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Sunflower Briefs

Wednesday, March 30, 2022
filed under: Sunflower Briefs

Tom Gulya to Receive 2022 NSA Gold Award
Tom Gulya        Dr. Thomas (Tom) Gulya has been named the 2022 NSA Gold Award winner.  While based at Fargo, N.D., Gulya was the sole USDA pathologist working on sunflower for more than 35 years.  As such, his research sought resistance to any and all sunflower pathogens threatening the U.S. crop, including downy mildew, rust, Verticillium, Phomopsis and Sclerotinia.  When resistance was less than effective, he identified fungicides to complement resistance, and this led to the registration of two seed treatments for downy mildew. 
        Diseases affecting sunflower are worldwide, and Gulya cooperated with researchers in many countries, often hosting them for months at his lab.  This international cooperation was recognized with the Pustovoit Award from the International Sunflower Association in 2016.
Confection Processors Seek More Acres in ’22
        Recovering demand after Covid shutdowns has confection processors looking to add 2022 acres.  Confection sunflower has been one of the highest return-per-acre options available for several years and has been setting new market highs following the current rally in grain prices.  Processors are currently offering 2022 Act of God (AOG) production contracts starting at a minimum of $40.00 and upwards per cwt.  The crop insurance price guarantee for this year is $40.50, the highest price since 2011.                                    
        With current dry conditions across much of the main growing region, confections offer a good alternative for growers to consider based on lower moisture needs and input costs.  Clearfield® and ExpressSun® confection hybrids are available. To talk to processors about contracting opportunities, go to the ‘Buyers and Sellers’ link on the NSA website,
Proper Spring Grain Drying & Storage Reminder
        As outdoor temperatures increase, stored grain requires attention to prevent losses, reminds Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University Extension agricultural engineer and grain drying expert. The stored grain temperature increases in the spring not only due to an increase in outdoor temperatures, but also due to solar heat gain on the bin.  Solar energy produces more than twice as much heat gain on the south wall of a bin in early spring as it does during the summer.  Here are some recommendations from Hellevang:
        •  Run aeration fans periodically to keep the grain temperature near or below 30 degrees until the grain is dried if it exceeds recommended storage moisture contents, and below 40 degrees as long as possible during spring and early summer if it is dry.
        •  Cover the fan when it is not operating to prevent warm air from blowing into the bin and heating the stored grain.  Hellevang also recommends ventilating the top of the bin to remove the solar heat gain that warms the grain.  Provide air inlets near the eaves and exhausts near the peak or use a roof exhaust fan.
        •  Bin vents can become blocked with frost and ice when the fan is operated at temperatures near or below freezing, which may lead to damage to the roof.  Leave the fill and access door open as a pressure relief valve when operating the fan at temperatures near or below freezing.
        •  Natural air drying for oil sunflower requires an airflow rate of 0.75 cfm/bu for up to 15% moisture.  The drying should start when outdoor temperatures average about 40 degrees. Visit ‘Drying & Storing Sunflower’ at for more information.
Hybrid Sunflower Seed Supplies Still Plentiful
        Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a dramatic surge in new-crop NuSun and high-oleic sunflower prices as crush plants continue to offer cash and Act of God contracts for 2022 production.  The U.S. and Canada have an excellent opportunity to supply additional sunflower oil to the market that will be lost due to the Black Sea trade disruptions.  The National Sunflower Association office has received calls from growers looking for hybrid planting seed for this growing season.  Seed supplies are still plentiful, and there is still time to place an order to put in acres this growing season to take advantage of this exceptional market opportunity.  Hybrid seed suppliers can be found on the ‘Buyers and Sellers’ link on the NSA website,
February Sunflower Production Confab Video Link Available
        If you missed the February 1st ‘2022 Getting-it-Right in Sunflower Production’ video conference, you can now access it online. Topics covered included hybrid selection, what has been learned from the fall 2021 sunflower survey, plant nutrient and soil management, updates for weed, disease and insect management, and sunflower marketing.  The program was conducted by North Dakota State University Extension. Recording and resources are available at  Scroll to the conference video section and click the sunflower meeting link.  Each individual talk has its own video clip.  Additional publications and resources are available under the sunflower conference resources.
New Multi-Seed Processing Plant Planned in South Dakota
        In February, South Dakota Soybean Processors, LLC (SDSP) announced plans to construct a multi-seed processing plant near Mitchell, S.D.  The plant will have the capacity to process soybean and sunflower. According to SDSP Chief Executive Officer Tom Kersting, “The increasing demand for vegetable oil is driving the expansion of soybean processing in the United States.  A plant with the ability to also process high-oilseed crops such as sunflower (which can produce twice as much oil per acre than soybeans) significantly reduces the risk of the project and puts the plant in a much better position for long-term success.”  Operation is expected to begin in 2025.  SDSP management noted that engineering, permitting and negotiations with state and local officials are still needed to finalize the project.
2022 NSA Forum Presentations
        Power Point presentations of all the reports given at the 2022 Sunflower Research Forum can now be found on the NSA website under the ‘Research’ tab.  Visit ‘2022’ ( to see this year’s presentations.  Researchers from North and South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado and Florida presented papers and posters on their work.  For a historical look, presentations dating back to 2008 are available on the NSA website as well.
2021 Crop Quality Report Online
        The 2021 U.S. Sunflower Crop Quality Report is now available on the NSA website. To view the report, follow this link to the website:
        The U.S. Sunflower Crop Quality Report is produced annually by the National Sunflower Association.  The report contains useful information about sunflower acreage and production, confection and oil-type seed quality, mid-oleic and high-oleic oil quality analysis and oil traits, product specifications, oil trading rules, statistics on marketing the crop, world and U.S. supply and demand tables, sunflower oil and meal exports for the United States and other related topics.
S.D. Pest Management Guides
          SDSU Extension has released its 2022 South Dakota Pest Management Guides. Available for free on the SDSU Extension website, the guides provide updated recommendations for controlling weeds, insects and diseases in sunflower.  The guides also provide a comprehensive index of the pesticides labeled for South Dakota fields.
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