Old crop seed stocks are getting tighter and the recent surge in bird food prices reflects this. Bird food prices continued their upward movement this week gaining an additional $1.00 to $2.00 per hundredweight at some locations. Bird food bids are trading at $26.50 to $30.00 in South Dakota and as much as $28.00 in North Dakota. Nearby NuSun and high oleic prices were unchanged at the crush plants a week ago. Sunflower seed stocks will be extremely tight by the end of September and should keep old crop prices trending to the upside. Harvest is on-going making good progress in Texas but will not start in earnest until October in the northern Plains states, where most acres are located. With excellent bird food and oil demand there is a good likelihood that price premiums will be in place to encourage growers to desiccate and harvest early. U.S. sunflower oil exports to Canada are up 21%, well ahead of a year ago. From October 2019 to May 2020, 16,610 metric tons of sunflower oil has been exported. That compares to 13,516 metric tons during the same time frame a year ago. Canada and Mexico remain the top two importers and have an additional 23,300 metric tons on the books to be delivered. Exports plus good domestic demand should keep prices firm at the crush plants in the near term. Weather conditions will come into focus more as we get into mid-August through September, the critical time frame for sunflower.
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