of grain and entrapment in flowing grain. Moving or flowing grain is involved in all three. Here are some general safety precautions:
  • Don’t let children work or play in an area where there is flowing grain.
  • All workers involved in a situation where there is flowing grain should be warned to stay out of the grain
  • Warning decals should be placed at all bin entrances, on all rail cars, truck and trailer boxes used for grain hauling and on all gravity discharge wagons.
  • Never enter a grain bin without stopping the auger first and using “lock-out/tag-out” procedures to secure it.
  • Never enter a grain bin alone; have at least two people at the bin to assist in case problems arise. Use a safety harness or safety line when entering the bin.
  • Install a permanent lifeline hanging from the center of the bin for a person to grab on to.
  • Control the access to grain storage facilities to prevent grain entrapments.
For more information, check out the NDSU publication “Caught in the Grain.” It’s available here:
Upcoming Events
August 26, 2021 - NSA High Plains Committee Meeting; Goodland, KS
January 12-13, 2022 - NSA Research Forum; Holiday Inn, Fargo, ND
Markets at a glance
Weekly Prices Recorded on Monday,  April 12, 2021 ($/CWT)
  Deliver Last Year Last Week This Week Change 2021 NEW Crop
Chicago Oil Nearby 26.90 52.81 51.45 -1.36 45.76
West Fargo, ND NuSun 20.00 22.70 22.95 +.25 23.25
West Fargo, ND High Oleic 20.45 23.45 23.70 +.25 23.75
Enderlin, ND NuSun 20.15 22.70 23.40 +.70 23.50
Enderlin, ND High Oleic 20.35 23.45 24.15 +.70 24.25
Lamar, CO High Oleic NA 22.80 23.00 +.20 23.25
U.S. CRUDE OIL VALUES recorded on Monday,  April 12, 2021
(dollars per 100 lb. internal U.S. location)
  Last Year Last Week This Week Change
Soybean Oil 26.10 64.81 71.45 +6.64
Cotton Oil (psby) 41.90 87.81 86.45 +1.36
Corn Oil 46.00 79.00 79.00 NC
Prices recorded here are believed to be reliable at the time of posting. All prices are subject to change. Contact these facilities for complete market details.
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