For only the second time since 1977, South Dakota has been named the leading sunflower-producing state in the nation. That’s according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics released last week. The report estimates production in South Dakota at 997 million pounds, an increase of 12 percent from 2012. Of those 997 million pounds, 830 million were oil sunflowers; 176 million pounds were non-oil varieties.
“This is good news for South Dakota producers that grow this profitable crop, says Tom Young, National Sunflower Association Chairman and Onida area sunflower producer. “It will also inject money into the local economy for many areas of the state.“
Planted acres, harvested acres, and yield per acre in South Dakota were all up in 2013. Planted acres increased by five percent, harvested acres by four percent, and yield per acre increased seven percent.
Nationwide, production of non-oil sunflower varieties is estimated at 386 million pounds, a slight increase from last year. Harvested acres are up six percent from 2012. The average yield decreased by 90 pounds. Production of oil-type sunflower varieties in the United States was down 31 percent from 2012. The weather played a big role in those decreases – a wet spring kept many producers from even planting sunflower in 2013.
“We are optimistic for 2014 and hope to see increased sunflower acres in South Dakota as well as in other sunflower-producing states,” says Young. “Sunflowers have been an advantageous crop for many farmers in South Dakota and have proven to be a crop that can do well despite the unpredictable South Dakota weather.”
For more on the USDA numbers, visit www.sunflowernsa.com/stats/usda-reports