2018 NSA Research Priorities
The National Sunflower Association (NSA) provides grants to public researchers to stimulate new or additional work that may result in lower production costs, increased quality and higher yields. The NSA does not allow for any overhead or indirect costs to be removed from the grant awards.

Resolving Sclerotinia continues to be a high priority. Grant requests for this disease must be directed to the National Sclerotinia Initiative. Please go to their site for details or email info@whitemoldresearch.com. There is a concentrated research effort in this disease from wild accessions to fungicide trials and everything in between. Researchers are urged to consider additional or new directions in Sclerotinia sunflower research.
The 2018 Research Priorities list below specifies ‘areas of interest' outlined by the NSA research committee. This is not an exclusive list and all production areas of research will be considered by the committee. 
2018 NSA Research Priorities
(NOT listed in order or priority)
Production Issues
  1. Blackbirds:  Innovative and new approaches to reduce damage, especially discovery of repellents.
  2. Factors related to achieving an adequate plant stand.  This could include: planter calibration and other planter issues, early season sunflower plant screening for stand, seeding depth, soil temperature/moisture, seedling vigor, seed biology, insects/diseases and other.  Skips and doubles and the affect they have on yield loss.
  3. Methods, techniques or equipment for applying fungicides for control of diseases and enhance yield.  Issues of timing and tank mixing with insecticides/herbicides are of interest.  There is a strong preference for using labeled fungicides and the efficacy of adjuvants.  Preference for the control of Phomopsis and Sclerotinia.
  4. Improve genetic progress in sunflower to enhance competitiveness with other crops and stability of yield and quality, using SNPs or other genomic tools.
  5. Variable rate for seeding and fertility management for sunflower
  6. Determine the economic costs and benefits of using pesticide seed treatments to control major soil pests of sunflower (e.g., wireworms, downy mildew) and to establish their overall impact on profitability of sunflower production.
  7. Identification, quantification and or development of management strategies to address emerging economically important production issues for sunflower. 
  1. Evaluation of IPM strategies (chemical, cultural, biological, trapping) for control of economically important insect pests of sunflowers including: sunflower head moth, banded sunflower moth, red sunflower seed weevil, Lygus bug, Dectes stem borer, wireworm and others.
  2. Screen hybrid and breeding material for insect resistance.  
  1. Innovative weed control strategies using older and new chemistries to address palmer amaranth, horseweed (Marestail), ragweed, waterhemp and glyphosate resistant kochia, pre/burn-down and/or post emerge.
  2. Weed species shifts, due to resistance/tolerance to common modes of action need to be considered for burn-down uses, as well as existing post systems like Clearfield® and Express®Sun.  This priority could include burn-down product safe planting interval definition for all effective herbicides, including older products like 2,4-D, as well as preservation and MOA resistance management for the post-emerge Group #1 grass products.  Group #1 strategies might include pre-plant, pre (and/or) early post application of other non-group #1 MOA’s as well as tank mixing sub-groups (fops/dims) of labeled group #1 products. Foxtail options need to be better defined for sunflower producers, though wild oat control may be the greater challenge in the grass species spectrum.
  3. Interest in innovative weed control techniques related to existing labels and to test experimental or new-to-market herbicides for potential sunflower application.  
  1. Phomopsis is of concern throughout the production region.
  2. Rust including identifying races and the control of rust via genetic resistance and fungicide application.
  3. There is continued interest in downy mildew with the development of new races and fungicide efficacy.  Proposals looking at genetic resistance along with seed treatments with multiple modes of action will be of interest.
  4. Rhizopus can be a concern after the head is damaged by insects, hail, or other damage. Determining if there are management strategies to reduce the impact of the disease is important for growers.
  5. Sclerotinia proposals should be directed to the National Sclerotinia Initiative.
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