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Sunflower Briefs

Tuesday, October 26, 2021
filed under: Sunflower Briefs

First USDA Estimate of 2021 Production
        USDA released its first production estimate for the 2021 sunflower crop on October 12.  To no one’s surprise, it depicted a markedly smaller crop than that of 2020.
        USDA pegged 2021 sunflower production at 1.90 billion lbs, down 36% from the revised 2020 production of 2.98 billion lbs. Area planted, at 1.28 million acres in 2021, is down 7% from the June estimate and down 27% from last year.  Sunflower growers in the eight survey states are expected to harvest 1.22 million acres this fall, down 27% from last year.
        The overall average yield for all sunflower types is forecast, at 1,554 lbs/ac.  This would be 236 lbs lower than last year’s 1,790-lb average yield, if realized. 
        The forecasted production for South Dakota would make it the leading sunflower producing state this year, at 793 million lbs (down 32% from 2020).  For North Dakota, production is forecast to total 755 million lbs, which would be down 43% from 2020.
        The only two states where sunflower production is expected to increase in 2021 versus 2020 are California (67.8 million lbs versus 57.2 million) and Colorado (50.4 million lbs versus 46.1 million last year)
        The next USDA estimate of the 2021 U.S. sunflower crop will be released in January 2022.
2022 NSA Research Forum: Call for Papers
        The National Sunflower Association is inviting research papers to be presented at the NSA Research Forum, set for January 12-13, 2022, in Fargo, ND.  Presentations may be either oral or in the form of a poster.  A time will be designated for authors to be with their posters and answer questions.  Each oral presentation will be limited to 10-12 minutes with 2-3 minutes allowed for questions.
        Visit if you are interested in presenting a paper.  You do not have to submit the actual paper or poster at this time, just the information indicated online and the author information. Submissions must be completed by November 24, 2021.
High Plains No-Till Conference Is Feb. 1 & 2
        The Colorado Conservation Tillage Association will be hosting the 33rd High Plains No-Till Conference on February 1 and 2 in Burlington, Colorado.  The 2021 event was canceled due to Covid.
        The 2022 event’s keynote speaker will be Dallas Mount, former University of Wyoming Extension educator and currently owner and CEO of Ranch Management Consultants.
        The February CCTA  conference will feature more than 45 breakout sessions, focusing on topics ranging from ag technology to soil health, farm business and general no-till to regenerative grazing and marketing.  The conference also features a trade show and social.
      Program and registration details for the 2022 High Plains No-Till Conference can be viewed at:
Old-Crop Seed Stocks Up from Prior Year
        USDA released its ending sunflower seed stocks report in late September, pegging old-crop sunflower stocks in all positions as of September 1 at 388 million lbs, up 100% from a year ago.  All stocks stored on farms totaled 68.1 million lbs, and off-farm stocks totaled 320 million lbs.  Stocks of oil-type sunflower seed were estimated at 298 million lbs, of which 60.3 million lbs were on-farm stocks, and 238 million were off-farm stocks. Nonoil sunflower stocks totaled 89.64 million lbs, with 7.8 million stored on the farm and 81.8 million lbs stored off the farm. 
        Stocks of oil-type sunflower seed were 113% higher than at the same time last year.  Nonoil stocks were up 65% from last year.  Both figures were within average industry estimates.
Sunflower Exports on the Rise
        Exports of sunflower kernel are up 33% from a year ago, from 3,852 metric tons (MT) from October 2019 to August 2020 to 5,153 MT from October 2020 to August 2021.  Canada remains the top importer of U.S. sunflower kernel, importing 2,660 MT.
        In-shell exports increased 13%, from 19,856 MT from October 2019 to August 2020 to 22,514 MT from October 2020 to August 2021.  Spain remains the top importer of in-shell sunflower, importing 8,610 MT, with Mexico a close second at 6,470 MT during the period.
        Sunflower oil exports are up 14% from a year ago, from 36,519 MT during October 2019 to August 2020 to 41,691 MT from October 2020 to August 2021.  Canada remains the top importer, taking 23,912 MT — up 12% from a year ago. Mexico was the number two destination, importing 9,509 metric tons of U.S. sun oil during the most recent October-August period.
Biennial Crop Survey Conducted in September
        North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension specialists and agriculture and natural resources (ANR) county agents were helping conduct the National Sunflower Production Survey in September.  The biennial survey is funded by the National Sunflower Association (NSA).
        “The National Sunflower Association survey measures yield components and factors that limit yield such as disease, insects, weeds and management issues,” said Ryan Buetow, NDSU Extension cropping systems specialist based out of the Dickinson Research Extension Center.  “It is conducted biennially in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Manitoba, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado and Texas.”
        According to NDSU Extension plant pathologist Sam Markell, “This survey is important for the industry.  It’s important for the people who work on sunflower research and education, like myself, and it’s important for the National Sunflower Association, and how they look at the crop and determination of research and outreach priorities.”
        More information on the survey is available at
Also, a summary of this year’s survey results will be carried in an upcoming issue of The Sunflower.
Fargo-Based Bushel Acquires GrainBridge
        Bushel, a Fargo, N.D.-based independently owned software technology company focused on developing solutions for the grain supply chain, has announced its acquisition of GrainBridge, LLC, a joint venture owned by ADM and Cargill Incorporated.
        GrainBridge employees will join the Bushel team and remain based in Omaha, Neb.  Their data expertise will help to further strengthen the end-to-end capabilities of the Bushel platform and enable Bushel’s customers to better serve their farm customers. ADM and Cargill will be working with their customers to transition to the Bushel platform providing a more expansive offering. 
        “The acquisition complements Bushel’s strategic focus to enable, not disrupt, the agriculture industry and lead it into the digital age with strategies that solve real pain points and provide value for all stakeholders in the ag and food value chain,” the company stated in a press release.  “By providing permission-based data sharing and visualization, there will be improved data-based decision-making.  These connections can support all points of the supply chain from grower to grain origination to consumer packaged goods (CPG companies).” 
Sunflower Production Research Books
        As sunflower producers wrap up the 2021 season and look ahead toward 2022, they can find helpful information on the National Sunflower Association website.  Visit for the growers section of the website and check out the production research book for your area.  The books provide guidelines and recommendations on field selection, a variety of production practices, pest identification and more topics of interest.
We’d Like to Hear Your Story Suggestions
          We continue developing articles for the 2021/22 issues of The Sunflower magazine.  Growers, researchers, industry members – what topics would you like us to write about?  Perhaps it’s a producer who has developed some innovative equipment modifications or has achieved a particularly effective pest control strategy.  Or, there may be a research development with promising implications for the industry.  The list goes on.  If something does come to mind, submit your suggestions to
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