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Birdie Blog

  • Writer's pictureJason Scott

Black Oil Sunflower Market

Is it the calm after the storms? The sunflower market is relatively quiet. The Midwest was pummeled repeatedly with moisture, in one form or another, throughout the Spring. Snow melt has some planting areas saturated, putting planting progress behind the five-year average.

So, it’s the waiting game.

The March 1st “Grain Stocks” report projected sunflowers down 33% from this same time last year, and the planting intentions report has only a 3% increase for projected plantings of oil sunflowers from last year’s small acreage. The report went on to say, the planting projection “will be the third lowest on record since 1976, if realized”. But then the storms came and the eventuality of planting delays. This could bode well for sunflowers if it’s too wet to get other crops in the ground.

Photo from Ricketts Farm Services via Facebook

Bird food demand has slowed slightly. Product is shipping off contracts but there isn’t much more than “tire kicking” for spot loads or other old crop queries. Sunflower oil seems to be leading the charge in keeping the market up, but it’s not impervious to the softening soybean and soy oil market. Both old and new crop bids for sunflowers at the crush plants have dropped and, of course, the question is whether this trend will continue through the summer.

According to Oil World, vegetable oil prices are expected to be supported by a slowing down of production growth for soybeans, canola, and palm oil. This should be positive news for sunflowers in the long run. Sunflower oil exports for the 2017-18 marketing year are up 25% compared to 2016-17.

A field ready for planting, Cody, WY

Factors to consider for New Crop purchases:

  • Watch the oil markets.

  • Minimal crop carry-over.

  • Plenty of time to get more sunflowers in the ground


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