The future looks good for sunflower producers. U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics released today estimate U.S. production at 2.91 billion pounds for 2015. That’s a 31 percent increase from last year. Area planted, at 1.86 million acres, is up 10 percent from the June estimate and up 19 percent from last year. Sunflower growers expect to harvest 1.78 million acres, up 11 percent from June and up 18 percent from the 2014 acreage. The October yield forecast, at a record high 1,629 pounds per acre, is 160 pounds higher than last year’s yield.
“This is great news for sunflower producers,” says John Sandbakken, Executive Director of the National Sunflower Association. “We hope this record high yield will encourage even more producers to plant sunflowers in the spring”
As of October 1, higher yields are expected in four of the nine states included in the report. All four of these states expect an increase in average yields of 110 to 250 pounds per acre versus last year. The forecasted production in South Dakota, the leading sunflower-producing state, is 1.27 billion pounds, up 45 percent.
“The increase in South Dakota is due to a combination of factors,” says Sandbakken. “South Dakota had much improved yields and increased acreage this year compared with last year. The yield in South Dakota, at 1,929 pounds per acre, will be a record high, if realized.”
Harvest of the U.S. sunflower crop has just gotten started. Initial yield reports are comparable to the USDA projected yields and quality has been excellent. Most of the U.S. sunflower crop is rated in the good to excellent categories so yields and quality are expected to be above average. “The increased production will help meet the growing demand for sunflower oil, confection seeds and kernel,” says Sandbakken.
For more on the USDA numbers, visit www.sunflowernsa.com/stats/usda-reports/october-all-sunflower-production/.