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You Are Here Research > 2014 NSA Research Priorities

2014 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 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 2014 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. Grant applications are due by December 16, 2013. The grant application is available for downloading at the bottom of this page.

(these are not listed in order of priority)
  1. Irrigation timing and other issues related to irrigation of sunflower with emphasis on limited irrigation. Pivot sharing with other crops, such as corn, would be beneficial.
  2. Blackbirds: Innovative and new approaches to reduce damage.
  3. 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, skips and doubles and the affect they have on yield loss, and others.
  4. Fertility management in sunflowers for sulfur and other nutrients. Data is needed for the predominant sunflower producing areas of the western Dakotas.
  5. Fungicide application 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.
  6. Fertility management for irrigated sunflowers. Studies relating to timing and quantity of nitrogen applications for fertigation of irrigated sunflowers.
  7. Improve genetic progress in sunflower to enhance competitiveness with other crops and stability of yield and quality, using SNPs or other genomic tools.
  8. Variable rate for seeding and fertility management for sunflower.
  9. Planting depth for oil and confection sunflower (intervals of 1, 2, and 3 inch depth rates) for percent of emergence with seed size variability (small, medium, and large size seeds).
  1. Long-Horned Beetle (Dectes): Interest in multiple approaches to minimizing damage including date of planting/harvesting, efficacy of stay green hybrids and the use of experimental insecticides.
  2. Controlling insects including sunflower head moth through conventional insecticide means, seed treatments, or other innovative techniques.
  3. Screen hybrids and breeding material, including physiological makeup for midge and other insect resistance.
  1. Palmer Amaranth and glyphosate resistant Kochia are species of great concern.
  2. 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. Proposals dealing with short and long term control strategies will be of interest. Determining species of the disease is considered very important.
  2. Rust, including identifying races and the control of rust via genetic resistance and fungicide application.
  3. Verticillium has also been identified as a disease of concern. Proposals dealing with short and long term control strategies will be of interest.
  4. 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.
  5. Charcoal rot and Rhizopus are of interest as well. Proposals dealing with short and long term control strategies will be of interest.
  6. Sclerotinia proposals should be directed to the National Sclerotinia Initiative.

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