Seed prices were down 25 cents to unchanged at the crush plants this week. Bird food prices remain within range of market highs in the Dakotas. Birdfood is trading mostly around $28.40-$31.50 in South Dakota with North Dakota prices trading for as much as $33.00 in some locations. The weather forecast for the next two weeks is predicting above normal temperatures and drier than normal moisture conditions in the sunflower growing region. This bodes well for crop dry down and an earlier than normal start to harvest. Harvest could be just days away in some locations of North and South Dakota. Most likely harvest will not start in earnest until early October. Getting the crop harvested several weeks early can result in lower drying costs, plus reduces late season crop and blackbird damage. Harvest continues to move along in Texas and is ahead of the five-year average. In the coming weeks, several USDA reports will give producers and industry a better picture of sunflower fundamentals heading into the 2021/22 marketing year. On September 30, USDA will report old crop sunflower stocks and on October 12 USDA will give its first estimate of 2021 US harvested sunflower acres and production. Traders will be eager to see how USDA factors in any potential effect of this year’s drought into the production numbers. These reports along with actual harvest reports will set the tone for new crop sunflower price direction in the near term.
Crush plants are offering 2022 new crop cash and Act of God (AOG) contracts. NuSun cash is $26.80-$27.00 and $26.30-$26.50 AOG. High oleics are $27.20-$27.25 cash and $26.50-$26.75 AOG. 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 $26.30 contract increases to $29.00, and the cash $27.25 contract moves up to $30.00.
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