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Sunflower Briefs

Thursday, December 1, 2022
filed under: Sunflower Briefs

Plant Pathologist Mathew Returns to NDSU                               
        Febina MathewFebina Mathew has joined the faculty at North Dakota State University as tenured associate professor and broadleaf and oilseed pathologist.  She had served as field crops pathologist at South Dakota State University for the previous eight years prior to coming back to NDSU, where she had been a graduate student and part-time research specialist in the Department of Plant Pathology and also an academic advisor/lecturer for the Department of Biological Sciences.
        Going forward at NDSU, Mathew has research responsibilities on diseases of sunflower, soybeans, other oilseeds and pulse crops.  She’ll continue her longtime research focus on Phomopsis stem canker and other sunflower diseases alongside NDSU plant pathologist Sam Markell and other university researchers and extension specialists, as well as personnel at the USDA-ARS Sunflower and Plant Biology Unit in Fargo.  Mathew additionally will teach a course called Plant Disease Management to NDSU graduate and undergraduate students.
        Mathew received a B. Tech degree in biotechnology and biochemical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India.  She later earned M.S. and Ph.D degrees in plant pathology from North Dakota State University prior to joining the faculty at SDSU in Brookings in August 2014.
Private Equity Firm Buys SunOpta Sunflower
        Private equity firm Pacific Avenue Capital Partners has purchased SunOpta Inc.’s sunflower and roasted snacks business for $16 million.  The acquisition includes three SunOpta facilities based in Crookston and Breckenridge, Minn., and Grace City, N.D., which will now operate as Sunrich Products LLC.
        The transaction also includes, hybrid seed development activities, a collaborative program with independent sunflower growers, and relationships with an extensive set of customers in the food ingredients, snack food and birdseed markets.  Kent Johnson, general manager of Sunrich, becomes chief executive officer. He is joined by the rest of Sunrich’s leadership team and employee base.
Beyond® Xtra Herbicide Available for 2023
        BASF has introduced a new weed control option called Beyond® Xtra.  Beyond® and Raptor® have always contained the same chemistry.  Beyond Xtra herbicide combines Beyond and Raptor into one do-it-all label.  It will be available for all crops labeled for Beyond and Raptor, including sunflower, for the 2023 growing season.
Final Export Levels for 2021/22 Marketing Year
        The U.S. Census Bureau has released final export figures for the 2021/22 marketing year.  Sunflower oil exports are up 24% from a year ago, from 45,180 metric tons (MT) to 56,242 MT for the period of October 2021 to September 2022.  Canada remains the top importer, importing 40,498 MT, up 53% from the previous marketing year.  Mexico is the number two destination, importing 7,268 MT during the 2021/22 period.
        Exports of sunflower kernel were down 25% from a year ago, from 5,510 MT in 2020/21 to 4,078 MT from October 2021 to September 2022.  Canada remains the top importer of U.S. sunflower kernel, importing 2,022 MT.  In-shell exports decreased 23%, from 23,834 MT to 18,126 MT, during October 2021 to September 2022.  Mexico was the top importer of U.S. in-shell sunflower, importing 6,743 MT, with Spain a close second at 5,765 MT during the 12-month period.
2023 NSA Research Forum Is January 11-12
        Registration is open for the 2023 NSA Sunflower Research Forum, scheduled for January 11 and 12 at the Holiday Inn in Fargo, N.D.  Visit 2023 Research Forum on the NSA website ( to register for the Forum at the early bird price of $130.  Hotel information is available there as well.
        The 2023 event will be the 45th annual Sunflower Research Forum.  Presentations from past forums dating back to 2008 are available at  Click on “Research” to be directed to individual papers from each year’s event.

Colorado No-Till Conference Set for Feb. 7-8
        The Colorado Conservation Tillage Association’s 2023 High Plains No-Till Conference is scheduled for February 7 and 8 in Burlington, Colo.  Along with keynote speakers Jim Gerrish, Jason Mauch and Don Day, Jr., there’ll be more than 45 learning sessions on soil health, no-till, regenerative grazing and farm business management.  Visit
South Dakota Sunflower Production Book
        Best Management Practices for Sunflower Production, a fully illustrated book published earlier this year by the South Dakota State University Extension and the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, in cooperation with the South Dakota Oilseeds Council, remains available for online viewing and downloading.  The book contains 14 chapters relating to sunflower’s management and pests.  Editors were Febina Mathew, Ruth Beck, Patrick Wagner and Adam Varenhorst, with contributions from other South Dakota university specialists and South Dakota producers.
        Go to to access the publication.     
KSU Develops Crop?Water Allocator App
        Kansas agriculture has been impacted significantly by the drought conditions across the state, but Kansas State University water resources engineer Jonathan Aguilar said a web-based application can help farmers plan for the future. The K-State Mobile Irrigation Lab includes a crop water allocator to help farmers with limited water resources maximize their return. With this new tool, farmers can decide the best crop combinations for their fields, and then estimate net returns.
        “This crop water allocator pushes the model toward the net return, so most of the inputs here could be modified toward their own local operation,” Aguilar said. He recommends ‘playing’ with the application to understand its function and decide which scenarios work best for an individual operation.
        For example: Inputs could be modified to change the price of the commodity, (projecting) that the price will be better next year, or that the price is going to go down. Changing the seeding rate, the nutrient, or the fertilizer that’s going to be applied, you could change the labor cost, your yield goal, how many acres are going to be planted with a type of crop, and the water allocation. Completely customizable, this tool helps producers plan their goals and make decisions based on current conditions and future predictions. Any number of scenarios could be tested online to fit an individual producer’s goals.
        “If you only have a water allocation of five inches in western Kansas, that typically will not get through a corn crop,” Aguilar said. “So, you would be better off going through either grain sorghum or wheat in that scenario. But if you have more water than that, then you have more flexibility in terms of looking at what kind of crops that you would be able to put in your field or sub-divide your fields into four sections.”
        More information on the crop water allocator application is available online, or from local extension offices in Kansas.
2023 Summer Seminar Set for Spearfish
          The 2023 NSA Summer Seminar is scheduled for June 27-29 in Spearfish, S.D.  More details will be available on the NSA website and in The Sunflower as the event draws closer.
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