American Sunflower Output the Largest in Five Years

American sunflower production in 2020 is projected to hit its highest level in five years.

A USDA crop production report last week estimated this year’s nationwide sunflower crop at 1.27 million tonnes, a 44% increase from the 2019 crop of just over 887,000 tonnes and the largest since 1.23 million tonnes in 2015.

At 1.7 million acres, estimated US sunflower planted area is up 10% from the USDA’s estimate in June and almost 30% above a year earlier, while the average expected yield, at 1,730 lbs/acre, is up 170 lbs from 2019 and within a single pound of the all-time record. Last week’s report contained no breakdown on oil-type sunflower output versus confection, although the lion’s share of the US crop is typically oil varieties.

Total forecasted production in North Dakota, the leading sunflower-producing state this year, is just over 558,000 tonnes, an increase of 64% from 2019. Compared with last year, the average yield forecast in North Dakota is up 245 lbs/acre from 2019 to 1,761 lbs and will be the highest yield on record if realized. In South Dakota, the average yield is forecast at 1,867 lbs/acre, up 173 lbs from last year and potentially the second highest yield on record.

An estimated 22% of the US sunflower crop was in the bin as of Sunday, according to Monday’s USDA crop progress report. That is up from 11% a week earlier and is well ahead of both last year and the five-year average at 4% and 10%, respectively.

Albeit on a much smaller scale, Canadian sunflower production is up sharply this year as well. In its Sept. 14 crop production report, Statistics Canada estimated the 2020 crop at just over 95,000 tonnes, way up from just 64,000 in 2019. The average Canadian sunflower yield for this year is forecast at 2,150 lbs/acre.

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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