Steep Drop in Sunflower Output

WASHINGTON - Oct 11/18 - SNS -- The first sunflower production forecast for 2018 is 1.93 billion pounds, down 10% from the revised 2017 production of 2.16 billion pounds, according to the latest USDA crop production estimates.

If realized, production for the Nation will be the lowest since 1989. Area planted, at 1.30 million acres, is down 11% from the June estimate and down 7% from last year.

Sunflower growers expect to harvest 1.24 million acres, down 12% from June and down 7% from the 2017 acreage. If realized, both planted and harvested area for the Nation will be the lowest since 1976. The October yield forecast, at 1,560 pounds per acre, is 56 pounds lower than last year's yield but will be the fourth highest on record, if realized.

As of October 1, lower yields are expected in 6 of the 8 published States compared with last year, with increases only expected in California and Kansas. Compared with last year, average yields forecast in North and South Dakota are down 45 pounds per acre and 100 pounds per acre, respectively. The forecasted production in South Dakota, the leading sunflower-producing State this year, is 895 million pounds, down 13% from 2017. In North Dakota, production is forecast at 674 million pounds, which would represent the second lowest production since 1976, if realized.