2016 NSA Funded Research
The National Sunflower Association selected and funded the following research projects for the 2016 year. Funding was also in part possible due to the North Dakota Oilseeds Council, South Dakota Oilseeds Council, Colorado Sunflower Administrative Committee, Kansas Sunflower Commission, Minnesota Sunflower Council and the North Dakota State Board of Agricultural Research and Education.
2016 NSA-Funded Research Projects

Evaluation of an Integrated Managed Approach (Fungicides + Genetics) for Management of Phomopsis Stem Canker on Sunflower

Investigators: Febina Mathew, South Dakota State University; Sam Markell, North Dakota State University; and Bob Harveson, University of Nebraska, Scottsbluff

Description: Phomopsis stem canker remains an economically threatening disease to sunflower production in the United States. Prolonged periods of wet weather, high humidity and moderate temperatures favor the disease's development. Yield losses result from smaller sunflower heads and lighter seed, and from lodging due to weakened stems. This research will provide disease data and determine efficacy of fungicides on Phomopsis stem canker with different genetics (i.e., resistant and susceptible hybrids) in several locations. The resulting information will be used to provide sunflower producers with management recommendations for Phomopsis stem canker thereby reducing disease risk.

Funded Amount: $40,563
Evaluation of New, Generic and Pre-Mixed Fungicides for Management of Rust on Susceptible and Moderately Resistant Hybrids

Investigator: Sam Markell, North Dakota State University

Description: Sunflower rust is an economically important problem in most states that grow sunflower. Previously, the National Sunflower Association supported a multi-year research effort (2008-2011) in which a fungicide threshold was developed (1% at or before R5 on the upper leaves); and, simultaneously, available fungicides were evaluated for efficacy. However, some management information is still lacking. This research project will look at the impact of moderate genetic resistance in sunflower hybrids and the efficacy of pre-mixes, tebuconazole generics and new-to- market fungicides. This information will help sunflower producers determine if a fungicide application is necessary and to select an appropriate fungicide for rust management.

Funded Amount: $10,000
Inheritance and Mapping of Sunflower Insect Resistance Traits

Investigator: Jarrad Prasifka, USDA ARS NCSL

Description: Determine the inheritance and map genes determining glandular trichome abundance, a resistance trait for sunflower moth, by phenotyping F2 plants (HA 300 × RHA 464). Determine the inheritance of resistance to red sunflower seed weevil conferred by PI 431542 using artificial infestations of adult weevils in a replicated field trial of HA 441/PI 431542 br.//HA 467; subsequently determine the feasibility of mapping this trait.

Funded Amount: $19,996
Benefits of insect pollination to confection sunflowers

Investigator: Jarrad Prasifka, USDA ARS NCSL

Description: To evaluate the benefit of insect pollination for yields of modern confection sunflowers, and to determine if yield increases due to insect pollination vary across growing regions and years. To determine if insect pollination has a relatively greater impact on center seed set, as compared to peripheral whorls, within modern confection sunflowers. To measure the efficacy of different insect pollinators, including honey bees, wild bees, and syrphid flies, in order to develop alternative managed pollinators. 

Funded Amount: $16,500
Efficacy and Economics of Insecticide Seed Treatments for Management of Wireworms and Seed Corn Maggots in Sunflower

Investigators: Adam Varenhorst, South Dakota State University; Janet Knodel, North Dakota State University; and J.P. Michaud, Kansas State University

Description: Wireworms and seed corn maggots are occasional pests of sunflower, but when present they can significantly reduce stands and diminish crop production. In certain locations, other seed- feeding beetles called false wireworms can have equally devastating consequences to sunflower stands, and the effectiveness of insecticide against false wireworms has not been established. The results of this research have the potential to improve management of wireworms and other sunflower insects in areas where they are especially problematic and cause significant losses. The outcomes will include improved knowledge of insecticide efficacy in controlling target pests and an analysis of the net economic benefits to sunflower producers.

Funded Amount: $35,913
Insecticide Effectiveness for Texas-Kansas Sunflower Moth Control

Investigator: Calvin Trostle, Extension Agronomist, Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center

Description:  Determine effectiveness of chlorantraniliprole, the larvicidal active ingredient (Dupont Prevathon; it is also a pre-mixed component of Syngenta’s Besiege) in sunflower moth control compared to traditional pyrethroids (which control adults). Determine effectiveness of flubendiamide active ingredient (Bayer Belt) in sunflower moth control compared to traditional pyrethroids. Test early flower or pre-bloom spray company recommendation of Prevathon vs. historical spray timing recommendations for pyrethroids. Determine economic balance of different insecticides and spray treatments on sunflower yield, quality (in this case test weight and confectionary seed size), and crop value. Provide updated information for a revision of the Texas A&M AgriLife extension sunflower insect guide.

Funded Amount: $16,500
Identifying and mapping modifiers of high oleic and high oleic, low sat fatty acid composition

Investigator: Brent Hulke, USDA ARS

Description: Develop a comprehensive list of candidate genes that correspond to desaturases and other fatty acid genes in sunflower, conduct RNAseq of developing seed tissues from a few lines of interest using next-generation sequencers, and find SNPs and InDels with a high likelihood of directly affecting fatty acid content by concentrating on candidate genes expressed in seed with polymorphism between lines. Develop primers for these SNPs or whole genes that will allow for inexpensive genotyping of 196 released oilseed inbred lines of the USDA sunflower breeding program with known fatty acid composition, as well as one F2 mapping population segregating for the HOLS phenotype in a pure HO genetic background.

Funded Amount: $27,945
Timing of Irrigation for Tall- and Short-Stature Sunflower Hybrids to Help Improve Land Allocation Decisions

Investigators: Freddie Lamm and Rob Aiken, Kansas State University

Description: Little information exists differentiating the timing or irrigation for tall- and short-stature sunflower hybrids. Many producers are coping with marginal capacity wells by planting only a portion of their irrigated area to higher water use crops and are planting stress-tolerant sunflower to the remaining area that will be deficit irrigated. This study will look at the timing of irrigation for three various length periods, centered on the R5 (flowering) sunflower growth stage, comparing tall- and short-stature sunflower under three different irrigation capacities (inches/day). This will help producers make better land allocation decisions, particularly in cases where center pivot sprinklers are split into multiple crops.

Funded Amount: $20,000
Seed Singulation for Precision Planting of Sunflower to Manage a Good Stand and Plant Population

Investigators: Ganesh Bora and John Nowatzki, North Dakota State University

Description: It is important for sunflower producers to have a precision planting tool capable of singulating seed placement with proper depth for good plant stand, avoiding the doubles and skips to maintain proper plant population. Most planters are designed and manufactured to plant other grain crops. The main objective of this project is to design a seed delivery system for seed singulation in order to maintain seed to seed spacing, plant population and optimum depth to establish a good stand of sunflower.

Funded Amount: $19,110
Evaluation of Two Unmanned Aerial System Platforms as Tools for Protecting Sunflower Crops from Blackbird Damage

Investigator: Mark Clark, NDSU, Department of Biological Sciences

Description: Determine the behavioral responses of captive red-winged blackbirds to different strafing approaches by fixed-wing and quadcopter UAS platforms. Determine and compare the effectiveness of fixed-wing and quadcopter UAS platforms as scare devices for deterring wild red-winged blackbirds from sunflower crops.

Funded Amount: $8,500
Development of Confection Sunflower Effectively Resistant to Downy Mildew and Rust

Investigator: Lili Qi and Guojia Ma, USDA-ARS, Fargo

Description: Downy mildew (DM) and rust are an important cause of yield loss in confection sunflower. Unfortunately, no resistant germplasm or commercial hybrids are available in confection sunflower. The objectives of this proposed project are to incorporate DM resistance into confection sunflower, and to pyramid DM and rust resistance genes in a single genetic background. The confection germplasms with DM resistance combined with rust resistance will be provided to the private seed industry for incorporation into finished hybrids.

Funded Amount: $99,940
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