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U.S. sunflower harvest two weeks ahead of normal

photo courtesy of National Sunflower Association

The U.S. sunflower harvest is running about two weeks ahead of normal.

National Sunflower Association executive director John Sandbakken says the crop was planted in a timely manner.

“And then throughout the growing season we got rain, but not too much, so it didn’t get too wet. Sunflowers like it a little bit drier. And we just had really good heat units (that) pushed the crop along. And then you could say from August through September into early October we got really dry.”

He tells Brownfield that dryness was welcome in nearly all the primary sunflower-growing states.

“The only place where we really saw issues was in Colorado, (which) had a really severe drought throughout the summer. The yields there are going to be below average, but in the Dakotas and Minnesota we’re looking at near-record yields.”

Sandbakken says about a third of the nation’s sunflower crop is harvested, but progress will be slowed by snow moving through the Dakotas and Minnesota this week.

He points to Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas as the other leading sunflower states.

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