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Sunflower Briefs

Thursday, March 21, 2019
filed under: Sunflower Briefs

2018 U.S. Crop Totals 2.12 Billion Lbs.                                                  
       USDA’s final estimate of 2018 U.S. sunflower crop, released on February 8, placed the nation’s total production at 2.12 billion lbs, just slightly below the 2017 output of 2.14 billion lbs.  Of that total, oil-type sunflower comprised 1.9 billion lbs, up 3% from 2017.  Nonoil production last year totaled 220 million lbs, down 24% from the 2017 level of 290 million.
       South Dakota again led the nation in sunflower production last year, producing 975.3 million lbs, of which 887.6 million were oils. North Dakota’s 2018 crop came in at 739.4 million lbs, of which 665 million were oil.
       The average estimated yield of the 2018 U.S. sunflower crop was 1,731 lbs/ac, well above 2017’s average of 1,603 lbs/ac.  At 1,726 lbs/ac, the average oil-type sunflower yield was 9% higher than that of 2017.  The average nonoil yield of 1,781 lbs/ac was slightly above the 2017 level of 1,750 lbs.
       Harvested acreage totaled 1.22 million this past season, down 8% from 2017.  The only states with more harvested sunflower acres in 2018 versus the previous year were Minnesota (up 40%) and California (up 10%). 
       Click here to see the full 2018 production report. 
Minnesota Posts Record Sunflower Yields
       Minnesota had a great sunflower crop last year with some reported yields as high as 3,500 lbs/ac.  In its February-released 2018 crop production report, USDA?placed the Minnesota average oil-type yield at 2,250 lbs/ac, a record high and 300 lbs/ac above 2017. The nonoil yield was also a record high in Minnesota at 2,150 lbs/ac, topping the previous high by 200 lbs.
       “What is especially impressive about those numbers is that we had a long dry spell in Northwest Minnesota where much of the state's sunflower crop is grown,” says Kevin Capistran, Crookston, Minn., producer and past-chairman of the National Sunflower Association Board of Directors.  “Essentially, it didn’t rain for about six weeks in July and August; yet we still had a very good quality crop and very little disease.  I think that goes to show that if we can take care of the disease issues we’ve battled in the past, we can grow a really good sunflower crop year after year.”
       Minnesota was the third largest state in terms of total sunflower production. The state’s sunflower production increased 67% from 2017 to 2018.  Minnesota producers planted more sunflower acres in 2018 as well.  Planted acres increased 36% from 38,700 acres in 2017 to 52,500 in 2018; of that, 45,000 were oil-type sunflower while 7,500 were nonoil. 
2019 Research Presentations Online
       PowerPoint presentations of all the oral reports given at the National Sunflower Association’s 2019 Sunflower Research Forum, held in Fargo, N.D., in January, can now be found on the NSA website under the “research” tab. Click here to see this year’s presentations.  
       For a historical look, all the NSA?Sunflower Research Forum presentations dating back to 2008 are available there as well.  Researchers from North and South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado, Texas and Iowa presented papers and posters on their work at the 2019 Forum.
Kevin Capistran, Minnesota; Clark Coleman,
North Dakota; Lance Hourigan, South Dakota;
Karl Esping, Kansas
NSA Leaders Travel to Washington, D.C.
       Members of the National Sunflower Association’s board of directors traveled to Washington, D.C., in early March to make the case for NSA priorities in the nation’s capital.  The NSA representatives made visits to members of Congress from Kansas, Minnesota, North and South Dakota about farm bill implementation, Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations and enactment of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.  In addition, the group met with officials from the USDA-APHIS/Wildlife Services to discuss blackbird depredation concerns; to the USDA Risk Management Agency to address quality adjustments for conoil sunflower; and to the USDA Agricultural Research Service to support the National Sclerotinia Initiative.
NSA?Again Offering Curt Stern Scholarship 
       The National Sunflower Association is seeking applicants for the Curtis Stern Memorial Scholarship.  In tribute to the dedicated work of Curtis Stern, an industry advocate and former NSA board member, the NSA Board of Directors established a memorial scholarship in his name.  Funds assist students who study in the field of agriculture with a special emphasis on sunflower production, promotion or research.  Preference will be given to students who are in their last two years of undergraduate studies or in graduate level studies and have maintained at least a cumulative 3.0 GPA on a 4.0=A scale. 
       Application deadline is April 1.  A total of $5,000 is available for the scholarship this year.  Applications can be submitted online. Click here to apply.  Contact Tina Mittelsteadt at with any questions.
FMC to Sponsor Scholarship Fundraiser
       The National Sunflower Association is pleased to announce FMC will be sponsoring this year’s Curtis Stern Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser.  The fundraiser is an annual tradition held during the NSA Summer Seminar.  The fun event gives participants a chance to win great prizes while contributing to the scholarship fund. This year’s fundraiser is Tuesday, June 25, in Medora, N.D.
N. Dakota County Sunflower Election Results
       North Dakota county representatives were elected in three of the state’s seven sunflower districts in February. All county reps became eligible for the district election and to serve on the NSA’s Board of Directors for a three-year term. District elections are being held in Districts 1, 6 and 7 in March.  Here are the details:
  • District 1 election March 21 at 11 a.m. at the Walsh County Extension Building in Park River, N.D.
    • Cavalier County:?Paul Boesl, Langdon
    • Nelson County: Scott Nelson, Lakota (current district rep)
    • Pembina County: Craig Sharp, Hamilton
  • District 6 election will be March 19 at noon at the Ward County Administration Building, Minot, N.D.
    • McLean County: Eugene Wirtz, Underwood
    • Mountrail County: Keith Meiers, Ross
    • Ward County: Cale Neshem, Berthold
    • Williams County: T.J. Halverson, Tioga
  • District 7 election March 26 at 1 p.m. at the Ramada Grand Dakota in Dickinson, N.D.
    • Adams County: Steve Wegner, Reeder
    • Grant County: Terry Nagel, Carson
    • Billings County: Bill Kessel, Belfield
    • Bowman County: Jeff Brown, Scranton
    • Hettinger County: Josh Greff, Regent
    • Mercer County: Dean Knell, Hazen
    • Oliver County:?Lonnie Henke, Hannover
    • Slope County:?Mike Hansen, Bowman
    • Stark County: Art Ridl, Dickinson (current district rep)
National Sclerotinia Initiative Meets in Fargo
       Representatives of the National Sunflower Association attended the annual National Sclerotinia Initiative meeting, held March 14 and 15 in Fargo, N.D.  The Initiative supports projects aimed at neutralizing white mold’s economic threat to seven different crops: sunflower, soybean, canola, edible dry beans, chickpeas, lentils and dry peas. The Sclerotinia consortium of federal and state university scientists includes 10 commodity groups and is led by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the USDA’s chief scientific research agency.
Reminder: Monitor Moisture of Binned Seeds
       If you have some of last year’s sunflower crop stored in bins, a short reminder here to make sure you keep an eye on the seeds’ moisture level.  The maximum recommended moisture content for stored sunflower is 9.5% through the winter months and 8% if the storage period is longer than about six months.  It’s also important to check the sunflower weekly, making sure to check the seeds, not the bin.  Check by getting into the storage each time and walk, feel, smell and probe the seeds. Remember: walking around in filled bins can be dangerous, so take extra precautions. Click here for more storage tips.
Sign Up for NSA?E-Publications
       Would you like to get a link to a digital copy of Sunflower Highlights each week in your email?  It’s easy! Click here to sign up. And for sunflower prices at various locations, click here.
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