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Sunflower farmers expect biggest crop in 5 years

BISMARCK (AP) — Sunflower farmers in the U.S. are expected to produce their biggest crop in five years, and North Dakota farmers are expecting their best yield in history.

The first sunflower production forecast for 2020 is 2.81 billion pounds, up 44% from 2019, according to the National Sunflower Association.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that both planted and harvested acres are expected to be up more than 25% from last year. The October yield forecast, at 1,730 pounds per acre, is 11% higher than last year and would be just a pound less than the record high average yield for the nation.

North Dakota leads the country in sunflower production. The state forecast is 1.23 billion pounds, up 64% from last year. The expected average yield of 1,761 pounds per acre would be a record, according to the association.

Higher yields are expected in five of the eight states in which sunflower production is tracked, according to the sunflower association. Increases are forecast for Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas. Decreases are expected in California, Minnesota and Texas.