Old crop prices finished the week mixed at down 5 to up 5 cents after setting a new market high for the fourth week in a row at the North Dakota crush plants. Since the beginning of August old crop prices have gained 75 cents per cwt. At this same time last year, old crop prices were in a range of $17.30-$17.40 for NuSun with high oleic at $17.35-$17.40. This is a difference of $1.00-$1.25 for NuSun and $1.30-$1.35 per cwt. for high oleic versus current prices. Sunflower prices are not facing the headwinds some other commodities are currently experiencing as there is robust market demand for seed. The need for seed has also helped boost new crop prices for NuSun and high oleic to market highs this week as well. The sunflower growing states have mostly adequate moisture, but crop development is behind the five-year average normal pace in most areas. In states reporting crop conditions, the crop is being rated at 79 to 82 percent good to excellent condition. This should mean that yields will be above trend assuming normal weather through the rest of this fall and the lack of an early freeze. Based on the cool weather in the week ahead, the crop will need more heat units later in the season than normal to finish development. Traders will be keeping an eye on growing conditions and any demand news in the week ahead.
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 $17.10 contract increases to $18.80 and the cash $17.60 contract moves up to $19.35.