South Dakota sunflower acres in 2022 not keeping up with rising prices


In the week following his visit with Travis Antonsen about the price of sunflowers in 2022, the market rose an additional $1 per hundred pounds. Roscoe farmer Allen Beyers says that even though current markets make planting more acres of sunflowers a tempting proposition, he will stick to his original plan as it is the best plan for the health of its agricultural land.

As South Dakota farmers prepare for the 2022 planting season, they anticipate an increase in the commodity market due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. And because Ukraine is the world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil, South Dakota sunflower growers are eyeing price increases of 60% from a year ago.

But this market surge doesn’t mean there will be a rush to plant more acres of sunflowers. SDPB’s Lura Roti has this story.

Take a look at the agricultural crops produced in Ukraine and it makes sense that the war would impact commodity markets for South Dakota farmers, explained Agtegra’s Director of Business Risk Management, Travis Antonsen. (pronounced Antinson).

“You know, Ukraine is a lot like the Dakotas in terms of climate and what they raise. Everything they raise is very similar to what we raise here… So it definitely changed the landscape here for the great Dakota era growers from a price point of view,” says Antonsen.

Most of the sunflowers raised in South Dakota are sold on the bird food market or crushed to make oil. Harvest 2021 Farmers in South Dakota received about $30 percent pounds of sunflower seed at harvest time. A snapshot of the 2022 crop shows prices over $32 per hundred pounds. This is an increase of almost 7%.

Travis Antonsen again.

“A lot of the supply is taken off the market, the market is getting very excited. [Travis Antonsen 5:00] “You know, half of the world’s solar oil exports come from Ukraine, so that’s huge. We think we grow a fair amount of flowers in the Dakotas – and that’s really a drop in the bucket compared to what Ukraine means to the world,” says Antonsen.

On average, 1.4 million acres of sunflowers are planted in the United States. According to data from the National Ag Statistics Service, South Dakota farmers cultivate about 570,000 acres of sunflowers each year, ranking second in the nation after North Dakota for sunflower production.

But even with the current surge in sunflower markets, there is no sign that South Dakota farmers will plant more acres of sunflowers. In fact, the USDA Prospective Planting Report indicated that 2,022 acres of sunflowers are slightly down from the annual average.

Much of it has to do with the science of crop rotations. To reduce weed and disease pressure, farmers rotate the crops they plant in their fields each season, says fourth-generation Roscoe farmer Allen Beyers.

“On our farm, where we planted wheat, we followed wheat with corn, then corn with sunflower or soybeans. If we plant sunflowers, we will turn the sunflowers into wheat. If we plant soybeans, we will turn the soil from soybeans to wheat or corn, but generally we will never plant sunflowers on soybeans or sunflowers on sunflowers, simply because it is not good agronomic practice. … It’s quite a broad thought process. I think that’s the overarching question. It’s not just about this year, it’s about next year and the year after,” says Beyers.

Jeremy Vander Vorst, a fourth-generation Pollock farmer, agrees with Beyers. It turns out that increasing sunflower acreage by 20% this growing season works with his current crop rotation.

He chose to plant sunflowers over soybeans because of the market and the fact that he has fertilizer left in a field planted with corn in 2021. Last summer’s drought delayed the corn. When maize failed to mature, it stopped absorbing nitrogen fertilizer from the soil.

“So in a normal year we wouldn’t expect to have leftover fertilizer, if we had taken out an average crop, but last year the crop was below average and there’s a lot of fertilizer left over, more than we’ve seen for many, many years. So that’s what makes them attractive, because if we plant beans there, the beans wouldn’t use the fertilizer as much as the sunflowers. are a deep-rooted culture that will go and grab it and use it,” says Vander Vorst.


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