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NSA Sets Production Research Priorities for 2007

Friday, December 15, 2006
filed under: Research and Development

Each year, the National Sunflower Association provides small grants, funded in part by sunflower checkoff dollars, for public researchers to stimulate new or additional work that may result in lower production costs, increased quality and higher yields of sunflower.

The NSA has a Research Committee consisting of a cross-section of the sunflower industry that develops a list of production research priorities to help guide researchers in submitting project proposals.

The list below specifies 'areas of interest' outlined by the NSA research committee for 2007. Sunflower researchers across the nation have been informed of these research priorities, and have been encouraged to use them as a basis for submitting research proposals for 2007. The NSA Research Committee will review research proposals early next year, and make a funding recommendation to the NSA board of directors, which will make the final funding decisions.

Obviously, resolving Sclerotinia remains a high priority, and grant requests for this research area are directed to the National Sclerotinia Initiative (, a concentrated Sclerotinia research effort focused on several fronts, from wild accessions to fungicide trials. The initiative supports 20 different projects aimed at neutralizing white mold’s economic threat to seven different crops: sunflower, soybean, canola, edible dry beans, chickpeas, lentils and dry peas. This consortium of federal and state university scientists includes 10 land grant universities and five crop commodity groups, and is led by the Agricultural Research Service, the USDA’s chief scientific research agency.

Production Issues

1. Desiccation: Labeled and experimental herbicides, timing of application, tank mixes, yield and quality. Consideration for minimizing bird damage and lodging due to stem insects including quantifying the effect of stem hardening to resist lodging.

2. Irrigation timing and other issues related to irrigation of sunflower.

3. Blackbirds: Innovative and new approaches.

4. Planting technology for uniform spacing and consideration for large seeded confections.

5. Rotation studies with soybean before or after sunflower looking at a broad range of aspects from yield, soil water use, disease and insect interactions, nitrogen utilization and more. Preference for farmer field studies.

6. Innovative planting techniques such as skip-row and ridge-till.

7. Yield/seed size enhancement with fungicide application. Questions of application timing, impact on various diseases, yield and quality, and economic feasibility. Preference for labeled fungicides such as Headline.


1. Long-Horned Beetle (Dectes) is of particular concern. Chemical control has been elusive. Interest in multiple approaches to minimizing damage including date of planting/harvesting.

2. Genetic resistance for all insects with emphasis on stem weevil, long-horned beetle, head and banded moth, midge and seed weevils. Controlling insects through conventional insecticide means or other innovative techniques.

3. Banded Moth: Monitoring, treatment timing and insecticide efficacy. Interest in developing a treatment decision making tool.


1. Interest in innovative weed control techniques related to existing labels, and to test experimental or new-to-market herbicides for potential sunflower application.

2. Emphasis on timing and other techniques for water activated pre-emerge herbicides especially in the High Plains.


1. Determine rust Verticillium races throughout the production region.

2. Emphasis on identifying levels of hybrid resistance to diseases such as:

a. Phomopsis

b. Sclerotinia

c. Verticillium

d. Other diseases

Sunflower Research Forum Jan 10-11

Results of research funded by the NSA and other research are reported each year in a public forum, to be held in 2007 on Jan. 10-11 in Fargo at the Ramada Plaza Suites. More information about the forum, as well as past research forum presentations and results, can be found on the NSA’s web site, Click on the “Research” link

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