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The 2005 Sunflower Hybrids

Monday, November 15, 2004
filed under: Hybrid Selection/Planting

New Croplan Genetics hybrids feature downy mildew resistance

Croplan Genetics will be bringing several new sunflower hybrids to the market in 2005: a NuSun hybrid resistant to all prevalent races of downy mildew found in the U.S., a high oleic hybrid, a downy mildew resistant high oleic hybrid and a new confection hybrid.

3080 DMR,NS is a NuSun hybrid resistant to downy mildew. It is an early hybrid with a very high oil content and excellent yield potential. It was the top oil per acre hybrid in the 2003 NDSU trials at Carrington and Minot, averaging 48.55% oil content in those trials.

340 HO is a new early to mid maturity high oleic hybrid with very good yield potential and average oleic levels of over 80%. It is a short statured plant with good stalk and roots, and very good oil content.

A downy mildew resistant high oleic hybrid (not yet numbered at this writing) will be an early maturity product with better than average yield potential with high oil content as well as an oleic level that averages better than 80%.

135 is a new confection hybrid. It has an early maturity rating that produces a very large, attractive seed color. It is an attractive plant type with a short stature.

Dekalb offering four new hybrids for 2005

“For the 2005 crop year, I expect downy mildew to be on everyone's mind. Dekalb is fortunate to have focused on this disease in our breeding programs, and as a result will offer five products with resistance to the known races of downy mildew occurring in the USA,”says Luke Bozeman, comercial and technical manager. DKF29-90, DKF30-33 NS, DKF33-33 NS, DKF35-10 NS and DKF39-01 are resistant to the prevalent downy mildew races found in the U.S., he notes. “Also, with the cold growing season we have just experienced and the pressure this has placed on corn and soybean production in North Dakota, I think that sunflower acreage could be up in 2005.”

DKF35-10 NS is a medium maturity NuSun product with excellent yield, fast drydown and high oil content. DKF35-10 NS is also downy mildew resistant.

DKF38-30 NS is a medium-full maturity NuSun product with excellent oleic level, medium plant height and excellent drought tolerance.

DKF39-01 is a full maturity traditional oil product with excellent yield potential, fast drydown and excellent standability. DKF39-01 is also downy mildew resistant.

DKF38-80 CL is a medium-full maturity traditional oil product with good drought tolerance and very good seedling growth rate. It is a Clearfield product compatible with the Clearfield production system using Beyond herbicide.

Interstate Seed introducing hybrids with market versatility

“I think NuSun hybrids with market versatility will grow in importance in

the coming years. Most growers know there are three markets and want the versatility,” says Mike Hagen, Interstate Seed. “Clearfield sunflower has been has been a real gift to the industry. NuSun Clearfield hybrids will continue to expand, especially as breeding programs begin to release the second and third generation of new Clearfield hybrids. With trans fat labeling coming in ’06, I believe we will also continue to see expansion of high oleics.”

Interstate will have three new sunflower products in 2005:

4704NS is a new medium-early maturity NuSun hybrid. This is a new

generation hybrid with full market versatility (de-hull, crush or bird food), specifically bred to consistently deliver large seed for the de-hull market without reducing population or under stress conditions. It is very tolerant to downy mildew and showed very low levels of infection in this year’s regional plots. 4704NS is regionally versatile with good

performance throughout North Dakota.

4540NS is another new generation “market versatile” hybrid. It is early, approximately three days earlier than 4704NS. It is designed to consistently deliver big seed for the de-hull market as well as high oil for the NuSun crush. 4540NS will be well positioned from Highway 200 and north in North Dakota. It is a very high yielding

hybrid with quick drydown.

4575NS/CL is Interstate’s new early Clearfield NuSun hybrid for 2005.

4575NS/CL offers a solid package featuring good standability, oil content and quick drydown.

Legend unveils new dual-purpose hybrid

The new hybid LSF 121N is early-medium (about 69 days to flowering) has medium-short plant stature (about 60” in plant height) with strong stalks and excellent standability. Large plump seeds make this a dual-purpose hybrid suitable for oil, hulling or birdseed. This hybrid also has quick drydown in the fall. Late-season plant health is very good, and oil content is about 46%.

Tim Bratland, product manager, says that another standout hybrid is LSF 115N, a very early NuSun that has good adaptability up to the Canadian border. It has a high oil content (about 48.2%) stands about 59 inches, has very good late season health, and takes about 66 days to flowering. Disease resistance and standability are above average.

Mycogen introducing five hybrids in ’05

Bruce Due, district agronomist for Mycogen Seeds, advises growers to select a sunflower market segment, then choose the sunflower hybrid to best fit those market needs.

Consider hybrids that have performed well in your area over the past several years, and growers in the Northern Plains shouldn’t allow the unusual 2004 growing season to drastically alter their plans. “This past growing season was so abnormal, that changes made to a production plan based on 2004 may be changes made against a normal growing season's expectation,” Due says. “If a grower was generally planting on the late side or using fuller season type hybrids, then adjusting those plans somewhat may make some sense, but massive changes based on 2004 alone would not.”

A look at five new hybrids offered by Mycogen for 2005:

8D310: A mid-season NuSun hybrid designed with the hulling market in mind. Exceptionally large seed compared to other oil type hybrids with high yield with excellent hulling characteristics.

8N251: An early season NuSun hybrid with high yield and oil potential. This hybrid indicates good adaptation to the northern sunflower growing areas.

8N352: A medium to medium full maturity NuSun hybrid that features good uniformity and overall favorable plant agronomics. Billed as “the perfect hybrid for selling into

the NuSun market to obtain the greatest income per acre, destined to be an industry leader in oil content percentage and oil yield per acre.”

8N510: A full season NuSun hybrid that is very uniform and displays a medium short plant structure, with very good stalks and roots, average oil content and high yield potential.

8C416: A medium maturity confection hybrid that will deliver improved seed size, seed color and yield compared to Mycogen's popular 9338 hybrid. Well suited for in-shell type markets and works well as a hulling confection.

Mycogen this fall announced that 17 of its sunflower hybrids will be available with the “Cruiser DM Pak” for the 2005 growing season. It offers early insect protection of Cruiser insecticide and the disease protection of Dynasty™ fungicide plus Apron XL® and Maxim® 4FS fungicides.

Proseed hybrid demonstrates good Sclerotinia tolerance

A NuSun hybrid that has performed well under Sclerotinia pressure is among the products that Proseed will be marketing in 2005.

Proseed president Keith Peltier says that 9405 is a medium maturity NuSun hybrid with excellent standability, solid oleic levels and big seed that makes it a possibility for the hulling market. He notes that the hybrid has scored high in NDSU Sclerotinia tolerance trials at Carrington, Casselton, and Langdon. “There’s something in the genes on the female side of this hybrid that gives it better tolerance,” he says.

Another NuSun, 9441, is one of the earliest and is among the fastest to drydown on the market, with very good yield and oil potential.

CL 55-15 is a medium-maturity Clearfield hybrid with excellent standability and good yield potential. Peltier says those who grew the hybrid were satisfied with the post-emerge weed control it allows. “We’re screening about 250 Clearfield hybrids with the intention of taking six down to Chile this winter for increase, and should have some good choices for the Clearfield line in 2006,” he says.

Seeds 2000 offers Defender, Defender Plus

Steve Kent, president of Seeds 2000, notes that sunflower performance in 2004 was as variable as the weather conditions were. The cool, wet conditions in the east and north were in direct contrast to the drier conditions to the south and west. Overall, sunflower performed well relative to other crops when compared in the same geography.

Sunflower growers are already reserving seed of hybrids with resistance to multiple races of downy mildew in areas where that was a problem, he says, noting that the Seeds 2000 hybrids Defender and Defender Plus both carry resistance and performed well across the northern one-half of N.D.

Like Defender, Defender Plus is adapted to northern areas where genetic resistance to downy mildew is needed, and it offers growers the opportunity to sell into the dehull oilseed market. Defender Plus is suitable for the NuSun, dehull or birdfood markets.

Kent says that Clearfield hybrids worked well in areas with reduced tillage practices and specific fields with heavy weed pressure. Sunflower growers in the drier production regions were able to conserve moisture and control weeds resulting in higher average yields. He projects the demand for Clearfield hybrids, such as Charger and Viper from Seeds 2000, will continue to grow in 2005.

He observes that acreage in 2005 may increase in the south and west where Sclerotinia was less of a concern in 2004. Growers who produce a high quality product will be rewarded with good prices in 2005, he says.

Two short-stature hybrids among Triumph Seed new releases

Triumph Seed has four new additions to its sunflower product line for 2005 planting: two short-statured NuSun hybrids, one Clearfield NuSun sunflower and the company’s first high oleic release.

660CL NuSun, for use in the Clearfield production system, is a medium NuSun hybrid with good oil content and NuSun values, head angle, and excellent plant health.

s672 NuSun is a 36 to 38-inch NuSun with excellent head angle, good stalk health, and good hail and stem weevil tolerance.

s675 is another short NuSun (38 to 42” tall) with great yield potential,

upright head angle, and good hail and stem weevil tolerance.

820HO is an early-season high oleic with excellent oil, upright head angle, and very uniform height and bloom.

“We’ve heard of positive results from sunflowers from Texas to Nebraska this year,” notes Ben Benton, Triumph sales agronomist. “Some late planted fields and double crop fields have shown great potential. Limited irrigation sunflower is really sparking people’s interest with the high cost and possible restrictions of pumping water and other high input costs. Later (June) planted sunflowers in the High Plains are showing to have great yield potential with less insect and disease pressure. Market opportunities are strong giving growers several options for their crop. Clearfield sunflower interest remains high and many 2004 users seem to be pleased. Our short-statured NuSun hybrids continue to be popular with growers in many different areas.” – Tracy Sayler

Tips in Selecting Your ’05 Hybrids

Jerry Miller, research geneticist at the USDA Northern Crop Science Lab, Fargo, N.D., offers these tips in evaluating hybrid performance data from public and private sources, and in selecting hybrids for 2005.

Marketability— Multi-purpose hybrids that have flexibility in several markets have become popular with producers. Assess what market or combination of markets may give you the best price for your ‘flowers.

Yield – Performance averaged over many tests is called “yield stability.” Good yield stability means that a hybrid may or may not be the best yielder at all locations, but that it does rank high in yield potential at many locations. A hybrid that ranks in the upper 20% at all locations exhibits better yield stability than one that is the top yielder at two locations, but ranks in the lower 40% at two other locations.

Oil content/composition – Select a high-oil hybrid over a low -oil hybrid with the same yield potential, but don't sacrifice yield in favor of oil content. The oilseed sunflower market pays a premium based on market price for over 40% oil (at 10% moisture) and discounts for oil less than 40%. Evaluate the dependability or consistency of a hybrid to make a particular oil quality. If you are selling into the bird food market then oil content is not a concern; yield and test weight are more important in the bird food market.

Maturity – When comparing hybrids, use the maturity rating to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Be realistic of your expected planting date, and mindful of the average killing frost in your area. Later-maturing hybrids generally yield higher than early hybrids, but if planting is delayed, only an early hybrid will mature and exhibit its full yield potential. Also, an earlier hybrid will likely be drier at harvest than a later hybrid, thus reducing drying costs. Consider planting hybrids with different maturity dates as a production hedge to spread risk, drydown and workload.

Disease tolerance— A minimum of three to four years rotation is recommended between successive sunflower crops to minimize disease potential. Most sunflower hybrids have resistance to verticillium wilt, races 1 and 2 of downy mildew, and two or more races of rust. Consult the seed company for information on the reaction of a particular hybrid to diseases that may pose a risk in your growing area.

A number of seed companies will be distributing new downy mildew resistant hybrids in 2005, resistant to all known races of downy mildew in North America. Look for these if you experienced problems with downy mildew in 2004.

Also new for 2005: a number of companies will be offering seed treated with Cruiser (thiamethoxam) insecticide and Dynasty (azoxystrobin) fungicide. The insecticide portion of the treatment helps protect against damage and stand loss caused by early season soil and foliar insects, including pale striped flea beetles, sunflower beetles and wireworms. The fungicide helps protect young sunflower seedlings against early season diseases, including downy mildew.

Self-pollination (or self-compatibility), recommended to be at least 90 percent, refers to the ability of the plant to pollinate itself despite unfavorable conditions for pollination.

Serviceability—Companies and seed dealers provide different services, policies, and purchase incentives. Determine what services you need, such as credit, delivery, and return policy.

Go to the NSA website ( to the ‘Growers’ section and then yield trials. Here, you can track a hybrid over four years and multiple locations to look for yield stability and other hybrid characteristics.

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