Sunflower prices at the crush plants ended the week mixed at down 15 cents to unchanged. According to the September USDA Farm Service Agency crop acreage report, area planted to sunflower in 2017 decreased 16 percent from 2016 and totals 1.33 million acres. Planted area of oil type varieties, at 1.17 million acres, is down 17 percent from 2016. Planted acreage of non-oil varieties, estimated at 156,000 acres, is down 12 percent from last year. Initial estimates peg the US sunflower crop at around 800,000 MT, which compares to last year’s total of 1.2 million metric tons (MMT). If realized this level of production will create very tight ending stocks at the end of the 2017/18 marketing year. USDA will release its final acreage and production estimates in January. USDA shocked the market with a bearish US 2017 soybean crop estimate this week. USDA estimated the US 2017 soybean crop near 4.431 million bushels versus the 4.328 million expected by traders. This would be a new record high for US soybean production. USDA did lower US 2016/17 and 2017/18 soyoil end stocks due to higher domestic biodiesel demand. This was positive news for CBoT soyoil prices and should also be good news for sunflower prices as they follow soyoil values for the most part. Sunflower harvest should be starting soon as many acres are maturing quickly and could be desiccated to begin harvest.