A rebound for some major 'minor' oil crops

by Jay Sjerven
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Oct. 10 forecast canola production in the United States this year at a record 2,520,925,000 lbs. The forecast canola crop would be 310,420,000 lbs, or 14%, larger than the 2013 outturn of 2,210,505,000 lbs and would exceed the previous record of 2,450,428,000 lbs harvested in 2010 by 70,497,000 lbs, or 3%.

The U.S.D.A. commented in its October 15 Oil Crops Outlook, “U.S. canola production in 2014-15 is forecast at a record 2.5 billion lbs based on near-record acreage (1.71 million acres) and an above-trend yield (1,622 lbs per acre). Canola yields for top-producing North Dakota are expected to be the third highest ever. In contrast, winter canola yields in western Oklahoma were slashed by an untimely dry spell during the crop’s March-May flowering and reproductive period. Thus, there was a larger moderating influence on national production given the expansion of Oklahoma acreage this year.”

The U.S.D.A. noted despite a bumper canola harvest, “Near-record (2 billion lbs) are still anticipated due to recent expansion of crushing capacity. Also favoring imports is the depreciation of the Canadian dollar, which has lost 5% of its value against the U.S. dollar since July.”

 The U.S.D.A. forecast the 2014-15 canola crush at a record 4 billion lbs.

“Prospects for record-high canola supplies have sent cash prices tumbling to $16@16.50 per cwt by early October compared with $21 a year earlier,” the U.S.D.A. noted.

The U.S.D.A. forecast sunflower production in 2014 at 2,453,770,000 lbs, up 421,045,000 lbs, or 21%, from 2,032,725,000 lbs in 2013. While production was forecast to show an impressive increase, the 2014 outturn will fall far short of a record: 7.3 billion lbs were produced in 1979. The recent five-year average outturn was 2.5 billion lbs.

“Nearly all of this year’s production increase can be attributed to an excellent yield, which at 1,626 lbs per acre topped an all-time high,” the U.S.D.A. said. “Sown acreage is virtually identical to last year, with higher non-oil-type sunflowerseed offsetting a decrease in oil-type acreage. Sunflowerseed production gains may be divided almost evenly between oil-type and non-oil type varieties.”

Because of low 2014-15 beginning stocks, sunflower supplies were forecast to increase only 11% from the previous year. The larger supply was expected to edge up the sunflowerseed crush to 1.1 billion lbs from 1.02 billion lbs in 2013-14, the U.S.D.A. said.

The U.S.D.A. forecast cottonseed production in 2014 at 5,369,000 tons, up 1,166,000, or 28%, from 4,203,000 tons in 2013. The 2014-15 cottonseed supply was forecast at 5,844,000 tons (including a carry-in of 425,000 tons and imports of 50,000 tons), up 951,000 tons, or 19%, from 4,893,000 tons in 2013-14. The cottonseed crush was forecast at 2,400,000 tons, up 20% from 2,000,000 tons in 2013-14. Cottonseed oil production was forecast at 770 million lbs, up 140 million lbs, or 22%, from 630 million lbs in 2013-14.
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