The 2012 sunflower production totaled 2.79 billion pounds, up 37 percent from 2011. The United States average yield per acre increased 115 pounds from the previous year to 1,513 pounds. Planted area, at 1.92 million acres, is 24 percent above the previous year but is the third lowest since 1990. Area harvested increased 26 percent from last year to 1.84 million acres.
Production in North Dakota, the leading sunflower-producing state, is estimated at 1.46 billion pounds, up 91 percent from 2011. The yield in North Dakota, at a record high 1,732 pounds per acre, is up 366 pounds from 2011. Compared with the previous year, planted area in North Dakota increased 48 percent and harvested area increased 50 percent. The average yield in Nebraska, at 740 pounds per acre, is down over 660 pounds from last year due to drought conditions this year and is the second lowest on record. Extremely dry weather also hampered yields in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. Meanwhile, much better growing conditions were prevalent this year in Minnesota where the average yield of 1,755 pounds per acre is the third highest on record.
United States production of oil-type sunflower varieties, at 2.40 billion pounds, increased 39 percent from 2011. Compared with last year, harvested acres are up 29 percent and the average yield increased by 111 pounds, to 1,508 pounds per acre.
Production of non-oil sunflower varieties, at 386 million pounds, increased 22 percent from last year. Area harvested, at 249,200 acres, is up 11 percent from 2011 but is the second lowest since 1987. The average yield increased by 142 pounds from last year to a record high 1,548 pounds per acre.
Harvest of sunflowers began in late September and by the end of the month progress was ahead of normal in Kansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota but lagged behind normal in Colorado. Conditions remained generally favorable through October, allowing harvest in the four States to progress ahead of the 5-year average with the exception of Colorado. By Oct. 28, harvest was 82 percent complete in the four major states, compared with the five-year average of 42 percent. Harvest was nearly complete by Nov. 18, as progress reached 97 percent in the four major states, 1 percentage point ahead of last year and 11 percentage points ahead of normal for that date.
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