2018 NSA Funded Research
The National Sunflower Association selected and funded the following research projects for the 2018 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.
2018 NSA-Funded Research Projects

Development of Confection Sunflower Effectively Resistant to Downy Mildew
Principal Investigators: Lili Qi and Guojia Ma, USDA ARS
Project Objectives: Downy mildew (DM) is 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 develop molecular detection methods for emerging P. halstedii races, to identify diagnostic DNA markers linked to DM resistance genes, Pl17, Pl18, and Pl19, and to transfer these modern technologies and promising disease resistance materials to stakeholders to accelerate confection sunflower breeding and incorporate into finished hybrids.
Funded Amount: $118,996
Evaluation of Crop and Weed Species as Possible Hosts to the Pathogens Causing Phomopsis Stem Canker on Sunflower
Principal Investigators: Sam Markell, North Dakota State University and Febina Mathew, South Dakota State University.
Project Objectives: The objective of this study is to determine the host range of pathogen species causing Phomopsis stem canker in a ‘natural’ environment with the anticipation that Diaporthe/Phomopsis lesions will occur on multiple weed/crop hosts. Knowledge from this study will allow for improved crop rotation recommendations and the importance of weed/crop hosts that may be serving as a reservoir for the pathogens.
Funded Amount: $16,500
Predicting Phomopsis Stem Canker on Sunflower
Principal Investigators: Febina Mathew, South Dakota State University, Sam Markell, North Dakota State University and Bob Harveson, University of Nebraska, Scottsbluff.  
Project Objectives: This study should provide information on when spores are released by the Phomopsis stem canker pathogens (P. helianthi and P. gulyae) and when they initiate the disease development. This information will help develop a robust disease forecasting system using the data obtained and will provide recommendations to sunflower producers in the region to manage Phomopsis stem canker.
Funded Amount: $30,542
Quantification of Yield Loss from Rhizopus Head Rot in Sunflower
Principal Investigators: Bob Harveson, University of Nebraska, Scottsbluff, Febina Mathew, South Dakota State University, and Sam Markell, North Dakota State University.  
Project Objectives: To effectively evaluate future screening of sunflower lines for resistance, or the positive effects of fungicide applications, it is important to determine and understand the negative implications of Rhizopus infection on yield reductions.  This project will induce disease and document the extent of potential damage to both oil and confection sunflower production under field conditions from multiple geographically and environmentally different locations within sunflower production areas of the Great Plains.  
Funded Amount: $18,000
Evaluating Insecticide Seed Treatments, In-furrow Insecticides and T-band Insecticides for the Management of Early Season Sunflower Insect Pests
Principal Investigators: Adam Varenhorst and Patrick Wagner, South Dakota State University
Project Objectives:  Wireworms and cutworms are occasional pests of sunflower, but when present they can significantly reduce stands and diminish crop production. The results of this research have the potential to improve management of wireworms and cutworms 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: $20,000
Influence of Rainfall on the Timing and Efficacy of PRE/POST Soil Residual Herbicides for Control of Herbicide-Resistant Kochia and Palmer Amaranth
Principal Investigators: Nevin Lawrence, Cody Creech, UNL Extension, John Spring, CSU Extension, Vipan Kumar and Jeanne Falk Jones, KSU 
Project Objectives: The primary goal of this study is to compare the longevity of PRE- applied herbicides options in sunflower and determine the optimal timing of Zidua for extending weed control. Based upon study results, growers will be better equipped to predict the longevity of PRE- applied herbicides and determine how soon after planting Zidua should be applied with the goal of achieving near 100% weed control early in the season. As certain PRE- herbicide options are more effected by poor soil moisture at application, sunflower growers will be able to better determine which herbicide options are best given their environment and the cost of herbicides.
Funded Amount: $32,500
Evaluation of Sunflower Tolerance to Fall Applied Herbicides
Principal Investigators: Brian Jenks and Caleb Dalley, NDSU
Project Objectives: This project will determine if fall-applied 2,4-D and dicamba will injure spring planted crops.  If no injury occurs, and after further testing, the data would be shared with chemical companies to consider a label change.  If safe to use, these herbicides would provide another legal option for growers to control specific weeds in the fall when they are easier to control. 
Funded Amount: $5,000
Early Maturing Sunflower for Double Crop Use in the Central Plains
Principal Investigators: Brent Hulke USDA ARS
Project Objectives: Double cropping has become a popular concept in the Central Plains to avoid loss of productivity and soil degradation that is characteristic of the traditional winter wheat-fallow rotations. Under no-till management, there is often enough residual soil moisture to allow for production of a second crop in the same season. This project will increase the availability and diversity of parental lines with early maturity and adaptation to various climates providing commercial breeding companies and seed producers with an excellent starting point to come to market with hybrids suitable for double crop scenarios. The research will provide both seeds and data that can help to expand sunflower double crop acreage in the Central Plains and beyond, and provide more resources to continue breeding work.
Funded Amount: $18,637
Identification and Mapping of Genetic Factors Affecting the Stability of Oleic Acid in Inbred Lines and Hybrids
Principal Investigators: Brent Hulke and Qing Ming Gao, USDA ARS
Project Objectives: Fatty acid composition has been the key to oilseed sunflower marketing success. This project will deliver suitable markers for sunflower breeders to predict oleic acid level in NuSun and HO hybrids, and provide valuable information for selecting breeding lines with stable oleic acid content. This knowledge will benefit breeders, by improving predictability of hybrid product performance, and producers, by reducing the uncertainty of oleic composition in newly developed high oleic hybrids.
Funded Amount: $21,360
Efficacy of an Avian Repellent (AV-4044) Applied to Sunflower Using Drop Nozzle-Equipped Ground Rigs in Reducing Blackbird Damage
Principal Investigator: Page Klug, USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services
Project Objectives: This project will evaluate efficacy of AV-4044 an AQ-based repellent (Arkion™ Life Sciences, LLC) when applied with drop nozzle technology (360 Yield Center, 360 Undercover®) to the face of ripening sunflower in an open field experiment. The study objectives include evaluation of drop nozzle technology for applying repellent to sunflower, AQ residues on achene and disk flowers after application and before harvest, and efficacy based on damage and sunflower yield.
Funded Amount: $8,000
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