Sunflower prices were unchanged a week ago at the crush plants with old and new crop remaining at levels set in August. Very warm to hot temperatures in the past month along with drier soil conditions has pushed the crop toward maturity in the Dakotas and Minnesota. Below average moisture conditions are expected to persist in the parched Northern and High Plains for at least the next two weeks. This will likely continue accelerating crop maturation, which is ahead of the five-year average pace. If possible and if the crop has matured to a point where it can be desiccated and harvested this month, it is advisable to do so. Getting the crop harvested several weeks early can result in higher yields and lower drying costs. It can also reduce late season crop damage and blackbird damage. On the plus side, most of the crop in the Dakotas and Minnesota is considered in good to excellent condition. This should mean that yields will be above trend assuming normal weather through the rest of this fall and the lack of an early freeze. Crop conditions in Colorado have improved slightly in the past few weeks however drought is still affecting the crop with most of it in only fair condition. In October, USDA will provide its first estimate of 2020 oil and non-oil sunflower production. This report and demand news will set the tone for new crop sunflower price direction in the near term.
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