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EVERY FIELD IS A MYSTERY. WE’LL HELP YOU SOLVE IT. Success depends on not just seed, but also on expertise.That’s why CROPLAN GENETICS® seed agronomists go beyond seed to give you a customized sunflower selection that can tackle your field’s unique challenges. Let us help make your season a success. Call us today, or visit © 2012 Winfield Solutions, LLC. CROPLAN GENETICS is a registered trademark of Winfield Solutions, LLC.

Publisher — National Sunflower Association Editor — John Sandbakken NSA Communications Director — Sonia Mullally Contributing Writer/Editor — Don Lilleboe Advertising Manager — Lerrene Kroh The Sunflower is published six times per year by the National Sunflower Association, a farmer and industry organization working to improve the profitability of sunflower for all sectors. Farmer checkoff commissions/ councils in N.D., S.D., Minn., Kan., and Colo., make up NSA’s basic funding and governing structure. Assessments on volume in the oilseed and confection processing industries and the hybrid seed sector are key funding components, with other funding from grants, including USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Offices for The Sunflower are located at NSA headquarters, 2401 46th Ave. S.E., Ste. 206, Mandan, ND 58554. NSA & magazine phone number is (701) 328-5100; toll free (888) 718-7033. U.S. farmers raising 10 or more acres of sunflower, extension agents, and public researchers can receive The Sunflower at no charge. Others may subscribe at these rates: North American residents, US $15.00 for one year or US $40.00 for three years; overseas air mail, US $50.00 per year. Information in The Sunflower does not necessarily represent the views or policies of the National Sunflower Association. Nor does advertising in The Sunflower imply endorsement by the publisher. NSA is an equal opportunity provider and employer without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion or disability. Current NSA officers and directors are: Chairman Don Schommer, Munich, N.D. President Tom Young, Onida, S.D. First Vice President Kevin Capistran, Crookston, Minn. Second Vice President Art Ridl, Dickinson, N.D. Secretary/Treasurer John Swanson, Mentor, Minn Directors Steve Arnhalt, Breckenridge, Minn. Brad Bonhorst, Fort Pierre, S.D. Guy Christensen, Enderlin, N.D. Clark Coleman, Bismarck, N.D. Karl Esping, Lindsborg, Kan. Todd Lasher, McClusky, N.D. Kent McKay, Carpio, N.D. Jeff Oberholtzer, Mohall, N.D. Tyler Schultz, West Fargo, N.D. Ron Seidel, Meadow, S.D. Dean Sonnenberg, Fleming, Colo. Ben Vig, Sharon, N.D. Arnold Woodbury, Wyndmere, N.D. Leon Zimbelman, Keenesburg, Colo.

Executive Director John Sandbakken, Mandan, N.D.

Vol. 38 No. 4


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Aug/Sept 2012

Page 22

— FEATURES — Next Mktg. Year Likely to Redefine ‘Inelastic Demand’ . . . . 6 Crop production issues mean enormous job of rationing

High-Oleic Sun Oil: Soon to Become the Standard? . . . . . . . 8 Industry seems ready to move beyond NuSun

Combine Fire Research Progresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 SDSU ag engineers search for better understanding, solutions

Farm Bill Drama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 A review of what Congress did — and didn’t do — prior to recessing

Harvest Attachments & Conversion Kits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 An overview of what’s available

‘Clearfield Plus’ Poised to Replace ‘Clearfield’ . . . . . . . . . 22 2nd generation of tech system offers more herbicide tolerance

Association Bids Farewell to Retiring Board Members . . . 24 Comments from longtime directors Tim DeKrey, John McLean

Chippery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Canadian potato chip firm has innovative approach — with sun oil

Sunflower Briefs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 30 Years Ago in The Sunflower . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 COVER — Photo: Don Lilleboe

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012


Sunflower Briefs

Kleingartner Receives NSA Gold Award

Larry Kleingartner, retired executive director of the National Sunflower Association, was presented with the NSA Gold Award during the group’s annual Summer Seminar in June. The Gold Award, bestowed upon individuals who have contributed extraordinarily to the overall sunflower industry, is the Association’s highest award. Kleingartner was instrumental in starting the combined industry- Larry & Nancy Kleingartner grower organization known as the National Sunflower Association in 1981 and served as it executive director until retiring in December of 2011.

Stone This Year’s NSA Scholarship Recipient

North Dakota State University graduate student Alison Stone is the recipient of a $2,400 Curt Stern Memorial Scholarship from the National Sunflower Association. The award was presented her at the 2012 NSA Summer Seminar in June. Stone, an M.S. degree candidate in the NDSU Plant Sciences Department, is conducting research within the USDA-ARS Sunflower and Plant Biology Research Unit in Fargo. Her current project with Dr. Brent Hulke is looking at whether sunflower breeders have been successful tailoring different hybrids to various environments. Originally from Lakeville, Minn., Stone Alison Stone received her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota at Crookston majoring in agricultural business with a minor in agronomy. After living in Eureka, S.D., for five years while working as a sales agronomist for CHS, she

decided to return to school in order to further her career in the sunflower industry. With plans to graduate with her master’s degree in December of 2013, Stone would like to work in the Upper Midwest in a breeding program within the sunflower industry.

New Herbicide Approved for Sunflower

This past spring, FMC announced the release of BroadAxeTM herbicide, a potent new tool in the fight against weeds in sunflower. This new herbicide merges the two active ingredients in Spartan and Dual Magnum into one product, providing growers with pre-emergence control of grass and broadleaf weeds without the need for tank mixing. The application is early, up to 14 days preplant, to pre-emergence up to three days after planting. The synergy of this mixture offers nearly complete control of some of the real troublesome weeds, such as pigweeds and kochia as well as green and yellow foxtail, barnyardgrass, Russian thistle and common lambsquarters.

Warren New Colo. Sunflower Committee President

The nine-member Colorado Sunflower Administrative Committee (CSAC) has voted to appoint board member Brad Warren of Keenesburg, Colo., as its new president. Warren, who has been farming for 15 years, is a 4th generation Colorado farmer who plants sunflower, wheat and corn. A member of the CSAC since the fall of 2011, he succeeds Leon Zimbelman, who had served as president since CSAC’s beginning in 2001. Zimbelman stepped down from that position earlier this year.

Colorado Assessment Will Not Increase

The proposed increase in the Colorado sunflower assessment did not pass. The Colorado Sunflower Administrative Committee (CSAC) received a letter informing them that of the 681 ballots mailed to Colorado sunflower producers, 77 valid ballots were counted. Of those, 44 indicated a “No” vote and 33 had voted “Yes” in regard to the assessment. The CSAC had proposed an increase from the current $0.03/cwt. to up to $0.06/cwt.

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THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

Work Continues to Eliminate Sclerotinia

U.S. sunflower researchers continue to aggressively pursue solutions to Sclerotinia in 2012. The National Sclerotinia Initiative approved an allocation of $375,257 for sunflower research projects for this year. The Initiative was created by Congress 10 years ago to reduce the impact of this disease on sunflower and other crops. Sunflower researchers located at the USDA-ARS Northern Crop Science Laboratory in Fargo, N.D., have been approaching the disease from a number of angles, including genetics and fungicides. The incorporation of genes from wild annual and perennial sunflower relatives is one of the key strategies for developing resistance. Identifying resistance includes laboratory, greenhouse and field testing. The many cooperating scientists in this extensive project are located at universities in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota, Canada and other USDA-ARS laboratories. It is a project of immense importance to the success of U.S. agriculture in general and sunflower in particular. The Initiative supports numerous scientists, graduate students and research technicians. Researchers agree that more progress has been made on this disease in the past five years than the last 50 years combined.

SoL Expands into Large Supermarket Chain

Sunrich Natural’s® non-dairy beverage SoL can now be found in Giant Eagle supermarkets throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia and Maryland. More than 130 stores have begun stocking SoL Sunflower Beverage in their nondairy beverage aisles. Giant Eagle, Inc., is one of the nation’s largest food retailers and distributors and the number one supermarket retailer in the region. SoL, introduced to the marketplace last fall, is made from sun-

flower seeds sourced from American farms. It is naturally free of the eight most common food allergens — including soy, dairy, wheat and tree nuts — making it a choice for the allergin-free consumer. Sunrich Naturals is a SunOpta brand.

GMO Labeling Likely Going Before Calif. Voters

A proposal that would require labels indicating the food contains genetically modified ingredients could go before California voters. If required signatures submitted by a group called California Right to Know are verified, the measure will be on the ballot in November in that state. The movement for GMO labeling seems to be gaining nationally. Earlier this year, the Washington-based Center for Food Safety submitted a petition with more than a million signatures to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration calling for mandatory nationwide labeling. Proposals, similar to the one in California, are in the works in 19 states, but have yet to move forward. For now, all eyes will be on the pending labeling law vote in California. ■

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arkets Next Marketing Year Likely to Redefine Meaning of ‘Inelastic Demand’ By Mike Krueger


uly temperatures across the U.S. were the hottest ever, eclipsing the previous alltime highs for July set back in 1936. That heat was the “coup d’état” for U.S. corn and soybeans as the drought of 2012 got worse instead of better as the summer wore on. The result was unprecedented yield reductions for corn and soybeans in the July and August USDA estimates. The August 10th USDA production estimates slashed corn production a whopping 2.2 billion bushels and soybean production by an equally startling 358 million bushels. The projected corn yield of 123.4 bushels per acre will be the smallest since 1995. Corn ending supplies are projected to be 650 million bushels, the smallest in many years and the equivalent of “bin bottoms.” Soybean ending supplies are also forecast to be at “bin bottom” levels of just 115 million bushels.

It will take high prices over an extended period of time to accomplish the rationing process. The U.S. drought follows a terrible production season in South America, where soybean production in Brazil and Argentina fell far below expectations. It was the poor South American soybean crop that sponsored the first leg of the 2012 rally in commodity prices because U.S. soybean supplies were already extremely tight and demand from China continues to expand. There was simply no room for error in Northern Hemisphere crop production. Hot and dry weather also plagued the Black Sea


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region, with Russia’s wheat production sharply lower than expected. The result of the world’s crop production troubles has been new all-time high prices for corn and soybeans and big price gains for every other crop, including sunflower. The U.S. and the world will be faced with an enormous job of rationing. It will take high prices over an extended period of time to accomplish the rationing process. The 2012/13 marketing year will likely redefine the meaning of “inelastic demand.” The USDA was forced to make major cuts in demand to prevent ending supply estimates from going negative. The problem is these demand cuts are on paper. It is the market’s job to transform the paper cuts into reality. No one knows for certain what price levels are necessary to accomplish this rationing. USDA reduced the U.S. soybean crushing and export forecasts to maintain a minimum level of soybean ending supplies. A reduced crush means reduced soybean oil production, and that was reflected in the August USDA report. U.S. soybean oil ending supplies are now expected to be cut by nearly 40% down to 1.295 million pounds. World soybean oil ending supplies are projected to drop by nearly one third from the 2011/12 marketing year. This should translate into strong world vegetable oil prices, including sunflower oil. Sunflower production in the EU and the Ukraine will be smaller than expected because of dry weather. The Northern Plains of the U.S., where most of the sunflower production is located, fared much better with the drought than the central and southern Corn Belt, and sunflower yields in this region should be average or better. USDA will not release a U.S. sunflower production estimate until October. There will be wide-ranging implications from the U.S. drought and sharply reduced corn and soybean production coupled with a declining world wheat crop. Markets will remain very volatile, but prices should also remain at very high levels, at least until there is some certainty that soybean production in South America will rebound significantly in 2013. In fact, the soybean market is already anticipating record soybean crops in both Brazil and Argentina three to four months before those crops are even planted. It will also mean the market will again need more planted acres of every crop and strong yields to rebuild supplies. ■ Mike Krueger is owner of The Money Farm, a Casselton, N.D.-based grain marketing consulting firm. While the information in this article is believed to be reliable, marketing involves risk, and the author and The Sunflower

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

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High-Oleic Sun Oil Soon to Become the Standard? Industry Seems Poised to Move Beyond NuSun To Seize Health-Driven Market Opportunities

chronicling the negative health effects of those characteristics. The snack food sector — especially industry giant Frito-Lay — was particularly interested in the development and availability of healthier vegetable oils for its products. Into that environment came NuSun, a mid-oleic oil with a saturated fat content of just 9% (compared to 11% for traditional sun oil, 13% for corn oil, 15% for soybean oil and 27% for cottonseed oil). NuSun’s oleic content, which ran in the 55-70% range, made it a very stable frying oil, one not requiring hydrogenation. So since the latter 1990s, the “public face” of sunflower oil in the United States has been NuSun — and it has been a definite success story. During the five-year period of 2006/07 through 2010/11, domestic sun oil usage has averaged 550 million pounds per year. That compares with just below 174 million pounds annually for the period of 1993/94 through 1997/98. Of course, farmers were not about to grow NuSun varieties unless they performed as well as, or better than, traditional sunflower varieties. Seed companies were full participants in the transition, developing NuSun hybrids that had the complete package: acceptable yield, good oil content and other necessary agronomic traits, such as disease resistance. Today, every mainline sunflower seed company offers high-performing NuSun varieties.


itled “Dawn Breaking on the ‘NuSun’ Era,” an article in the January 1998 issue of The Sunflower began with the following words: “If the term ‘NuSun’ is not already ingrained in your mind, it soon will be — and with good reason. NuSun™ is the name which has been given to the mid-oleic (monounsaturated) sunflower oil contained in hybrids which will be grown on about 100,000 acres in 1998 and an anticipated 500,000 acres the following year. It is expected that NuSun hybrids eventually will be grown on most oil-type sunflower acreage in the United States.” That expectation, as we now know, rang true in an emphatic manner. As of 2003, NuSun varieties comprised 55% of U.S. oiltype sunflower acreage; by 2007, it was in the 85-90% range. “Traditional” highlinoleic sunflower oil, the industry’s mainstay since the latter 1960s, had assumed a


distinct second place in the U.S. sun oil arena. What prompted this dramatic shift? It was all about market share, present and future. For a number of years prior to the latter 1990s, the U.S. sunflower industry was heavily dependent upon export markets for most of its oil sales. During the period between market years 1980/81 through 1994/95, export sales of U.S. sunflower oil always outpaced domestic usage — and often by a very wide margin. Having most of its eggs in the export basket was not, it was generally agreed, in the best long-term interest of the nation’s sunflower industry. That view coincided, during the 1990s, with domestic food processors’ expanding interest in and desire for healthier oils — ones lower in saturated fats, reduced transfatty acids and minus the need for hydrogenation. This interest was spawned by considerable research and wide publicity

lthough the NuSun era is still going strong, it now appears that the U.S. sunflower industry is once again poised for a major shift in the predominant type of oil it wants to offer the marketplace. The promising new star, waiting in the wings as of 2012, is high-oleic sunflower oil. High-oleic sun oil actually has been around since the mid-1980s, though for several years its production was restricted to just one company due to patent issues. Today, most sunflower seed suppliers offer at least one or two (sometimes more) higholeic hybrids. But to date, it essentially has fed a “niche” market, covering a relatively small acreage compared to NuSun varieties. The big difference between high-oleic sun oil and NuSun oil is the level of oleic (monounsaturated) acid. Whereas NuSun typically hovers in the 60-65% range, high oleic has a minimum of 80%. In terms of saturated fat, high-oleic sun oil comes in at about 7% — the same as the industry standard for this category, canola oil. (NuSun’s saturated fat level runs around 9%, which is still an improvement over corn or soybean.) That low-sat fat level is the basis for the intensifying interest in moving the U.S. oil sunflower industry beyond the NuSun era and into one in which high oleic is the dominant form of sunflower oil. Why? The motive is similar to that which prompted the

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

industry to move toward NuSun back in the 1990s: supply what the market wants. “The market is always evolving,” notes Guy Christensen, longtime oilseed marketing representative for Northern Sun-ADM at Enderlin, N.D. A major reason why, he pointed out during a panel discussion at the 2012 National Sunflower Association Summer Seminar, is the accumulated research on the benefits/downsides on various types of vegetable oils — and the evolving public perception of what’s healthy and what’s not, in terms of the oils they consume. As of 2012, it’s all about saturated fat and trans fat. For both, the current consensus calls for lowering them as much as possible. “Today’s thinking is, ‘Don’t cut out all the fat; but replace the saturated fats with monos and polys (polyunsaturates),’ ” Christensen stated. “It’s the healthy fats that we’re looking for.” Current “heart healthy” alternatives to hydrogenated/highsat fat oils generally offer two key benefits: (1) zero trans fat and (2) saturated fat levels below 7%. To be successful commercially, they also must be very stable (for extended shelf life and fry life) and have superior (i.e., neutral) taste characteristics. To date, the leader of the healthy pack has been canola oil. Its 7% sat fat has been a tremendous advantage in the marketplace. While NuSun has been a distinct success for the sunflower industry, the increasing market demand for zero trans fat and as-low-aspossible saturated fat levels has convinced many within the sunflower sector that higholeic oil is the best option for maintaining and growing market share down the road. John Swanson, a 40-year veteran of the sunflower seed industry and secretary/treasurer of the NSA Board of Directors, believes the big question is not whether to transition from NuSun to high oleic, but rather, “What can we do as an industry to make this work?” That question encompasses several fronts: “What does the consumer want? What does the processor want? What will work on the farm? It has to be a win:win situation,” Swanson emphasized at the 2012 Summer Seminar. Tyler Schultz, manager of the Cargill multi-seed processing plant at West Fargo, N.D., another panel member at the NSA Summer Seminar, stressed the need for balance in the transition to a high-oleic focus — a balance not unlike that required in the 1990s when the industry switched over to NuSun. “We need to have a cost-competitive product,” he stated. “How do we find that balance between giving the grower a good return, but also having oil prices that can be competitive in the marketplace?” In his company’s view, Schultz observed, the key will be to increase yields in order to give growers the returns they need to keep sunflower in rotations. While sunflower yields generally have trended upward

Saturated Fat Content (%) — Major Oils High-Oleic Sun NuSun Omega-9* Sun CV 65 Canola Omega 9 Canola Vistive Gold** Soy Plenish# High-Oleic Soy Corn Standard Soy Low-Linoleic Soy Cottonseed 0







* DowAgroSciences product, under development; ** Monsanto product, under development; # From soybean varieties developed by Pioneer Hi-Bred.

over the past 10-15 years, the rate of increase has not kept pace with that of corn or soybeans. “I think the biggest thing — the most challenging — is to get the yield up and see a trend line similar to corn,” he said. “We believe most NuSun oil users can and will use high oleic; but it needs to be

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

price competitive with high-oleic canola, with corn, and with the other options they have,” Schultz concluded. DowAgroSciences is on the cutting edge of the curve. In the summer of 2011, the company unveiled its development of a trans-fat-free and ultra-low saturated fat


sunflower oil called Omega-9. This primarily oleic oil, which contains total saturates of just 3%, is expected to hit the commercial market by 2014 or 2015. Omega-9 is the only existing U.S. veg oil qualifying for the “zero fat” label, based on a 14g serving size, said Asim Syed, Dow AgroSciences’ head of global food applications R&D, another speaker at this summer’s NSA event. Along with its extremely low saturated fat level, the oil also ranks highest (among NuSun, canola, soybean and corn oils) in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat at 93%. That compares to 65% for

NuSun, 62% for canola, 23% for soybean and 28% for corn. Taste tests conducted by third-party sensory labs in the U.S. and EU have been very favorable, with Omega-9 exhibiting a very neutral taste. Because of the oleic acid-based fatty acid profile, the Omega-9 sun oil is the most stable of all natural liquid edible oils available today, Syed noted. “That stability provides excellent shelf life, long fry life and very high resistance to polymerization,” he added. “Application studies show that it is an ideal oil for use in all food applications at home, in restaurant chains and in processed foods.”

Call Today to Discuss Your High Oleic Sunflower Seed Marketing Plans. 10


n summing up his presentation to the 2012 NSA Summer Seminar audience, ADM’s Christensen highlighted three primary drivers in defining today’s oil market: • Transition Away from Hydrogenation — As of 2004, about 65% of the total North American vegetable oil market consisted of hydrogenated oils — mainly soybean. That percentage continues to shrink. • Renewable Fuels Mandate — With a current target of 1 billion gallons annually (and possibly up to 1.28 billion), this area is a “big wild card,” depending upon how it plays out. Soy oil will be the main supplier. • Dietary Guidance — Volumes of research and an increasingly informed — and concerned — public make this a huge factor on the demand side. More healthy options (e.g., high-oleic sunflower oil) are becoming available. Sunflower is well positioned to take advantage of these developments, Christensen emphasized, for several reasons: “One, we already have the ‘healthy oil’ perception. “Two, we have commercial hybrids available that can help lower saturated fats. “Three, we can move toward 7% or lower saturates over time. “Four, by focusing our hybrid breeding programs, we don’t need to develop as many segments. “Five, [with] trans fats already being legislated out of foods in many municipalities definitely provides opportunity for oils like sunflower and canola. “Six, GMO labeling referendums also are popping up in several states, which presents opportunity for sunflower and other non-GMO oils.” Christensen also pointed to another important consideration: the trend among food processors toward using more blends rather than stand-alone oils. This trend is driven both by price and by the product formulation flexibility that it allows. So for sunflower oil, the bottom-line emphasis should be on enhancing its value as an ingredient, Christensen stated. The transition from NuSun to high-oleic sunflower oil must be a winning formula for all sectors of the industry, reiterated seedsman John Swanson. “I think high oleic is definitely the opportunity for our industry,” Swanson stressed. “We need to put more emphasis on that (rather than on NuSun) so we can focus more on yield and oil and grow the business.” How soon will it happen? The 2013 season’s hybrids are being produced this year, as are the inbreds that will go into 2014 hybrid seed production fields. “It’s not going to happen overnight,” Swanson observed. “But this is the direction in which I believe we must move. We need tools to keep sunflower competitive with corn, soybeans, canola.” — Don Lilleboe ■

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

Combine Fire Research Progresses


ne day last fall, while ag engineer Dan Humburg was perched atop a combine during sunflower harvest in central South Dakota, the grower operating the machine stopped at the end of the field and asked, “Do you smell that?” The South Dakota State University researcher could detect a burnt residue smell in the air that the grower had indicated. “He told me that’s the smell he gets just before he detects a fire someplace. He had just pushed the combine near capacity to generate higher temperature readings for our monitors. He’s so sensitive to it and knows exactly what to smell for to be on guard,” Humburg explains. Humburg realized that farmers have to rely on intuition and a keen sense of smell to avoid combine fires. He hopes the work he and his fellow researchers at South Dakota State University have been conducting can provide farmers solid solutions to avoid the dangers and property loss due to harvest fires. He’s also hoping to fix the problem at the source before the farmer has to count on his nose to detect a problem. A team of researchers within the SDSU Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department, backed by funding from the South Dakota Oilseed Council, began their work in July of 2011. They set out to first investigate the primary question: Is it the sunflower dust, or is it the machinery? The study’s three-part objective is to (1) understand the basic characteristics of sunflower dust in the lab, (2) see it in action in the field and how it interacts with different areas of the combine, and (3) bring the data together to suggest potential engineering so-

lutions that could serve to change or interrupt one or more of the factors present when a harvest fire starts. The National Sunflower Association first introduced this research project in the August/September 2011 issue of The Sunflower. At that time, SDSU biosystems engineer Zhen Grong Gu and grad student Joe Polin were busy in the lab conducting tests to characterize the physical and chemical properties of sunflower dust that contribute to combine fires. Dust used for lab testing initially was generated from stalks gathered from an unharvested field planted in 2010. First, the dust was mechanically separated into different fractions using a stack of sieves and a sieve shaker. This was done to isolate the finer dust particles that are most easily suspended in air. The sunflower plant parts (head, stalk pith and stalk outer layer) were also segregated, milled and analyzed to better understand the origin of the dust that settles on combines during harvest. All samples had the same moisture content and bulk temperature prior to testing. Another lab test entailed using a hot plate to determine ignition points of the various dust particles. A thermocouple was centrally located in the dust sample layer and recorded temperature changing profile

While the team strongly suspects the focal point should be on the exhaust manifold, they are exploring different areas throughout the machine.

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

during continuous heating. The finest dust collected was from the head of the sunflower plant. This dust was placed on a hot plate at temperatures of 260° C and 250° C (i.e., about 500 and 482° F). The test at 260° showed a peak, which indicates combustion, compared to the 250° test, which did not show a significant peak or combustion. Essentially, this difference is used to estimate the ignition point. Temperature spikes and ignition points were also tested on sunflower versus corn dust. According to the hot plate tests, the sunflower head dust has a lower minimum ignition temperature than corn dust at every similar particle size. The lower ignition point indicates that sunflower head dust is more easily ignited than corn stover and can also be ignited at temperatures when corn stover won’t ignite. Additional lab testing was conducted to evaluate and compare the ignition byproducts of field dust with samples gathered during the 2011 harvest. It was concluded that the inner stalk (pith) is the main source of dust found on a combine. In addition to the hot plate test, a variety of other characterizing tests were conducted. For example, the researchers learned that sunflower dust begins to volatize at 428° F. The team thinks that leads to the pre-ignition smell that many farmers notice just before fires or smoldering problems begin.


n addition to the lab tests on sunflower dust, Humburg and his colleagues spent time taking measurements on producers’ combines during the sunflower harvest in central South Dakota. Kevin Dalsted, an


Photo: Sonia Mullally

South Dakota Ag Engineers Continue Work to Better Understand Causes of & Solutions to Fires During Sunflower Harvesting

SDSU ag engineering professor who specializes in machine systems, is a collaborator on the project and joined Humburg in the fields last fall. The pair observed the machinery, took temperature measurements and recorded weather statistics. “For me, the most interesting part was information gathered atop the engine compartment, taking temperatures with a handheld infrared measuring device near the machine’s exhaust manifold area,” Humburg notes. “That particular producer was using some modifications with ceramic heat tape wrapped around the exhaust manifold

to reduce the amount of heat radiating from the manifold and pass the heat down to the muffler. So it wasn’t a typical situation, perhaps. But we learned that area reached a temperature of 600° F after a short run without reaching maximum engine capacity.” While the team strongly suspects the focal point should be on the exhaust manifold, they are exploring different areas to not overlook potential problems throughout the machine. For instance, during this year’s harvest they look to return to the field to repeat some tests to solve certain problems they had gathering data last year, as

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well as include new areas of interest. “We were able to learn some from the soybean issues as well last year in this region of the country,” Humburg adds. “Extraordinary occurrence of fires during both sunflower and soybean harvest last year occurred in areas of southeast South Dakota, northwest Iowa, southwest Minnesota and northeast Nebraska. There are commonalities among the situations. What we see happening more frequently in sunflower was also happening in the soybean fields on specific days.” Anyone who has participated in harvest of any crop knows that the environment can be very chaotic when it comes to the air flow around the machine. Wind speed and direction can make a difference, which often varies greatly. Air blast from the radiator fan is interacting with the wind, blowing dust and debris to all areas of the machine, so it’s very difficult to control the distribution of the chaff. To try and get a handle on this, additional testing will be done in the lab to simulate the environment right around the exhaust environment to quantify exactly what temperature it takes to possibly ignite dust flying adjacent to a hot surface. “Currently, we are in the process of building a device to generate a continuously suspended dust particle cloud through a tube furnace,” Dalsted explains. “The process will simulate the exposure of airborne dust to very hot surfaces and will document the temperatures needed to ignite the dust in the air stream. We may also be able to extend this test to observe the behavior of ignited embers landing on dusty surfaces.” In addition, unanswered questions remain surrounding the static electricity on combines and what role that plays. “We have a lot of producers who say they think this might be a source or a contributing factor to the fires occurring,” adds Humburg. “I’ve had some industry people say they cannot make it happen in their testing. If we can’t get it to happen in the lab, it would indicate that while it might happen in the field, it’s very rare. If we can make it happen in the lab, then we may have another issue to address.” According to Dalsted, the team has also designed and ordered a machine to generate energy through static sparks. “We will apply this to both dust layers and suspended dust clouds in open systems — not confined space — to examine the energy needed to ignite dust particles or dust layers. These tests could help to determine if it is possible to ignite dust particles or dust layers with static discharges, and, if so, under what conditions this might occur.” Despite multiple areas of concern when it comes to “hot spots” on a combine, the pair continues to focus on the exhaust manifold in the lab as well. “With the change

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

over to the newer models of combines, we went from a naturally aspirated engine to a turbo-charged system to keep up with the demand from the producer for more power from the engine. That bumps up the temperature in the area of the exhaust between the turbo charger and the engine,” Humburg explains.


unflower growers know to back off slightly and not to push the machine to capacity because of the propensity for fires. Many also have made modifications to their machines to help alleviate certain issues that lead to fire breakouts. The SDSU research team is also testing possible alterations or additions to equipment in the field that would be aiming to change the behavior of the ignition sources. Humburg refers to the combine chimney designed by the North Dakota farmer featured in last year’s August/September issue of The Sunflower. The chimney apparatus, attached to the air intake system, extends up to draw clean air into the radiator and keep the engine clean. “We are looking at how we can preclude fires in that area of the exhaust manifold in varied circumstances. The chimney, for example, under good, common circumstances, is a modification that can go a long way in preventing fires,” Humburg observes. “It’s not an absolute solution because in some circumstances it could get overwhelmed — and that’s some of what we saw in this area last year. These farmers weren’t using chimneys per se; but their machines that ordinarily don’t catch fire, did have excessive occurrences last year.” “We have set up a salvaged engine exhaust manifold-turbo system in our shop and will use a propane-fired set-up to achieve nominal operating temperatures”, Dalsted explains. “We should be able to evaluate and model the heat transfer around this hot surface. This should help us to better understand the potential dust ignition in the combine engine compartment area. We will also consider potential engineering solutions to hot surface-induced problems experienced during the sunflower harvest.” Another area of focus for the research team, when they return to the field this fall, will be the air flow around the combine. Air cleaners on the machines have a pre-cleaner section that screens out the coarser dust and separates it before it goes in to the fine paper filter that filters the finer dust before it reaches the air cleaner. As it builds up, it gets sucked out of the pre-cleaner and discharged or blown out at the latter part of the muffler. Ideally, that exhaust has cooled to a point where it’s no longer a source for ignition; but if the machine is running hot, it might be a problem area. The SDSU researchers question whether there’s a chance that some of those coarser particles of sunflower dust are being ignited

and blown upward through the muffler and over the top of the machine. Ordinarily, that dust is carried off by wind or extinguishes itself before it lands anywhere that matters. But if wind conditions are adverse and it lands back on the machine, could it be a problem? It may be there is no way for that dust to be hot enough, but it should be ruled out as a source for fires. “This year, we plan to capture some of that dust that’s going past the pre-cleaner and coming out the muffler and see if it’s

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

hot enough to be a problem. This is just a theory, but we’d like to take a closer look at it,” Humburg notes. It’s another speculation that the researchers hope to iron out in the field tests this year. The numerous unanswered questions illustrated here serve to shed light onto just how complicated the issue of combine fires really can be — not only for producers, but for researchers attempting to understand it and offer solutions. Ongoing research seeks the answers. — Sonia Mullally ■

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Farm Bill Drama A Recap of Congress’ Action — Or Lack Thereof — On the 2012 Farm Bill Prior to Recessing


By Dale Thorenson*

hen the U.S. Senate passed its version of the 2012 farm bill on June 21 by a strong 64-35 vote, all eyes turned to the House. In response, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) announced his intentions to mark up his farm bill the following week, right before the 4th of July break, to enable staff time to prepare the bill for floor action in July.

* Dale Thorenson is on the staff of Gordley & Associates, which provides representation for the National Sunflower Association in Washington, D.C. Prior to coming to Washington as an aide to then-Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Thorenson managed his family’s farm in Bottineau County, N.D. His practice areas include farm policy, budget and appropriations.


But within a few hours of Lucas’ remarks, the Republican House leadership — Speaker Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Cantor (R-VA) — released a floor schedule for the next week that included consideration of the FY2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. This effectively knocked the June farm bill mark-up off the calendar because Ag Committee members would have to be available to fight off scurrilous amendments during appropriations debate. As a result, Lucas postponed the farm bill mark-up to July 11. The annual ag spending bill has yet to be considered on the House floor. Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) did hold their mark-up on July 11. In a marathon session finishing in the early morning hours the following day, they passed the bill with a strong bipartisan vote of 35-11. The pair

then promptly began lobbying the House Republican leadership for floor time, as there were only three weeks left before the House would adjourn for the August recess and not return until September 10. About that time, it became apparent that Mother Nature had also decided to play a role in this Capitol Hill drama. She began pushing daily temperature readings into the triple digits all across the Heartland, setting some all-time record highs to emphasize the point. As a result, the growing drought reached a severity and scope that had not been seen in 50 years. Cue the national news media, always eager to push a new tragedy, and soon tales of the “Dirty Thirties” were being told by old-timers during evening newscasts. Each week, the red “severe drought” zone on the U.S. Drought Monitor Map mushroomed in size. Farm state congressmen began demanding that the Ag Committee-passed farm bill be brought to the House floor so that its livestock disaster provisions could be enacted. However, an open debate on the farm bill would mean other issues would also be brought up, coupled with tough votes prior to an election. The most contentious and politically dangerous of these “other issues” would be the level of cuts inflicted upon the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka “food stamps”). The Senate farm bill contained $4 billion in cuts to SNAP over 10 years; the House Committee farm bill had $14 billion; and amendments to cut up to $35 billion would likely be offered during a debate on the House floor. But as the drought worsened with each passing day, the House Republican leadership concluded the political price for not voting on an ag disaster package prior to a five-week recess was just too steep. However, rather than bringing the Ag Commit-

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

tee-passed 2012 farm bill (which included disaster aid already paid for) to the floor, they announced on July 25 that a one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill that included a scaled-back version of disaster aid would be cobbled together, with consideration scheduled right before leaving for the August recess. The details of the extension were released on Friday, July 27: $621 million in disaster assistance would be offset with $759 million in conservation cuts over the next 10 years, with $261 million in Direct Payment cuts over nine years. Direct Payments would be paid in full next year, and SNAP benefits would not be cut, either. To appease conservatives upset about Direct Payments and SNAP escaping the knife, a host of mandatory spending authorizations would be terminated, including renewable energy, rural economic development, organic agriculture, local farmer markets, beginning and minority farmer programs. Assurances were also given that this extension could not be used as a vehicle to conference with the fiveyear bill the Senate passed in June.


ith all that baggage — full Direct Payments and SNAP benefits for 2013, conservation cuts, program terminations, no farm bill conference, and close to

$400 million more in cuts than needed — by Tuesday afternoon, July 31, the extension suffocated and died under its own weight due to opposition from just about every constituency involved. (One notable “Dear Colleague” letter from Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) asked, “What do Direct Payments and Disco Have in Common?” The answer being, “They Both Should Be Allowed to Fade into the Past! Vote ‘No’ on Farm Bill Extension & Continued Direct Payments.”) Amazingly, the House Republican Leadership had managed to unite almost everyone in opposition to their plan. Plan B — a stand-alone disaster bill — was revealed on Tuesday evening that would be brought up for a vote under suspension of the rules – meaning no amendments and a two-thirds majority would be required for passage – with the vote taking place on Thursday, August 2. The cost for the disaster assistance was $383 million with offsets of $639 million from the Conservation Security Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program. The remaining $256 million would go toward deficit reduction. Although not in opposition, major farm groups panned the stand-alone disaster bill on Wednesday afternoon, August 1, lecturing that a much better option would be for

the House to consider the Ag Committeepassed farm bill because the assistance was already paid for and was more comprehensive in scope. By Wednesday evening, the House Republican leadership team determined they did not have the two-thirds majority to pass the bill under a suspension of the rules, and had to revert to Plan C: a closed rule for the same legislation. This meant that just a simple majority would be required to pass both the rule (a resolution deeming it was in order to consider the legislation) and the disaster assistance legislation. On Thursday morning, August 2, no one appeared to be very enthused about the situation. Indeed, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was quoted in Congressional Quarterly: “It's hard to get excited about a disaster measure that's more political than relief.” But the rule did pass around noon by a 236-182 vote; and at 5 p.m. the standalone disaster bill passed by a vote of 223197. Voting yes were 188 Republicans and 35 Democrats; 46 Republicans and 151 Democrats voted no. The House then adjourned, and members flocked to the airport to head home until September 10, which is just 20 days prior to the September 30 expiration date of the 2008 farm bill. ■

Sunflower Harvesting Attachment

Harvest with confidence with the Seed Eater Sunflower Harvesting Attachment. It is one of the most effective and economical methods of sunflower harvest. Having been tested in seven countries, the design has made this product one of the finest in the market.  drum Heavy duty 16 gauge drum  Heavy duty 14 gauge pans with strong design  Specially Specially designed fingers move sunflower head gently but positively to auger  Extra long dividers dividers for more positive row alignment

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What’s Available in Sunflower

Harvest Attachments & Conversion Kits

ing maximum pickup of downed ’flowers. The auger is designed to ensure the most efficient transfer of harvested material to the combine with minimum damage and loss, facilitating maximum harvest efficiency whatever the harvesting conditions. Fantini sunflower headers are available in row widths of from 20 to 40 inches and from four to 18 rows. For More Information: Fantini North America, 40463 261st Ave., Le Center, MN 56057; phone — (507) 357-2341; email —; website —


The Flexxifinger QD™ Sunflower Pan was introduced to farmers in 2007 by the Saskatchewan agricultural manufacturer Flexxifinger QD™ Industries. It is designed for quick installation and removal. The system also enables quick transition to other types of harvest attachments.

Editor’s Note: Many sunflower producers utilize row-crop combine heads to harvest this crop. And many others opt for a harvest attachment specifically designed for sunflower. Still others employ special conversion kits fitted to their corn head. These pages contain information on several sunflower attachments and conversion kits available to producers. The in-

Fantini North America

Fantini has been one of the foremost header manufacturers since 1968, specializing in corn and sunflower headers. Our universal headers are designed to fit all makes and models, offering a proven en-


formation has been provided by the respective companies and edited for use in The Sunflower. This compilation is not totally inclusive, as not all companies contacted responded to our request for information. Most did, however. Contact details are included for those growers who wish to visit further about a given company’s products. hancement to the performance of today’s high-output combines. Sunflower headers must be designed to harvest the crop correctly with minimum losses. The Fantini sunflower header is simple, reliable and requires minimum maintenance. Stalks are held by unique rubber blocks on the gathering chains and immediately cut by rotating disc knives to prevent shaking and seed loss. The specially designed collecting pans slope rearwards and help reduce header losses to virtually zero. (The gathering chains and rubber blocks can last up to 10,000 acres.) As the header incline is adjustable, the collecting pans can be set to slope rearwards at almost any cutting height. The points (snouts) also are adjustable, ensur-

The incline of the pans is aimed at salvaging lodged or low-hanging plant heads. The Flexxifinger QD™ Sunflower Pans are attached to the header using the patented QD™ attachment system, which is installed separately on the header using provided guard bolts and a special QD™ nut, fastened on the top side of the guard, says Flexxifinger. This allows a pan to be removed or installed in seconds and an entire header in minutes. For More Information, Flexxifinger QD Industries: phone — (800) 544-8512 (USA) or (800) 925-1510 (Canada); website —

Gates Manufacturing

Gates Manufacturing has marketed its “Quick Tach” sunflower pans for a number of years. The 48”-long durable plastic pans

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

are available in three- and four-pan assembly units for easy handling. Overall unit widths are available in any footage. The pans, available in widths of either nine or 12 inches, are designed to mount easily (via just two tighteners) on any auger or draper head. Gates also offers liftrods that can be easily attached to the pans to aid with the harvesting of lodged plants. For More Information: Gates Manufacturing Inc., 8710 33rd Avenue N.W, Lansford, ND 58750; phone — (701) 784-5434 or 784-5525; website —

Golden Plains Ag Tech

Golden Plains, based in Colby, Kan., has been marketing the “SunStar” sunflower harvesting system for the past 19 years, serving customers in North and South America as well as several countries elsewhere. SunStar corn head attachments are used on John Deere and Case IH corn heads. Golden Plains has a model for the JD 600 Series corn head, as well as the Case 2200 and Case 2400 Series and New Holland 98C. SunStar is designed to take advantage of the unique physical characteristics of the sunflower stalk. For that reason, sunflower is the only crop that can be har-

Traditional and XL Confection Sunflower Organic Sunflower ConOil and Large Oil Sunflower Freight Incentives and On-Farm Assistance ND, SD, MN and KS Delivery Locations

vested while the SunStar attachments are installed. However, the attachments are installed and removed quite easily, so the grower can quickly switch from ’flowers to corn, or vice versa, if needed. “With SunStar conversions installed on the producer’s corn head, he can move quickly through his standing ’flowers with a very small loss,” says Golden Plains Ag Tech. “He will be able to lift lodged stalks and move the heads into the combine with minimum loss.” Sunflower heads enter the cross auger “with the heads unbroken and six to 12 inches of stalk still attached to the head,” the company states. SunStar has no moving parts and re-

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

Breckenridge, MN Jim Smith 800.654.4145

Crookston, MN Tim Petry or Bill Sullivan 800.837.5984

Goodland, KS Mike Bretz 800.742.9259

Grace City, ND Kent Johnson 877.674.3179


quires no physical modification for attachment to the corn head. “There is only one simple adjustment which is usually made only once per season,” says Golden Plains. For More Information: Golden Plains Ag Tech, P.O. Box 307, Colby, KS 67701; phone — (800) 255-8280; website —

Intersteel Industries

The Intersteel sunflower attachment has been marketed for more than 40 years. Pan width options are nine, 12 and 27 inches, and it is available in all rigid header lengths. The pans mount atop guards, with pan supports that attach beneath the combine header. The reel drum mounts with bearings and drive system from the bat reel supplied by the combine manufacturer.

“Pan width, length and rotating drum help feed plant heads into the combine/ header smoothly and evenly,” Intersteel states. “Pan width and length ensure maximum collection of shattered seeds in dry crop conditions. The nine-inch pans offer the most versatility for any row spacing and also work well for solid seeding.” The Intersteel attachment also has been used with corn, the company reports. Along with the United States and Canada, Intersteel has sold its harvest attachment in Chili and the Sudan. For More Information: Intersteel Industries, P.O. Box 1451, Morden, MB R6M 1B3, Canada; phone — (204) 8225055 or (877) 839-9301; website —

Lucke Manufacturing

The original Lucke sunflower harvesting attachment dates back to 1966. Lucke presently offers nine and 12-inch pan width options with its non-reel system. Other options include liftrods for lodged


plants and roller tips that are particularly useful in solid-seeded fields. For More Information: Lucke Manufacturing, 305 33rd Ave. S.W., Minot, ND 58701; phone — (800) 7355848 or (800) 735-5838; website —

Sheyenne Tooling & Mfg.

Around since 1995, the Sunmaster header originally was produced in the U.S. by Westward Products and later bought by Jim Broten, a North Dakota farmer and the owner of Sheyenne Tooling & Mfg. in Cooperstown, N.D. Improvements through the years have ensured that the header has kept up with grower needs and the size of their combines. Known primarily for use in sunflower, the header can also be used to harvest dryland corn, milo (sorghum) and sesame seed. The header system will fit most combines with available adapter kits. The Sunmaster is available in eight-, 12- and 16-row 30-inch spacing, as well as 12-, 16and 18-row 20-inch spacing. The header’s rotating star cutting knives, with the four large, thick sickle knives, are positioned at the rear of the gathering chains. This design ensures that as the stalk/head is cut off, it will fall either directly on to the vibrating pans or the platform and be moved into the combine. As the stalk is grabbed by the single gathering chain, the pans are shaped to position the head over the pan and toward the platform. Any seed loss caused by shattering is minimized as the seeds fall on the vibrating pan and are moved to the platform.

A cam on the gearbox drive shaft moves a rocker arm up and down beneath the pan. This action vibrates the seeds back onto the platform. The Sunmaster effectively harvests lodged sunflower, corn and milo. The independent row dividers slide along at ground level, picking up downed crop. The flat-top divider moves heads and stalks to the pans and platform, ensuring significant crop savings. Other seed-saving features of the Sunmaster include: • Replaceable shoes on the underside of the point of each divider. • Brackets on each end of the header to

prevent heads from getting hung up in a back corner. • An adjustable ridge plate to help direct the stalk into the header. • Optional sprockets allowing the operator to match the gathering chains to the ground speed. For More Information: Sheyenne Tooling & Mfg., P.O. Box 647, Cooperstown, ND 58425; phone — (800) 797- 1883 or (701) 797-2700; website—

West Country Products

Jamestown, N.D.-based West Country Products has distributed the “SeedEater” sunflower harvesting attachment since 2006. Midwestern Machine, its manufacturer, has been manufacturing the attachment since 1986. The product underwent an extensive makeover in 1994 to improve upon its fit, function and aesthetics. Along with sunflower, the SeedEater also has been used successfully in milo.

This harvesting attachment has been sold across the U.S. and in 14 foreign nations. Midwestern Machine has partnered with other manufacturers as an OEM supplier in overseas sales and service. The SeedEater is available with pan widths of either nine or 12 inches. Overall attachment widths range from 18 feet and up. “Key features of the SeedEater include a heavy-duty 16-gauge drum with specially designed fingers to move sunflower heads gently but positively to the auger,” says West Country Products. “Also, heavy-duty 14-gauge pans with strong design and extra-long dividers for more-positive row alignment. “The SeedEater is easily mounted on your own combine header and can be easily removed, if desired, to use your platform on other crops,” West Country adds. “The pans are mounted on a tube frame; therefore the drum can be rolled off the reel arms onto the pans. The chain binders release on the back of the header, and you are ready to back away from the SeedEater.” This process can be done by one person in approximately one-half hour. For More Information: West Country Products (a Division of General Implement), 1312 21st Ave. N.E., Jamestown, ND 58401; phone — toll-free (866) 9742182 or (701) 251-2182; website — ■

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

We see a new breed of growers—who demand a higher level of genetics. 7RGLVFRYHURXUIXOOSRUWIROLRRIVXQĂ€RZHUK\EULGVFDOORU visit A

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‘Clearfield Plus’ Poised To Replace ‘Clearfield’ Hybrids with 2nd Generation Clearfield Trait Should Deliver Enhanced Herbicide Tolerance


ome in the industry point toward herbicide-tolerant sunflower technology — in the form of the Clearfield® Production System from BASF — as the savior of the crop in the mid- to late 1990s. Many growers had been giving up on sunflower due to the lack of effective weapons to combat persistent weeds. Weeds in sunflower are a source of frustration for growers and, when severe, obviously lead to decreased yield. The advent of this technology introduced a postemergence herbicide option that had not available on conventional sunflower. Herbicide-tolerant sunflower allowed growers to plant across a wider range of environments with greater peace of mind when it came to weed control. The key to herbicide-tolerant sunflower technology was offering the grower more



flexibility. Now, a new production system just released by BASF called Clearfield® Plus technology, will advance that valuable flexibility. Ironically, the gene that started it all for improved weed control came from a wild sunflower, which is classified as a weed. The ImiSun trait, based on a natural mutation in wild sunflower, was discovered in 1996 in wild sunflower, paving the way for herbicide tolerance with the Clearfield® Production System sunflower hybrids that were first introduced in 2003. However, one key ingredient is different in this new system. The Clearfield Plus trait was not derived from wild sunflower (instead, it was selected in an elite cultivated inbred line), so it does not contain attributes associated with the plant’s wild “cousin” and the wild sunflower genetic impact on yield



Above: These photos depict typical Clearfield® sunflower tolerance to varying levels of Clearfield herbicides (left to right: untreated, 2x, 4x and 6x dosages).

Photos: BASF

Below: Clearfield® Plus sunflower treated with the same Clearfield herbicide at the same 2x, 4x and 6x dosages, compared to the untreated plants at left.

untreated 22




and oil content. In 2000, an initiative was headed up by BASF and the Argentina- based company, Nidera, to create a more-efficient, singlegene breeding system to develop sunflower with greater herbicide tolerance, improved weed control, oil content and yield potential. By 2006, BASF began working with its global seed partners to integrate this new innovative Clearfield Plus trait into elite commercially viable hybrids. In 2010, the first commercial Clearfield Plus hybrid was launched in Argentina — and the technology will be available for U.S. growers in several locally adapted hybrids in 2013. Kent McKay, North Dakota-based BASF technical services representative, says the new technology has big benefits for both the seed companies and the grower. “For the seed companies, it added ease of breeding of the hybrids for increased tolerance, and [it] shortened their time needed to build and bring to market the new Clearfield Plus hybrids with improved herbicide tolerance, yield and oil content potential,” McKay explains. “For the grower, it affords more flexibility in the crop stages. There’s more-consistent and better control of harder-to-control weeds. We target taking that control up 8 to 15% from the current system of 80 to 90% control on the harder-to-control broadleaf and grass weeds. Plus, the added options with adjuvants make this a great choice for growers.” Dr. Ryan Bond, BASF Clearfield Production System Sunflower market manager, notes, “Clearfield Plus technology is the second-generation Clearfield trait that delivers enhanced herbicide tolerance for improved crop safety and performance. This innovative system equates to morerobust weed control and greater crop performance potential in terms of yield and oil content.” The bottom line, says BASF, is that Clearfield Plus technology makes it easier for seed companies to breed tolerance to imidazolinone herbicides in sunflower hybrids and pass along all it has to offer for the growers. There are five important areas where the new production system offers advantages: Breeding – Instead of multiple genes involved with the Clearfield trait, the new Clearfield Plus technology involves only a single gene inferring herbicide tolerance to Beyond® herbicide. The inherent trait in the original Clearfield sunflower is controlled by at least two or more genes; one gene is the natural acetohydroxy acid synthase (AHAS) mutation, and the other(s) are known as modifiers or enhancer (called the “E” factor). However, since there’s no diagnostic method available to determine the “E” factor, breeding selections have to rely on phenotypic or observed evaluations of

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

plants treated with Clearfield herbicides. This makes the already lengthy breeding process even more tedious and time consuming. In contrast, Clearfield Plus technology involves only a single gene without the need for an enhancer or “E” factor, making the process easier and faster for seed breeders. Herbicide Tolerance – Early greenhouse studies exposed Clearfield Plus sunflowers to up to six times the recommended rate of a Clearfield herbicide (Beyond herbicide in the U.S.). This greater herbicide tolerance affords growers more options to use more aggressive adjuvants and herbicide formations, which would provide better weed control in situations where there is either high weed pressure or difficult-to-control weeds. Essentially, greater tolerance allows the grower more use-rate flexibility when the situation or environment warrants it, with no known adverse effects on the plant. Weed Control – Trial data from 20082010, shows improved grass and broadleaf weed control in Clearfield Plus fields versus Clearfield-treated fields. The study also found that adjuvants such as MSO (methylated seed oil) or BASF’s DASH® can be used on Clearfield Plus sunflower to enhance the activity of the herbicide, whereas less-aggressive adjuvants, like nonionic surfactants, are recommended for Clearfield sunflower. Oil Content – Preliminary data have

shown that oil percentages of Clearfield Plus sunflower are on par with conventional hybrids and higher oil content per acre than Clearfield sunflower. The difference may be attributed to the fact that there is no “E factor” linkage to wild sunflower in the new Clearfield Plus system. Yield – Data in field trials have shown Clearfield Plus hybrids yielded comparable to conventional hybrids. The weed control provided by Clearfield and Clearfield Plus over pre-emergence herbicides in conventional sunflower could be an attributing factor, particularly in environments prone to weed issues. More field testing is being conducted to assess Clearfield Plus yields across variable environments to confirm these data.

Plus to Replace Clearfield

BASF and its seed partners will launch Clearfield Plus in 2013 in the U.S. Eventually, the new technology will completely replace the previous Clearfield system as seed companies continue to integrate it into their breeding programs. Bond explains that preliminary data show that Clearfield Plus sunflower provided greater yield and oil content on a peracre basis than Clearfield sunflower. Improved grain yield can be a direct result of improved weed control and enhanced crop tolerance of the Clearfield Plus trait. Since 2003, seed partners have im-

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

proved the performance of Clearfield hybrids in terms of average yield and oil percentage. BASF field test trials show this second-generation Clearfield Plus trait for sunflower provides greater herbicide tolerance to Beyond herbicide and higher oil content on a per-acre basis than Clearfield sunflower. “Both Clearfield and Clearfield Plus hybrids will be available in the marketplace in 2013. The enhanced performance of Clearfield Plus is expected to expedite market adoption from Clearfield to Clearfield Plus,” Bond adds.

Seed Available in 2013

One of these seed partners, Mycogen Seeds, just last month announced the introduction of three new sunflower hybrids for the 2013 season, including a confection hybrid with the Clearfield Plus Production system. The new hybrid is billed as offering expanded weed control options. John Kalthoff, sunflower marketing specialist with Mycogen, says, “Our Clearfield Plus introduction with one hybrid will be a quite small introduction. We hope to gain some additional understanding in the field next summer.” Input costs associated with the new Clearfield Plus Production System for sunflower will be announced upon commercialization expected in 2013 by BASF and its seed partners. — Sonia Mullally ■


Association Bids Farewell To Retiring Board Members O

utgoing National Sunflower Association board member John McLean sums it up well in saying, “The unique organizational structure of the National Sunflower Association that combines both producers and industry membership to the benefit and growth of the sunflower industry was a visionary strength of the original organizing group.” McLean spent 12 years as part of this unique group, alongside producers from North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas and Colorado, combined with industry representatives from all sectors, that make up the NSA board of directors. The NSA honored McLean and two other board members in late June at the 2012 Summer Seminar. Those leaving the board included North Dakota producers Tim DeKrey and Reg Herman and industry member McLean of Cargill, Inc. Herman, a Brinsmade area farmer (north central North Dakota), served one three-year term. Both DeKrey and McLean had been on the board for four terms. DeKrey, of Steele, N.D., has been farming for nearly 35 years. In 2001 he was called upon to fulfill a term vacated by another south central North Dakota farmer and Reg Herman has never regretted his decision to join the NSA board. He subsequently moved up through the board ranks, serving as president and chairman. Quick to point out the group effort that drives the NSA, DeKrey credits Larry Kleingartner’s leadership in helping make sure all producers’ voices are heard. “I represented the smaller producer, and I may have had a different perspective based on the size

of my operation,” he says. “Larry made sure all producers were made to feel valuable and had their opinions and ideas heard.” DeKrey decided to stick around for as long as is allowed by the group’s bylaws: four consecutive three-year terms. “It takes about five years on the board before a member can become effective and have a clear understanding of how things work and get accomplished. Larry was a great motivator in getting board members to that point where they could be an effective spokesman for the industry,” DeKrey says. John McLean has been a spokesman for the industry for almost 40 years. He’s Tim DeKrey worked in the grain industry since 1973, with 32 of those years at Cargill. His primary responsibility for Cargill is commercial seed origination. He’s also involved in other merchandising activities in the West Fargo office and represents Cargill with outside organizations such as NSA, the Flax Council of Canada, Northern Crops Institute and the North Dakota State Chamber of Commerce. Tentative plans are to retire from Cargill in January of 2013. “I have very much enjoyed my association with the NSA, both as a member of the NuSun development committee and the 12 years that I served on the board,” John shares. “Several things come to mind as I think back on the time spent with NSA.” The foresight of the organizers of NSA to John McLean have a board of directors made up of both producers and industry personnel was something McLean credits as the foundation for success of the organization and the crop. “That decision brought many different points of view and revenue sources to solving the many problems that we tackled,” he states. “The high-quality people — staff, producers, government and industry members — all made serving with the NSA a challenging

New Board Members Welcomed

The National Sunflower Association recently welcomed three new members to its 19-member board of directors made up of producers and industry representatives from across the nation’s primary sunflower producing regions. New members are North Dakota producers Clark Coleman of Bismarck and Todd Lasher of McClusky, along with Tyler Schultz, of Cargill, Inc., West Fargo, N.D. All began three-year terms. Coleman manages the family farm with his brother near Baldwin, N.D., where they raise sunflower, canola, winter wheat, spring wheat, malting barley, corn, peas, pinto beans and soybeans. The Colemans also operate a cow-calf operation on the family ranch, dating back to the 1940s. Lasher has managed the family farm in Sheridan County in central North Dakota since 1982. The diversified Lasher operation includes beef cattle, and several crops: sunflower, spring wheat, oats, corn, millet, peas, durum, malting barley, canola and flax. Todd also owns and operates a trucking firm. Schultz represents the industry sector on the NSA Board of Directors. He began his career with Cargill as an intern in the company’s soybean crushing business in the Des Moines, Iowa, office. He later worked in Sioux City and Kansas City before transferring to Cargill’s West Fargo facility about two years ago. Schultz is responsible for managing all of the facility’s commercial-related activities, including seed purchasing, meal sales, oil sales and facility run schedules. ■


THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012





5 8 E

DMR Sunflower with HI-Octane Yield & Oleic Content


and rewarding experience. We identified and worked hard on solving a great many problems and issues that faced the sunflower industry, and, for the most part, made progress to the benefit of all parties.” DeKrey agrees, saying, “To have a board where there’s an interaction of industry and producers, whether it’s the processors, seed companies or confection guys, we all work together for the common good of promoting the crop. To have everyone literally at the same table interacting is valuable to the crop.” Many accomplishments and advancements of the crop over the years come to mind for both men – big improvements in insurance, herbicide tolerance and hybrid development, just to name a few. “It was a great experience overall; but to see so many positive things happen for the crop while I was on the board is special,” DeKrey notes. “My interest in the board came off a difficult year raising confection sunflower in the late 1990s when we had serious problems with dark roast and Sclerotinia. At the time, those issues were not covered by insurance. We worked with RMA, and it took almost five years. But we got them to cover those perils.” McLean says there were plenty of problems faced by the board, but most had positive outcomes. He points to the conversion of the crop to NuSun as the highlight of his time spent with NSA. Both DeKrey and McLean exit their seats at the table with a few regrets and some unfinished business. “There were so many good things we accomplished; but if I had to pinpoint one disappointment it would be that the deal with Frito-Lay using sunflower oil exclusively didn’t work out,” DeKrey relates. “That was unfortunate, but it made us work even harder to make this crop survive in the end.” McLean says dealing with blackbirds remains the biggest frustration of his time on the board. “I personally believe there are technical solutions to this problem. But there are just too many political roadblocks to implement the solutions,” he ventures. Despite some setbacks and battles with certain ongoing issues, the positives greatly outweigh the negatives for both men. DeKrey has fond memories of trips to Washington, D.C., and to corporate headquarters for hybrid seed and chemical companies. But it’s the caliber of people he worked alongside over the years that really stands out. McLean responds similarly when asked what he might miss most about being part of the association. “There were many spirited discussions on how to solve issues that came before the board, but solving the problem was always the priority,” he states. Looking back, it will be the people I will miss the most.” — Sonia Mullally ■

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

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Photos: Chippery

Canadian Company’s Potato Chip Cooker Gives New Meaning to The Words ‘Snacking Fresh’ — And Sunflower Oil Is a Central Ingredient in Its Success


magine enjoying a chip fried right before your eyes and served up fresh. A school trip to a large chip factory 15 years ago inspired a small group of Canadian entrepreneurs to make that image a reality. No need to visit a potato chip factory: “Chippery” brings that factory right to the customer. The folks at Chippery, based in Ontario, designed their innovative fresh chip cooker to give new meaning to the words “snacking fresh.” No question, potato chips are a favorite snack. There are plenty of choices at the store that claim to be fresh or all natural. So what could a small company do to make a big impact on a crowded marketplace? They figured out how to market a welcome change to the traditional, factoryproduced potato chip by making and serving it fresh in minutes. Factory chips can take weeks or even months to get from the factory to the store shelves — and its requires large factories and warehouses to produce and store millions of bags that are shipped all around the country. Not only are Chippery’s products served fresh, they pride themselves on the fact that they don’t leave a negative lasting impact on the environment in the process. The small, self-contained machine takes only three minutes to slice and cook a fresh batch of potato chips. A slicer cuts the raw, unpeeled potato, and then a paddle submerges the slices in sunflower oil. Finally, a conveyer belt transports the hot, fresh chips to the finish. From there, the chips are tossed in seasoning either manually in a bowl or with an automatic tumbler system. Flavors include popular tastes such as: sea salt, ketchup, cracked black pepper, sour cream and onion, cinnamon and brown sugar, BBQ, jalapeño, white cheddar and dill pickle. The product is generally sold in a 2 oz. bag for about $3-$4. The cooker measures 81 inches long and 21 inches deep by about 54 inches high. It’s a miniature potato chip factory contained in one compact space. This is what makes the Chippery system so appealing to vendors. The units are marketed and sold to operators as a turn-key business including: chip cookers, raw materials, cobranded packaging, training, market support personnel and marketing/merchandising programs. Licensees can set up just about anywhere, make a fresh snack using local products in no time flat. Chippery sources both their potatoes and sunflower oil from Canadian farmers and suppliers. As the Chippery website notes, “Why trust a big multi-national chip conglomerate to tell you when the chips are ‘best before’ when you can watch them get made and judge for yourself?” Ken Tracey, general manager of Chippery, Inc., recently offered some insights into his company’s innovative process and popular products. — Sonia Mullally

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

Your business venture began as a concept more than 15 years ago. When did the first fresh chip theatre begin operation in the public? It all began in 1996 in a shopping mall. The idea was to be close to a destination area at the movie theater entrance.

The Chippery products are cooked in sunflower oil. Why sunflower oil?

After many testing periods of our products in different oils, we picked sunflower oil because it brings out the best taste in our product. There is another benefit in that there is a reduced oil smell in the air from the cooking process with sunflower oil. Another important attribute for using sunflower oil is that we can cook at a slightly lower temperature with great results — and, importantly, we have noticed a lower oil absorption into our product. In a recent feature story in a Canadian business journal, you are quoted as saying, “These chips actually taste like potato...” How do you preserve that natural potato flavor?

We put a potato in the chute, and our machine slices it and cooks it in our sunflower oil for the best results. We are not removing the starch from the potato. All the goodness of the potato is there to be enjoyed by the customer. The fact that we make our product fresh and serve it right away makes a big difference in the taste. We are not storing the bags, we are not flushing the bags, and we are not shipping the bags hundreds of miles to the customer. All these things make us so different from traditional chips. How important is the non-GMO factor in your production?

It is very important along with the freshness. We want our customers to have the cleanest, freshest product available from start to finish. Clearly, potato chips are a favorite snack of millions of people all over North America. What about traditional fried and packaged potato chips produced in a factory made you want to seek something “different?”

product. We knew from tasting products made fresh that we could create a point of difference and provide the customer with not only a better tasting product, but a better experience. We know consumers are shifting more to buying local and buying fresh. Why is fresh so important — and what value does it have to the consumer?

Fresh always tastes better in any category, so why not chips? Once you try our product, it is hard to go back to mass-produced products. Quality, taste and the experience are a huge benefit, and the consumer receives a product made fresh coming from a local shop with potatoes from a local farm — and all with less miles travelled to reach their cart. What would be the number one reason why you think consumers choose your product?

It is hard to say only one reason, but our quality of the product must stand out. When a consumer gets a bag of our chips, they are still nice and large as they have only gone a few feet from the cooker to the consumer’s hands. Where are your chip cookers in operation?

We have lots of cookers in both Canada and the U.S., mostly in entertainment parks and some grocery retailers. We have now started to move into hotels where chefs can do artisan products in our cookers. What’s on the horizon for your company?

We are currently working on a variety of new products, including desert chips. We are also pushing our business in the direction of co-branding with current franchise shops. We believe our product makes a great partner with sandwich and deli operators — especially those that are all about fresh. ■

We wanted to bring a more “natural” and “local” feel to the

For more information about Chippery and its products, go to

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THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

Phone: 877-877-7810 or 701-347-5985 Fax: 701-347-4385 E-Mail: 29

30 Years Ago

Excerpts from the July & Aug/Sept 1982 Issues of The Sunflower

“During the period April 7 through November 20, farmer-cooperators started and operated their tractors (four Allis-Chalmers, four Case and four John Deere) at temperatures of from 5°F to above 100°F. Fuel filtration was not a problem at these temperatures, and engine performance was satisfactory. . . . Engine disassembly at the end of the season did reveal high carbon and varnish-like deposits on several engine components, including piston ring grooves and ring lands, as well as on intake valve stems and intake ports.” Moisture Level Key When Desiccating — “The list of available sunflower desiccants is a short one. Paraquat, a product of Chevron Chemical Company, is the best known. It is labeled for use on oil-type sunflower only. Gramoxone, distributed by ICI Americas, Inc., recently received a state label for North Dakota for use on oil-type flowers . . . . Sodium chlorate, sold under various brand names such as Drop-Leaf and Oxyleafex-3, is registered for use on nonoil sunflower only. “For those growers thinking about using Paraquat on their oiltype flowers, Chevron researchers caution that best results will be achieved by waiting until fields are below 35 percent moisture before spraying. Premature application could result in significantly reduced oil percentages and test weights. Yields will also suffer if the desiccant is sprayed on when moisture levels are excessive.”

Minimizing Harvest Seed Loss / Don Lilleboe — “An initial step toward keeping sunflower seed loss to a minimum is deciding when to combine. [NDSU extension ag engineer Vern] Hofman recommends harvesting when the seed is at 15 to 18 percent moisture if possible. ‘You’re going to get ahead of blackbirds, you’re going to save more seed, and the seed you do save will easily pay for the cost of drying that seed down to storable levels,’ he states. “Steve Winter, Oriska, N.D., sunflower grower, agrees. He dries his sunflower down to eight and a half or nine percent (realizing that the moisture content can come back up a bit while in storage, but feels that the relative ease of combining at 15 percent moisture as opposed to 10 percent, plus the reduced seed loss, more than compensates for the drying expense. Also, Winter adds, one does not have nearly as much shatter loss due to jostling by wind and at the header when harvesting at the higher moisture level.”

Two New North Dakota Processing Plants Await Fall Seed Crop — “Sunflower crushing plants at Enderlin and Velva are scheduled to start processing this fall. The Velva plant, owned by Midwest Processing, is capable of crushing 1,000 tons of seed per day. Its construction is now complete, and test runs were initiated earlier this summer. The Enderlin facility, owned by National Sun Industries, is geared to crush 1,500 tons of seed daily. It is still under construction but is scheduled to begin operating in October. Recently named officials of the plant include William Sisson, general manager and chief operating officer; William Bartels, plant manager; David Lutgen, financial controller; and Milt Luchsinger, sunflower seed buyer.”

Flower Power Enters Second Year of Tests — “Flower Power, the North Dakota project in which 12 tractors were operated on sunflower oil/diesel fuel blends under field conditions last year, is continuing in 1982 — but on a reduced basis. Due to financial cutbacks and some mechanical problems, only six of the original 12 tractors are in the project this year. “Three of the tractors operating in 1982 are running on a blend which includes 25 percent sunflower oil and 75 percent diesel, while the other three operate on a fifty-fifty blend. . . . “Nearly 7,000 running hours were accumulated on the 12 tractors participating in the Flower Power project in 1981. Thirty-six thousand gallons of fuel were used, 13,000 of which were sunflower oil.


Housekeeping, Vigilance: Keys to Drying ’Flowers / Don Lilleboe — “Outside temperature goes hand-in-hand with seed moisture level when it comes to proper storage of sunflower — but not everyone pays enough attention to that fact, according to [Ken] Hellevang, [NDSU extension ag engineer]. He notes that some growers have stored sunflower at moisture levels considerably higher than 10 percent and experienced no problems. But, he suggests, those were usually cases in which the seeds were harvested in near-freezing temperatures and then marketed prior to the spring warm-up. Wet seeds and warm temperatures don’t mix, he cautions. “ ‘It’s also important for growers to cool the crop down in the fall at the same rate that the outside temperature cools,’ Hellevang adds. ‘If there is a 15 degree difference between the outside temperature and that of the sunflower, one should turn the fans on to cool the flowers down to that outside temperature. “ ‘Continue that process until you get them down to about 35°F,’ he continues, stating that there really is no advantage to cooling the sunflower much below that point.”

Malathion Registration Imminent — “As this issue of The Sunflower went to press, registration of the insecticide malathion on stored sunflower seed still looked imminent. The proposed rule was to be published in the Federal Register in August. If there were no comments from the public, the final rule was to be published approximately 15 days later. The Sunflower will carry an update in its October/November issue.” ■

THE SUNFLOWER August/September 2012

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The Sunflower Magazine Aug/Sep 2012  

Inside This Issue High-Oleic Sun Oil Combine Fire Research Harvest Attachments Clearfield Plus Coming