012016-bcp-sunflower

A blanket of sunflowers in a field east of Sturgis.

Meade County Times-Tribune file

Mandan, ND | 2015’s sunflower crop was a record breaking crop. The USDA report on 2015 sunflower crop production, shows record high yields in both oil-type and confection sunflower. Average yield of oil-type sunflower varieties increased by 119 pounds from 2014, to a record high 1,579 pounds per acre.

The average yield of confection sunflower increased by 368 pounds from last year, to a record high 1,865 pounds per acre, more than 300 pounds per acre higher than the previous record high.

“This is great news for sunflower producers,” says John Sandbakken, executive director of the National Sunflower Association. “Sunflower has proven to be a profitable crop that works in many different types of soils and climates.”

For the third year in a row, South Dakota is the top sunflower-producing state. Production in South Dakota is the highest since 1999, at 1.23 billion pounds. Compared with last year, planted area in South Dakota increased 27 percent and yield increased 179 pounds to a record high 1,858 pounds per acre. Meanwhile, production in North Dakota increased 26 percent, mostly due to the increase in yield, which increased 217 pounds from last year and is the third highest on record. Record high yields were also achieved in Kansas and Nebraska.

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“This was an outstanding year for sunflower in all our major growing areas,” says Sandbakken. “To see record yields in four of our top sunflower-producing states, in both oil and non-oil type sunflowers is very impressive. We hope these numbers will convince even more producers to plant sunflower this spring.”

Across the nation, the 2015 sunflower production increased 32 percent from 2014. The United States average yield per acre increased 156 pounds from last year to a record high 1,625 pounds. Planted area, at 1.86 million acres, is 19 percent above last year. Area harvested increased 19 percent from last year to 1.80 million acres.

For more on the USDA numbers, visit www.usda.gov/nass/PUBS.

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