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Publisher — National Sunflower Association www.sunflowernsa.com 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 as well. Other funding is from grants, including from the 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. 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. Tim DeKrey, Steele, N.D. Karl Esping, Lindsborg, Kan. Reginal Herman, Brinsmade, N.D. Kent McKay, Carpio, N.D. John McLean, West Fargo, N.D. Jeff Oberholtzer, Mohall, 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.

THE SUNFLOWER  March/April 2012

Vol. 38 No. 3

IN THIS ISSUE

March/April 2012

Page 10 Page 18

— FEATURES — Markets: It’s All About Weather & Yields . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Oil sunflower market impacted by less bird seed demand

Herbicide-Tolerant Hybrids’ Big Impact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Clearfield & ExpressSun have saved a lot of sunflower acres

Is Sunflower a Good Fit for CRP Acres? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Lots of factors involved — including rotation and crop prices

Pustovoit Award Goes to Two USDA Scientists . . . . . . . . . 18 Fargo-based researchers receive ISA’s top honor

Managing Sunflower Rust with Fungicides . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 An update on university research results and recommendations

The Spitster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 North Dakota woman has the answer for ‘messy seed syndrome’

Sunflower Briefs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 30 Years Ago in The Sunflower . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

COVER — Photo: Don Lilleboe 3


Sunflower Briefs Update on NSA SNP Project National Sunflower Association personnel attended the recent International Sunflower Conference in Argentina. Among other meetings and seminars, promoting the NSA’s SNP project was a priority goal. Venki Pegadaraju of BioDiagnostics, Inc., was on the conference program to talk about the project. According to Quentin Schultz of BioDiagnostics, 2,526 SNP markers have been assigned map location on the sunflower genetic map thus far. Of specific interest is the rust resistance gene that has been mapped. This marker is now available to consortium members for use in their breeding efforts. For more information on the SNP project and the consortium, contact Quentin Schultz of BioDiagnostics, Inc., at (715) 426-0246 or NSA’s executive director, John Sandbakken, at 701-328-5102 or johns@sunflowernsa.com.

NSA Board Funds 2012 Research Projects During its March meeting, the National Sunflower Association Board of Directors approved funding for more than $226,000 toward research funding for 2012. Five projects related to disease issues (including rust, Phomopsis, downy mildew) were awarded a total of $91,573. Two insect projects focusing on seed- and steminfesting insect pests were granted $46,869. Two weed projects were awarded a combined $34,000. One is a continuation of the work in palmer amaranth in the High Plains, and the other is work with a new chemical agent in sunflower called pyroxasulfone. In the production category, which includes funding for the 2012 crop survey, total funds of $53,735 were awarded to seven projects.

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Contributions by the High Plains Sunflower Committee, private seed companies, state checkoff councils/commissions and state ag research funds were also a part of the overall sunflower research picture.

NSA Welcomes Arnhalt as New Board Member

Steve Arnhalt

Steve Arnhalt, general manager for all sunflower operations at SunOpta, has joined the National Sunflower Association Board of Directors. He was appointed to represent the confection industry and takes the seat previously held by Tim Egeland of Dahlgren & Company. Arnhalt, who has been in the sunflower industry for 14 years also currently is a member of the NSA Confection Committee.

Summer Seminar Set for June 26-28 The National Sunflower Association’s 2012 Summer Seminar is scheduled for June 26-28 at the Arrowwood Resort, Alexandria, Minn. This is the 30th year for the event. The event begins in Tuesday with the NSA board meeting, registration and evening dinner and fundraiser. The educational/informational sessions begin early the next morning with panel discussions and keynote speakers. The NSA Gold Award will be given out at this year’s noon luncheon. There will also be short breakout sessions that afternoon. Social event include the Curt Stern Scholarship fundraiser, tour and dinner at the Carlos Creek

THE SUNFLOWER  March/April 2012


Winery, and golf at the Atikwa Golf Course. A block of rooms for the seminar has been reserved at a discounted rate for June 26-27 under the National Sunflower Association’s name. Call (866) 386-5263 or the hotel directly at (320) 762-1124 to make your room reservations. The block will be released by May 26. Email Lerrene Kroh at lkroh@sunflowernsa.com or call her at 701-328-5107 for more information on the 2012 NSA Summer Seminar. Registration details are available soon on the NSA website, www.sunflowernsa.com.

Key Documents Now Online The 2011 U.S. Sunflower Crop Quality Report and the 2011 Sunflower Crop Survey are now posted online at www.sunflowernsa.com. The crop quality report includes the final numbers for the 2011 crop. A historical perspective dating back to 1999 is also available online. The document, produced annually by the NSA, contains useful information about the quality of the crop and statistics on marketing the crop. The crop survey includes a final report by project leader Dr. Hans Kandel, extension agronomist with the NDSU Crop Science Department, Fargo, ND. Each fall, teams of surveyors take a tour of fields in sunflower producing states throughout the country and report back. This information is then compiled into one comprehensive report. Survey data are available dating back to 2002.

plemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program. SURE is a program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. For sunflower, the marketing year is September 1, 2011, through August 31, 2012. A SURE Calculator program for 2011 is available through North Dakota State University at http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/farmmanagement/tools. The program will estimate payments that may be made later this year. There are several eligibility requirements for the SURE program. The producer must carry crop insurance on all crops unless a crop has less than a 5% economic significance to the farm. The farm must be in or adjacent to a county that has a federal disaster, or else the farm must have had a 50% revenue shortfall. In addition, the farm also must have a least one crop with a 10% revenue shortfall. ■

Help Save A Tree We strive to make our mailing list as efficient as possible. If you are (1) receiving duplicate copies of The Sunflower, (2) need to update your mailing address or (3) no longer wish to receive this magazine . . . PLEASE CONTACT US!

SURE Program May Pay Out for Sunflower

Toll-Free: 888-718-7033, Ext. 5 Email: lkroh@sunflowernsa.com

The 2011 growing season had its share of production problems. Millions of acres were not planted because of wet conditions, and crops that were seeded often suffered lower-than-normal yields. Many producers may receive some help through the federal Sup-

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arkets It’s All About Weather & Yields After March 30 USDA Report By Mike Krueger

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orld oilseed markets were dominated during the first two months of 2012 by adverse weather in South America that resulted in much smaller soybean production than anticipated at the start of their growing season. Some analysts believe that final South American soybean production could be as much as 18 million metric tons (660 million bushels) below early estimates. That is a very significant reduction and has changed the overall

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outlook for oilseed markets heading into the 2012/13 marketing year. If a reduction of this magnitude is realized, it would represent the largest year-to-year drop ever in world soybean production. Soy complex prices rose steadily in January and February, and that rally dragged canola and sunflower prices higher as well. The lower drift in soybean production wasn’t the only bullish oilseed market factor. Logistical problems in Brazil created a very large backlog in vessel loadings that eventually pushed more soybean export business to the U.S. Also, China became a more active buyer of oilseeds once its Lunar New Year celebrations were completed. Soybean crushing margins in China have improved, and that has prompted talk about better-than-expected demand. The USDA also contributed to the bullish oilseed psychology. At the same time the market was turning more bullish about soybeans, analysts were turning very bearish on corn and other feed grains. The reason was that everyone expects U.S. farmers to plant at least two million more acres of corn this year. The USDA supported this idea when its initial 2012/13 supply and demand estimates were released at the annual outlook conference in mid-February. The USDA numbers showed big corn acres coupled with a near-record yield. That combination would result in a doubling of U.S. corn ending supplies at the end of the next marketing year. The soybean numbers, however, actually showed ending supplies declining, based on a much better demand outlook — in part because of smaller South American supplies.

T

he sunflower outlook is not necessarily supportive on its own. World production and supplies are up sharply from the previous year. In addition, the U.S. bird seed market — which had been the major support for oil sunflower over the last year — has declined sharply because of the very mild winter that quelled demand for bird seed. There also is the potential for a big increase in canola acreage in Canada and sunflower acreage in the United States. There is the potential for Demand for Canadian a big increase in canola canola has been very strong, and Canadian canola exacreage in Canada ports will set a new record and sunflower acreage this year. There will be four in the United States. to five million acres to plant in North Dakota alone this spring if the Northern Plains region stays on the dry side. That is a lot of acres, and producers will be looking for crops to plant on those acres. The March 30th USDA planting intentions report will be very important to market direction. Corn could still be king; but if soybean (and other oilseed) markets continue strong while feed grain prices soften, it could lead to some acreage shifts. Then it will be all about weather and yields. Perfect weather and big yields will obviously be bearish, but the markets need big yields. Any hint of weather-related production issues will take markets back to the 2011 highs. South American weather has already proven to be uncooperative. How winter-planted crops emerge from dormancy across Europe and the Black Sea region will be the next important market factor, followed, of course, by U.S. spring and early summer weather. Producers should use this late-winter price strength as an opportunity to complete sales of remaining 2011 crop inventory and get some new-crop sales on the books. An early start to the spring ■ planting season will be initially viewed as bearish. 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 assume no responsibility for its use.

THE SUNFLOWER March/April 2012


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Herbicide-Tolerant Hybrids’ Big Impact Clearfield® & ExpressSun® Systems Have Helped Keep Sunflower ‘In the Game’ For Many Growers

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he advent of the Clearfield® production system in 2003, together with the entrance of ExpressSun® hybrids in 2007, promised to be the latest and greatest in

sunflower growers’ ongoing battle in weed control. Some sunflower breeders speculate the technology eventually will be present in all new domestic market hybrids.

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The technology likely helped save acres that would otherwise have been lost due to pesky broadleaf weed problems and utter frustration on the part of the grower. “We were in danger of losing major portions of the sunflower production regions that were backing out of sunflower because of no weed protection,” observes Bruce Due, agronomist with Mycogen Seeds, whose company has offered Clearfield hybrids since the technology became available. “Growers were simply having too great of yield loss and harvest problems due to the weed issues.” Kent McKay, BASF technical service representative, could not agree more. National Sunflower Association crop surveys indicated that common cocklebur, marshelder and wild sunflower were causing major issues in both oil and confection sunflower fields. “Having the Clearfield technology definitely has helped keep these significant weed problems controlled — and it shows in not only yield, but in seed quality” says McKay. Due says it was about having options that weren’t there before. Clearfield hit the market and offered an avenue for postemergent weed control and flexibility — not only at preplant, but to go in afterward to control those later-emerging problems. Growers would no longer be losing yield to overpowering weeds. “The ExpressSun market share has grown every year since the introduction in 2007-2008,” notes Bob Weigelt of DuPont. “A number of growers tell me they would not be growing sunflower if they did not have ExpressSun technology.” Whether the grower uses Clearfield or ExpressSun hybrids, with all new technology, there is a learning curve. As with any new tool, it needs to be understood and used appropriately to be effective and reduce herbicide resistance problems. Many

THE SUNFLOWER  March/April 2012


recommendations surrounding these technologies have been discussed in previous articles in The Sunflower. Yet even after several seasons and countless acres utilizing the relatively new technology, there are still issues worth examining.

M

other Nature always adapts. The herbicide-tolerant hybrid is a tool — not a complete weed control program in and of itself. Nature tends to find ways to overcome. It’s important to use these herbicide-tolerant hybrids and their companion herbicides in combination with other her-

Protecting this important technology through good stewardship practices will ensure that resistant weeds and diseases stay out of sunflower fields for growers across the country. bicide modes of action and/or cultural methods like crop rotation and even occasional tillage. Protecting this important

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technology through good stewardship practices will ensure that resistant weeds and diseases stay out of sunflower fields for growers across the county. • Be mindful of resistant weeds. Kochia, at one time almost completely controlled, continues to be the main ALSresistant weed problem throughout the sunflower-producing geography. Using a “pre” product like sulfentrazone and/or utilization of glyphosate in a burndown pass should always be done as part of the overall system. When it comes to kochia and other troubling weeds, there always needs to be a “Plan B.” It can get tricky when it comes to ALS chemistries like the imidazolinones and sulfonylureas. Some kochia is susceptible to both, some is resistant to IMIs but not SUs, some is resistant to SUs but not IMIs, and some is resistant to both. North Dakota State University weed scientist Kirk Howatt says it’s important for each farmer to be aware of his own weed populations — and which ones have developed resistance. “In North Dakota especially, you can pretty much expect at least some of the plants in a field to have ALS resistance,” Howatt notes. “That’s why it is crucial to incorporate multiple methods of control, such as some form of tillage or applying a soil residual product with the preplant burndown.” This mindset extends beyond the sunflower season. Attack these difficult weed problems in a given field in the years before sunflower is grown there. • Keep a close eye on wild sunflower. Mycogen’s Due says the technology is working right now; but he’s concerned about its longevity when considering wild sunflower as a major threat. “Wild sunflower may be an alarm waiting to go off,” he says. “I see it in so many areas where it starts out small and then quickly becomes a serious problem.” Due and others in the weed science community know that because nature always wins over in the end, the herbicideresistance technology is at risk. Even if wild sunflower appears to be mild or confined to the perimeter of a field, it should be dealt with in a timely manner. All it takes is for adjacent wild sunflower to bloom and pollinate at the same time as the commercial field for the risk of cross-pollination to become a very serious problem. The same would hold true for volunteer sunflower. Howatt adds that while wild sunflower may not be a large weed issue in North Dakota, it is more of an issue in Kansas, Nebraska and parts of South Dakota. So, growers in different production regions need to be mindful of the “problem weeds” in their particular area. • Total control may not be possible. A

THE SUNFLOWER  March/April 2012


sunflower grower can now keep certain weeds at bay for the growing season, while greatly reducing weed seed production and the spreading of a problem weed. Total control, though, needs to be kept in perspective as part of a multi-year program approach, utilizing materials like glyphosate and clopyralid in rotation crops. The herbicide-tolerant hybrid system can certainly be beneficial as part of the overall goal of weed population reduction, while still being able to produce a profitable crop like sunflower. Howatt says diversity helps preserve the available weed control tools in Clearfield and ExpressSun technology. Weed resistance to ALS and glyphosate herbicides typically develops independently, so rotation of crops with different herbicide-resistance technology could help break up the cycle of weed resistance. “To preserve the longevity of the technology behind herbicide-resistant crops, whether it’s ALS or glyphosate, the key is to combine modes of action on your overall herbicide plan.” So take advantage of all weed control tools, whether they be seed technology, herbicide, tillage or cultural in nature, he says.

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Grower Perspectives South central North Dakota grower John McCrory offers a unique perspective since he plants half of his 1,500 acres of high-oleics into ExpressSun and the other half with Clearfield varieties. He says the herbicide-tolerant hybrids have allowed him the option of going in to get those weeds (e.g., kochia and marshelder) that pop up mid-season and compete with the sunflower. The technology also provides better-than-expected control of the pesky cocklebur. “The benefits of this technology greatly outweigh any drawbacks if there were any — and we haven’t found any yet,” McCrory affirms. Go a little further south to Chad Vander Vorst’s farm near Strasburg, N.D., where they saw their best ’flowers in years in 2011. He eased into ExpressSun hybrids starting in 2009 with about half of his crop. That increased to three-fourths of his acreage in 2010. The way the system addressed the Canada thistle problems convinced Vander Vorst to go 100% ExpressSun in 2011 on his roughly 1,200 acres. What sealed the deal was when the newer ExpressSun hybrids also came with downy mildew resistance, making them the “total package” to meet his needs. Growers pay close attention to the weed history of their fields in order to tackle the known problems. Gary Knell, who farms near Hazen, N.D., switched to ExpressSun hybrids three years ago. Areas where he would classify as “problem

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crops. So his weed managefields,” he deals with kochia, ment needs are somewhat buckwheat and a variety of complex. Bargen manages broadleaf weeds. “Our first his weed issues with concern was a possible yield Clearfield hybrids. He also drag with the new technology. notes an added bonus with But it’s not a problem. We use Clearfield — one which may it as our ‘insurance policy,’ ” not be based in science, but Knell remarks. “We like the rather with observation on his option for mid-season applicaacres: less pressure from the tion to take out the late-emergDectes (longhorned beetle) ing kochia.” insect. “We don’t really Northwestern North know why,” Bargen says. Dakota grower Charlie Soren“What might be happening is son now plants all 500 of his that with fewer weeds, we oil sunflower acres using the ExpressSun technology. Back have less host plants for the in 2009 he planted half his pesky bugs.” acreage with ExpressSun hyGrowers in varied regions brids, hoping to see results — benefit from the technology especially in dealing with that tackles a broad range of ‘We use it as our ‘insurance policy.’ weeds. Ron Meyer, Colorado kochia. “I used it on ground We like the option for mid-season application State University extension that I normally wouldn’t grow agronomist based in Burlingsunflower on because of the to take out the late-emerging kochia.’ ton, says that both the weed history,” Sorenson says. Clearfield and ExpressSun “We had kochia problems that technologies have made a significant impact in the High Plains. [were] increasing on certain fields. Now, we no longer have to Many things in agriculture cannot be controlled, but growers worry about those fields.” He adds that wild sunflower has also been kept at bay and he’ll continue to use the ExpressSun hybrids must control the way they use this trait in order to preserve its inas a “sort of insurance policy.” tegrity and efficacy. As these technologies continue to evolve, the Tom Bargen, who farms in southeastern Nebraska, has been grower should continue to benefit from companies offering new, growing sunflower for more than 20 years. His operation has been fine-tuned ExpressSun and Clearfield varieties available for planting each season. — Sonia Mullally  ■ strictly no-till since the late 1980s, and he grows only non-GMO © Archer Daniels Midland Company

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THE SUNFLOWER  March/April 2012 10/5/10 11:43:58 AM


Is Sunflower a Good Fit for CRP Acres? A

s the familiar saying goes, land is always valuable because they aren’t making any more of it. With the recent increases in commodity prices, farmers are eyeing land in the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) with expiring contracts to be converted back to crop production. In many cases, this might make economic sense. But there are a number of factors to consider. About 30 million acres currently are enrolled in the CRP program — and contracts on an estimated 6.5 million acres will expire on September 30, 2012. Nearly 3.5 million of those acres are within the seven sunflower-producing states located in the central part of the country. North Dakota will have the most land coming out of the program with an estimated 838,223 acres, followed closely by Texas at 827,750 acres. Among other key sunflower production states, the acreage numbers are: South Dakota — 224,863; Minnesota — 290,064; Kansas — 517,577; Colorado — 569,560; and Nebraska — 201,309. Each state’s situation may be different. In North Dakota, for instance, officials estimate that roughly 25% of the land with expiring CRP contracts in 2012 will be re-offered with land owners reapplying for the program. And of those acres, not all will be accepted. At one point in 2007, the state had more than 3.3 million acres in

CRP. Once contracts expire this year, the total will likely be less than half that amount statewide. So a vast amount of land has come back into production over the past five years. “With high commodity prices, our rental rates have not been able to keep up with the land rental rates,” says Jay Hochhalter, state conservation specialist with the North Dakota office of USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Renters are willing to pay higher rates than what the CRP payments offer the land owner — and not just in North Dakota. Many other states also have renters willing to pay top dollar looking for land to farm. With crop prices at high levels and demand for more cropland acres increasing, producers have the potential to benefit greatly by bringing a significant amount of land back into production. With contracts expiring this fall, the land will be ready for production for the 2013 crop year.

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ill sunflower have a shot at gaining any of these acres? Farmers say it would depend on a number of factors, including rotation and prices. It also would depend on the condition of the land pertaining to the reason it went into CRP in the first place. Byron Richard, a western North Dakota farmer who has broken up thousands of acres of CRP land, says he has tried sun-

flower on some of those acres with a great deal of success. He says success is dependent on the prep work regarding burndown. Another reason he likes sunflower in CRP ground is the option for a post-plant application for grass control. “One of our main problems was probably getting all that alfalfa out of there,” Richard explains. “But we go in with a high rate of glyphosate – around two quarts. We do a good summer burndown in June, and, thanks to the leftover root system, there’s good moisture retention over the next several months.” Hans Kandel, North Dakota State University extension agronomist, says sunflower would be a good fit for land coming out of CRP. He, like Richard, says it boils down to the preparation work that lays the foundation for success. Probably the most important factor when going onto CRP ground is for the farmer to ask, “Why was this piece of land put into CRP?” If the land was placed into CRP because it was subpar, then it will probably still have those same problems. So any particular problem initially will need to be addressed as that land is converted back into production. Once the background of the land is understood, current issues can better be dealt with moving forward. Kandel was a contributing author on a publication released by the NDSU Extension Service in June of 2008 titled, Bringing Land in the Conservation Reserve Program Back Into Crop Production or Grazing. The publication is online at: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ plantsci/crops/a1364.pdf. It’s important to note, the publication states, how sunflower fits with the three major agronomic factors that should be considered when deciding on which crop would be the best fit after CRP. They are:

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Sunflower States’ CRP Contract Expirations (Acreage Each Year as of January) 2013 2012 Colorado 222,775 569,560 Kansas 213,441 517,577 Minnesota 129,696 290,064 Nebraska 96,884 201,309 North Dakota 257,885 838,223 South Dakota 106,024 224,863 Texas 362,269 827,750 1,388,974 3,469,346 Seven-State Total (1) residue, (2) weed control and (3) soil water. The publication offers a concise synopsis of the pros and cons associated with different crops considered on CRP acres. The pros associated with sunflower are: (1) It allows time for spring weed control. (2) Planting is later, compared with other crops. (3) It is not susceptible to grass diseases. (4) It is a deep-rooted crop. • Spring Weed Control — Since most CRP land has a grass cover crop, Kandel recommends seeding a broadleaf crop like sunflower because there are more options for controlling grassy weeds. Sunflower with Clearfield® or ExpressSun® traits would be the best option in this case. Pretreating this ground with a fall application

2014 93,714 120,559 207,234 72,106 146,859 70,747 170,158 881,377

of glyphosate and a repeat application in the spring is recommended to kill the top growth prior to planting. Postemergent grass herbicides offer better control of volunteer CRP grasses during the growing season. • Later Planting — Cool soil temperatures are associated with heavy residue. Since sunflower is planted later in the season, the soil would have a chance to warm up. A later planting date would also allow sufficient time to apply a glyphosate burndown in the spring prior to planting. • Not Susceptible to Grass Diseases — As a broadleaf, sunflower would not be prone to grass diseases that could be present in CRP.

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• Deep Rooted — In the fall, soils in CRP ground generally have low levels of stored moisture because the established plants (mostly grasses) have been using soil water during the growing season. Even though sunflower has a high water requirement, it has a deep root system that will make use of the soil profile moisture.

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andel says probably the number one issue with sunflower will be the difficulty farmers may have in establishing a good plant stand in heavy residue on CRP acres. The sunflower crop survey that he coordinates each year has pointed toward inadequate plant stand as the number one yield-limiting factor. “This is, in my mind, the key issue,” he says. “From the survey, we know that plant stand within the row and plant population are major production issues. Having a lot of residue will increase the risk of planting seeds that will not be able to germinate.” This is an important factor when considering tillage methods on CRP acres. While conventional tillage may look attractive to battle weeds and heavy residue, this is not ideal, for many reasons. Tillage will promote erosion — which is quite possibly the reason the land was placed into the conservation program in the first place. Full tillage would help warm up the soil; but it likely would also result in a considerable reduction in soil moisture, which is needed for optimal crop growth. Byron Richard adds that with the advent of vertical tillage, he has had no problem establishing a good sunflower stand despite the heavy residue in the CRP acres. “The vertical tillage has changed things, allowing us to manipulate the residue without degrading the soil,” he says. “With this method, we’ve been able to come in with a hoe drill or planter with no problem getting our sunflower planted. And we’ve ended up with average to above-average yields.”

E

ach crop brings advantages and disadvantages when it comes to a choice for CRP acres. The cons associated with numerous crops, including sunflower, are: fertilizer requirements, soil insects and perennial broadleaf weeds. • Fertilizer requirements — With nearly every crop going into CRP acres, fertilizer needs are of great importance. While sunflower is known for its taproot going after soil nutrients deep in the soil profile, the existing grasses also have long roots that are able to mine the nutrients. Nitrogen almost certainly will be low — and, with the high levels of residue with high carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, will be released more slowly than when following a crop without added N. “With no nitrogen having been applied in maybe 10 years or more on CRP ground, a farmer will typi-

THE SUNFLOWER  March/April 2012


cally see low levels in the soil,” Kandel explains. “Fertilization will need to take place.” This is why a soil test is a must, with application of NPK likely required on most fields. “Producers could go back to preCRP records and see what soil fertility issues there were at that time,” Kandel states. “These same issues will still be there. Most nutrients that were available were probably used by the CRP vegetation.” The 2008 NDSU publication recommended that farmers consider adding 20 to 25% more N than to normal cropland. Phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) levels are not likely to be reduced substantially from that before the land was placed in CRP, as there has been little removal by harvesting a crop. But the nutrients may not be readily available to the crop planted after breakup of CRP. The guide goes on to state that if the CRP was hayed during drought years, significant P and K removal may have resulted from forage removal. Applying sufficient N for a crop like sunflower can be a challenge when no-till is used because the needed rate will be high and surface applications are not recommended due to the high risk of loss through volatilization. • Insects — When it comes to insects, as with any sunflower ground, scouting and watchful diligence are the best forms of defense. Broadspectrum insecticides are recommended to control pests. • Broadleaf Weeds — While grasses are of greatest concern in CRP, broadleaf weeds are also a problem — especially early in plant establishment. Cultivation alone will not give satisfactory control of CRP vegetation. Herbicide application in the fall and spring should also combat these weeds. For a good source for information on herbicides for sunflower to kill weeds in CRP, see the NDSU weed science document: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/weeds/ weed-control-guides/nd-weed-controlguide-1/wcg-files/6-Snfl.pdf/view. While making plans for the switch from CRP back into cropland, it’s important to recognize that there will be a yield drag as the land is coming into production. Kandel cautions growers to be aware that they will not get 100% of their potential yield; so when doing cash flow projections, this should be a consideration. Transitioning land that has been idle in CRP — even if it was hayed or seeded with a cover crop — is similar to breaking up the prairie. There is no easy answer to the question of the best way to do it. Each situation will come down to the farming system utilized in each operation and the moisture conditions of the soil at the time. Not all states are in the same boat when it comes to land conditions and moisture levels. In Northern Plains states, as well as

THE SUNFLOWER  March/April 2012

Kansas and Nebraska, rental rates have spiked recently from farmers eager to develop more land and take advantage of the high commodity prices. In those states, renters are lining up to take over land, and landowners will not be as likely to attempt to re-enroll their land into CRP. However, in states like Texas and Oklahoma, where drought conditions are severe, renters aren’t as willing to take the risk and pay more for land rent than the CRP program offers. In these states, landowners may re-apply to the CRP program and not

be as motivated to put land back into production due to the dry conditions. Whatever the situation, one of the goals should be preserving as much organic matter as possible for the overall health of the soil. Farming practices have come a long way since much of this land went into the CRP program. Thanks to the management practices noted above and the refinement of no-till and minimum-till practices, farmers are better equipped to maximize acres coming out of the program than ever before. — Sonia Mullally ■

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Pustovoit Award Goes To Two USDA Scientists

Photo: Don Lilleboe

C.C. Jan & Gerald Seiler Receive International Association’s Top Honor

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wo scientists with the USDA-ARS Sunflower and Plant Biology Research Unit at Fargo, N.D., received the International Sunflower Association’s highest award on February 29. Cytogeneticist C.C. Jan and research botanist Gerald Seiler were honored with the V.S. Pustovoit Award during the 18th International Sunflower Conference held in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Three others also received the Pustovoit Award in Mar del Plata: Juan Dominguiz of Spain, Mihail Christov of Bulgaria and Andre Pouzet of France.

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C.C. Jan (left) and Gerald Seiler of the USDA-ARS Sunflower and Plant Biology Research Unit hold the V.S. Pustovoit Award that each received during the recent International Sunflower Conference.

The Pustovoit Award, named after renowned Russian sunflower breeder V.S. Pustovoit, is conferred upon individuals who have made major contributions to the scientific and/or technological advancement of the global sunflower industry.

This is the first time two individuals from the same country (much less the same research unit) have been honored in the same year. Prior to 2012, only 29 scientists had received a Pustovoit since its inception in 1980. Among them were five Americans (Murray Kinman, Charles Heiser, Gerhardt Fick, Florin Stoenescu and Jerry Miller) and two Canadians (Eric Putt and Waldemar Sackston). Jan received his B.S. degree in Taiwan and his M.S. in agronomy and Ph.D. in genetics from the University of CaliforniaDavis. He began working with the USDA-ARS Davis group in 1981 in the newly created position of sunflower cytogeneticist. The Davis sunflower unit was closed in 1984, at which time Jan relocated to Fargo. Jan has worked extensively to develop systems by which desirable traits from wild sunflower species can be transferred into cultivated lines. It’s a very challenging process, complicated by the extreme diversity of the Helianthus (sunflower) genus. There are 52 different sunflower species — 14 annual and 38 perennial. Some are diploids, some are tetraploids, and others are hexaploids. Getting them to cross with each other is an often-daunting proposition requiring novel, complex approaches. Among Jan’s current major objectives are interspecific gene transfer and the characterization and mapping of genes for disease resistance and agronomic traits. He is very involved in the effort to develop doubled-haploid sunflower and in gene transfer for Sclerotinia resistance. Seiler, a Wells County, N.D., native, earned B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in botany from North Dakota State University. He made his first wild sunflower species collection trip while a graduate student at NDSU in the early 1970s. Several years later, in 1980, he joined the USDAARS Sunflower Research Unit at Bushland, Texas, as a research botanist, working on the collection and use of wild sunflower species for improvement of the cultivated crop. When the Bushland sunflower program closed in 1988, Seiler moved back to North Dakota and joined the ARS Fargo unit. An internationally recognized authority on wild sunflower species, Seiler was instrumental in developing the wild sunflower germplasm collection for the USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System. During the past 35 years, he has participated in 25 explorations for wild sunflower species in the United States, Canada, Argentina and Australia. His explorations have contributed about 1,500 accessions to the collection. Seiler has authored more than 300 scientific publications, including 13 book chapters and coauthorship of two books: Sunflower

THE SUNFLOWER  March/April 2012


Species of the United States and Genetics, Genomics, and Breeding of Sunflower. During his career, Seiler has developed and released 60 interspecific sunflower germplasms derived from 12 annual and five perennial species. As a group, those germplasms have incorporated genes for salt tolerance, resistance to all known races of downy mildew, and resistance genes for all North American races of rust. Overall,

the goal of his work has been to increase the genetic diversity of cultivated sunflower through the incorporation of useful traits from the wilds — be it disease resistance, insect tolerance, drought tolerance or a broad range of other characteristics.

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oth Jan and Seiler express appreciation for the recognition of their contributions to sunflower science and to the indus-

try in general. “But I consider [the Pustovoit] a ‘group award,’ because we don’t do anything alone,” Seiler stresses. “We have stakeholders and partners who all work together.” Among those partners, Jan and Seiler note, are their colleagues within the ARS sunflower group, including plant pathologist Tom Gulya, geneticist Brent Hulke, entomologist Jarrad Prasifka and molecular geneticist Lili Qi, to name a few. “We do our job as best we can, and we enjoy our work,” Jan says. “But the recognition [is gratifying]. It’s a confirmation of what we have accomplished.” The small group of people who work in basic research involving wild sunflower species often seem quite removed from the final product — i.e., better hybrids for the farmer — Seiler and Jan affirm. “It’s like making sausage,” Seiler illustrates with a nonscientific analogy. “You’re stuffing in the ingredients at one end, but the sausage only comes out at the other — and that’s where the commercial breeder is.” But those ingredients at the front end are critical to the quality of the finished product, he points out. “We always view this (the ARS work) as a ‘basic’ program where we do the gene discovery and put it into some kind of cultivated background,” he continues. “The commercial breeders take the released material and put it into their own best material. They’re interested in a certain trait. “But unfortunately, there are a lot of other traits that come along with that desired trait — traits that we call ‘excessive baggage.’ This is where the technology going forward (e.g., molecular markers) will be more efficient. We’ll spend less time trying to get rid of the traits we don’t want — and focus more on what we do want.” “We are providing the raw material for the commercial breeders,” Jan summarizes. “They can refine it, put it into their own background and develop a product.” That final product — an improved sunflower hybrid — is what ultimately benefits the farmer and the overall sunflower industry. — Don Lilleboe  ■

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THE SUNFLOWER  March/April 2012


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Photo: Andrew Friskop

Left: A sunflower plant leaf with a rust severity rating of 1%.

Managing Sunflower Rust With Fungicides By Andrew Friskop, Sam Markell & Robert Harveson*

The Problem

S

unflower rust has become a common topic of conversation for producers in recent years. Prior to 2008, rust usually appeared in North Dakota during the late reproductive stages of sunflower development and in severities rarely resulting in economic damage. During the 2008 growing season, however, the sexual recombination stage for the pathogen (yellow-orange aecial cup) was detected and disease onset occurred earlier than normal, i.e., in late June. The effects of this event were two-fold: (1) the sexual recombination stage may have signaled the onset of new race development in the state, and (2) the early onset of cinnamon-brown pustules (uredinia) resulted in substantial yield loss in localized areas in North Dakota. New race development could make re* Andrew Friskop is a Ph.D. candidate in plant pathology at North Dakota State University. Sam Markell is NDSU extension plant pathologist. Robert Harveson is plant pathologist with the University of Nebraska at Scottsbluff.

22

sistant hybrids vulnerable to sunflower rust, and the early development of rust can initiate multiple cycles of spore production causing several plant infections. Recognizing the importance of the situation in 2008, sunflower growers applied fungicides to protect against yield loss. Additionally, fungicide efficacy and timing trials were initiated to provide answers on rust management and in an attempt to develop a threshold for applications.

The Response For the past four years, North Dakota State University and the University of Nebraska have conducted a series of fungicide trials. With the help of both universities’ research extension centers, Cenex Harvest States (CHS) and USDA-ARS, a total of 22 trials were conducted in the last four years. In 2008 and 2009, trials were designed to determine the best fungicide and fungicide timing when rust onset occurred “normally” (early August). To investigate this, two types of trials were conducted: (1) timing trials, which were designed to determine the best spray timing, and (2) evaluation trials, which were designed to determine which fungicide(s) worked best.

In the timing trials, two fungicides (Headline® and Tebuzol®) were applied singularly and/or in sequence at R3.5-4, R5.25.5 and R6 sunflower growth stages (equating to bud opening, early bloom and late flowering, respectively). In the fungicide evaluation trials, six to 11 fungicides were tested at R5. The 2010 and 2011 trials focused on management of rust during early disease onsets in early reproductive stages. Fungicides were evaluated at V8-12, R1, and R5 (eight- to 12-true-leaf stage, bud formation and early flowering, respectively) in singular or sequential applications. Additionally, spraying programs were constructed rotating fungicide chemistries at R1 and R5 applications. Trials were completed at the NDSU research extension centers in Langdon and Carrington, as well as in Bottineau, N.D. (former Vision Research Park), Casselton, N.D. (Cenex Harvest States), Grandin, N.D. (Cenex Harvest States), and Scottsbluff, Neb. Most trials were artificially inoculated with rust to facilitate disease pressure. Disease was evaluated as the average percent leaf area covered by pustules, with the aid of assessment diagrams found in the North Dakota State University Extension publication “Sunflower Rust.”

The Results Results of the 2008 and 2009 trials produced a reoccurring theme: the timing of a fungicide application was more important than the type of fungicide used. Both labeled fungicide chemistries (strobilurins and triazoles) were equally effective in reducing disease. With regard to fungicide timing, applications made at R5.0-5.9 (bloom) when pustule coverage on the upper four leaves was about 1% resulted in lower disease and protected both yield and test weight loss when compared to non-treated control plots. Additionally, data indicated that single fungicide applications at R5.0-5.9 often resulted in disease values statistically the same to multiple applications of fungicides. Some locations suggest that applications made at R6 do not significantly reduce disease pressure and therefore may be cost inefficient. In the 2010 and 2011 trials, disease pressure was apparent early in the growing season, but it did not reach high severity levels at season’s end. However, more information was obtained in regard to timing of fungicide applications. In agreement with 2008 and 2009 data, the R5 growth stage was important for fungicide application. Some trials demonstrated a singular

THE SUNFLOWER March/April 2012


application at V8-12 was less effective at managing disease than later applications. When sequential applications of different fungicide chemistries (spraying programs) were used, disease pressure was lower than that of the non-treated control plot, but statistically the same to each other. In general, our data showed that when rust is present, a well-timed fungicide application limited disease progression; and when severity was high enough to damage the crop, that same well-timed application often protected both yield and test weight. Yield and test weight increases were not observed in all 22 trials, of course; but under the right conditions, it is clear that fungicides worked very well. Figure 1 (below) is an example of a tebuconazole application being made when rust severity approached 1% at R5, and disease severity, yield loss and test weight loss were all limited. This trend was also observed for other fungicides applied at this time.

New Management  Recommendations Fungicide work conducted in Israel during the 1990s determined a fungicide

action threshold of 3% rust severity on the upper four leaves at mid-R5. However, these trials were conducted in a sunflower growing region vastly different from the Northern Great Plains. Prior to 2008, specific sunflower rust fungicide recommendations for U.S. growing regions were not well defined. Our data support a fungicide action threshold at 1% severity on the upper four leaves at R5.0-5.9. It should be noted that if rust severity is at or above 1% on the upper four leaves before R5, multiple fungicide applications may be warranted and are likely suggested. Additionally, the 2008 epidemic signaled the labeling of another fungicide chemistry: tebuconazole. When it comes to managing sunflower rust, both long-term and short-term goals are needed. The long-term goal is using rust-resistant hybrids. Host resistance is often the cost-effective way of managing disease, but it may not always be available. The short-term goal is using fungicides appropriately. As indicated in 2008, fungicides serve as a very important management tool for sunflower growers. Rust infections vary from year to year and are unpredictable. But a few important guidelines can be followed in a rust year:

• If rust is detected early in the growing season, producers should scout their fields to observe the canopy location of rust. • Special attention should be given to the upper four leaves of the sunflower plant with respect to growth stage. • Being aware of the rust progression in a field will determine the opportune time to make a fungicide application. ■

Acknowledgement The authors would like to thank the NDSU Langdon Research Extension Center, NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center and Cenex Harvest States for allocating field space for the fungicide trials. Special thanks are given to Scott Halley (LREC), Kevin Misek (LREC), Michael Wunsch (CREC), Blaine Schatz (CREC), Paul Hendrickson (CREC) and Joel Schaefer (CHS) for their collaborative efforts. The authors would also like to thank the National Sunflower Association, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture – Minor Use Fund, and the North Dakota State Board of Agriculture Research and Education (SBARE) for funding.

CREC 2009 - Disease Progression - Rust Severity Figure 1: Carrington REC Disease Progression - Rust Severity, 2009 14

Rust Severity (%)

12 10 8

Non-treated Control

6

Tebuconazole (4 oz) @ R4

4

Tebuconazole (4 oz) @ R5.5

2

Tebuconazole (4 oz) @ R6

0 R3-4

R5.5-5.9

R6

R6-7

Ratings at Specific Growth Stages

CREC 2009 - Test Weight 25

CREC 2009 - Yield 2500

22.91 a 20.4 b

21.3 b

2131 a

21.19 b 2000 1544 b

15

Lbs/Acre

Lbs/Bushel

20

10

1000

500

0

0

THE SUNFLOWER  March/April 2012

1577 b

1500

5

Treatments

1685 b

Treatments

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T

North Dakota Woman Develops Solution For All Those Who Love Eating In-Shell Sunflower Seeds — Without the Mess

he Spitster is a solution for anyone who has ever said, “I’d eat more sunflower seeds if they weren’t so messy.” Mary Bjerke, the product creator, sells it as “Two Cups In One, For Your Snack Eating Fun.” The idea for “The Spitster” can be traced back to 1999. Over the past 13 years, Bjerke has been on the roller coaster ride of entrepreneurism. The Fargo, N.D., resident says that developing a product idea has been trying and rewarding at the same time. Starting out, she had four kids to raise and a full-time job in the insurance business, allowing little time to work on her product. Then, a cancer diagnosis in 2003 put everything on hold. A few years later, when she was ready to get back at it, she sought help from Reuben Tschritter of the Institute for Business and Industry Development at North Dakota State University. Together, they developed a working prototype and applied for the product patent. Another setback came when her cancer reoccurred in 2010. But Bjerke says she is now on track, stronger than ever, marketing and promoting her invention. She will retire from her “day job” this summer and focus on bringing the success of her product to a whole new level. — Sonia Mullally

Can you describe your product and how it works? The Spitster consists of two cups in one. One fits inside the other for storage when not in use. You simply fill the larger cup with seeds, connect the two cups together by putting the peg into the hole of the smaller cup and closing the lid. For added convenience, the cup fits into most car cup holders. When ready to use, simply pull the two cups apart, spin the smaller bottom cup 180 degrees and put the cups together again (the peg goes into the hole in a piggy back fashion). Or, the two cups can be used separately. The larger cup can hold about six ounces of seeds. The smaller cup can be used for discarded shells. It’s washable and reusable. The Spitster comes in a variety of colors and can be customized with a private label or logo for company, sports team or small business promotions or giveaways. Photo: Gregory Locnikar

Why the focus on sunflower? I used to travel regularly to and from Minneapolis and eat seeds while driving. I would end up spilling my bag of seeds all over the car or forget to bring an empty cup for the discarded shells. Since I enjoy seeds while I drive but don’t enjoy the mess, I figured there should be a better way.

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THE SUNFLOWER  March/April 2012


Explain where you got the idea? The idea for “The Spitster” started in 1999 out of a personal desire to make eating sunflower seeds easy and mess free. My first prototype consisted of two soup cans connected by a hinge. Do you get a lot of feedback from sunflower seed eaters? I hear a lot of comments at the trade shows that I attend. I hear a variety of comments — from a grandmother buying one for each of her 20 grandchildren, to the wife buying it for her husband (or vice versa) with the hopes that the car will stay clean and free of sunflower seeds. From this face-to-face interaction with my customers, I realize that people use it for more than sunflower seeds. They use it for candy and discarded wrappers, French fries and ketchup, pistachios or peanuts and shells, just to name a few. Not only do I believe in the product, but what makes selling it enjoyable is that it’s also affordable. I hear so many favorable comments, including the usual, “Why didn’t I think of that?” The product has also been a popular gift, with many repeat customers. What were/are some of the ups and downs on the journey marketing the Spitster?

Where is your product available? The Spitster is currently manufactured in Minot, N.D. It is on sale at several different retail locations around the Dakotas and Minnesota, at various trade shows throughout the region as scheduled, and on our website at www.TheSpitster.com.

Photo: Gregory Locnikar

The journey has been long with many trials and tribulations, but it’s all worth it when I encounter enthusiastic buyers and repeat customers. Some of the challenges have been the time restraints (waiting two and a half years for the patent, for example), the cost associated with developing the prototype, and finding the right marketing strategies. Looking back, I might have done some things differently. But now that we’ve developed the product and the promotion is coming along, it’s turned into a dream come true, owning my own business and loving what I do, selling my own invention.

Mary Bjerke

The product will also soon be available at Amazon.com. The Spitster sells for $6 each or two for $10. Multi-packs can also be purchased at five for $20. For more information on the product, visit www.TheSpitster.com. It can also be found on Twitter and Facebook. ■

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THE SUNFLOWER  March/April 2012

Phone: 877-877-7810 or 701-347-5985 Fax: 701-347-4385 E-Mail: mike@themoneyfarm.com 25


30 Years Ago Excerpts from the March 1982 Issue of The Sunflower

Editorial Comments / Don Lilleboe — “Farmers reading this magazine don’t have to be told about the ‘cost-price’ squeeze.’ They’ve been feeling the pinch for some time now, and it doesn’t show signs of letting up soon. Production costs continue to rise while commodity prices lag behind. “It’s not the best of times for U.S. sunflower crushers either. As of this writing, the major crushers here in the Upper Midwest have temporarily shut down. And some of them are saying that except to fulfill current sales commitments, they may not open their doors again until the new crop comes off this fall. . . . “[The] domestic crusher is faced with four conditions which are making his life difficult right now: (1) the comparatively short supply and high price of sunflower seed (try telling a grower his seed is too high priced . . .); (2) a glut of soybean and cottonseed oils available at very cheap prices; (3) a European crushing industry which imposes a 10 percent duty on imported sun oil but none on seed; and (4) a subsidized Argentine crushing industry which can sell sun oil into foreign markets at roughly $110 a metric ton under what American crushers can offer right now. “The bottom line is that U.S. sun oil, [compared to] major competitors for domestic and foreign sales, has become too expensive (or its competitors are too cheap, the result’s the same either way).” Plant Sunflower With a Drill? / Don Lilleboe — “Though you’ve likely heard it before, Earl Rott will tell you again: it’s not essential to use a row crop planter to put in your sunflower. And his

26

is the voice of experience. Rott, who farms near the north central South Dakota community of Leola, will be drilling his seventh sunflower crop this spring. . . . “Utilizing already-owned equipment is the primary reason Rott feels the use of a grain drill is justified when seeding sunflower — that plus the fact that it does the job. Rott, who seeds with a 28-foot Melroe drill with six-inch spacings, feels he gets very adequate inrow spacing and seed placement. He’ll plug up four holes and leave the fifth open (end holes are closed), resulting in row spacings of about 28 inches and a per acre population of around 17,-18,000. “Rott feels his brand of drill may be a bit more conducive for planting flowers than some others. ‘We’ve just got a seed wheel, and the way you control the seeding rate is by simply speeding up or slowing down this wheel,’ he states. [His model drill] has three types of seed wheels: coarse, medium or fine. Rott feels the medium works best for planting sunflower seeds. He prefers to stay away from size five seed, but all others work quite well for him. . . . “ ‘For dryland areas such as the central and western Dakotas, I think drills will work quite well for most people planting sunflower,’ Earl Rott remarks, concurring that while some may want to try solid-seeded flowers, he’s quite satisfied to be drilling in rows. ‘When done correctly, you’re getting the seed down right, firming the soil well, and you don’t have to go out and buy another line of equipment.’ ” This Agronomist Likes No-Till / Don Lilleboe — “No-till sunflower has a convert in Dr. Steve Miller, North Dakota State University agronomist. Miller began studying sunflower grown under a no-till cropping system in 1976 and, at that time, was admittedly somewhat of a skeptic. “Five years of research data and general field observations have altered his view of no-till, however. ‘The more I see crops on no-till and how well they respond, it definitely convinces me that you can grow very good crops without tillage,’ he remarks. ‘I wasn’t very pro no-till when I started (researching), but I’m becoming more so all the time.’ “Yield maintenance is one reason for Miller’s positive attitude. He has conducted field trials at Fargo, N.D., for five years, comparing yields of no-till versus conventionally tilled sunflower in a wheat/sunflower/wheat/sunflower rotation schedule. What he’s found is that the no-till plots averaged eight percent higher yields than the conventional tillage plots. The mean for the five years of no-till was 1,590 pounds, compared to an average of 1,470 pounds per acre on the conventional. “Miller cautions that these averages were attained under weedfree conditions. . . . Also, the plots have basically been fertilized to the maximum levels so that fertility in either situation wasn’t going to be a problem. The bottom line to his results, though, is that yields can be maintained under a continuous system of no-till. “The limited arsenal of registered herbicides is the main hindrance to no-till sunflower production right now, according to Miller. . . . ‘If a grower is seriously considering going no-till in sunflower, I would suggest that he go on some of his cleanest fields,’ Miller advises. ‘He should do as good a job as possible of controlling the weeds in the previous crop, because we really don’t have a lot of registered options right now.’ ” Television Show Produced by Nat’l Association — “ ‘The Sunflower Story II,’ a half-hour program produced by the National Sunflower Association in cooperation with Ag USA Productions of Pacific Palisades, Calif., is being shown on a number of television stations around the nation this winter and spring. “This program, which emphasizes the qualities and uses of sunflower and its products, is the second sunflower program produced through Ag USA. The first, produced in late 1980, gave a general overview of the sunflower industry and introduced ways of utilizing sun products.” ■

THE SUNFLOWER  March/April 2012


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Maximize your investment with Pioneer® brand sunflower hybrid 63N82 with the DuPont™ ExpressSun® trait. It’s a non-transgenic gene which provides tolerance to postemergence applications of DuPont™ Express® herbicide with TotalSol® soluble granules. Use it for post control of problem weeds including:  Wild mustard  Redroot pigweed  Canada thistle

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The Sunflower Magazine - March/April 2012  

Inside this issue Hebicide-Tolerant Hybrids Sunflower on CRP Acres? Managing Sunflower Rust USDA Researchers Honored

The Sunflower Magazine - March/April 2012  

Inside this issue Hebicide-Tolerant Hybrids Sunflower on CRP Acres? Managing Sunflower Rust USDA Researchers Honored