Steep Drop in Sunflower Output

WASHINGTON - Oct 12/17 - SNS -- This year's sunflower harvest will likely be down 32% from last year at 2.65 billion pounds, says the USDA in its first estimate for the crop.

Area planted, at 1.40 million acres, is up 11% from the June estimate but down 12% from last year. Sunflower growers expect to harvest 1.35 million acres, up 11% from June but down 12% from the 2016 acreage. Planted area for the Nation is the second lowest on record since 1976, and harvested area will be the second lowest since 1976, if realized.

The October yield forecast, at 1,339 pounds per acre, is 392 pounds lower than last year's record high yield and will be the lowest since 2006, if realized.

As of October 1, lower yields are expected in 5 of the 8 published States compared with last year. Due to drought conditions, average yields forecast in the Dakotas are down more than 500 pounds per acre compared with last year.