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2008 NSA Research Priorities

Thursday, November 1, 2007
filed under: Research and Development

By Larry Kleingartner

The National Sunflower Association (NSA) provides small grants to public researchers to stimulate new or additional work that may result in lower production costs, increased quality and/or higher yields.

Resolving Sclerotinia is a high priority. Grant requests for this disease must be directed to the National Sclerotinia Initiative. Please go to their site for details: There is a concentrated research effort in this disease from wild accessions to fungicide trials and everything in between. Researchers are urged to consider additional or new directions in Sclerotinia sunflower research.

The list below specifies “areas of interest” outlined by the NSA Research Committee. This is not an exclusive list, and all production areas of research will be considered by the committee. Applications are due by December 14, 2007.

Applications will be accepted electronically only and must be emailed to this address: You will receive a return e-mail showing that your proposal has been received. All applications will be reviewed by the NSA Research Committee in mid-January, and the NSA Board of Directors will make final funding decisions in late February or early March. Applicants will be informed shortly thereafter. The application format is available on this site.

— Research Areas of Interest —

Production Issues:

• Desiccation to achieve earlier harvest: Test labeled and experimental herbicides, timing of application, tank mixes to enhance dry down and investigate yield and quality factors in desiccating immature sunflower.

• Irrigation timing and other issues related to irrigation of sunflower with emphasis on limited irrigation.

• Blackbirds: Innovative and new approaches

• Planting precision to achieve an even stand

• Rotation studies with other crops before or after sunflower looking at a broad range of aspects from yield, soil water use, disease and insect interactions, nitrogen utilization and more. Preference for farmer field studies.

• Innovative planting techniques such as skip-row, ridge-till, etc.

• Fungicide application for control of diseases and achieving yield enhancement. Issues of timing and tank mixing with insecticides are critical. There is a strong preference for using labeled fungicides and the efficacy of adjuvants.

• Double cropping sunflower after winter wheat in new-to-sunflower areas such as southeastern Kansas.


• Long-Horned Beetle (Dectes): Interest in multiple approaches to minimizing damage, including date of planting/harvesting and use of stay-green hybrids to minimize girdling.

• Genetic resistance with emphasis on the stem weevil and long-horned beetle.

• Controlling insects through conventional insecticide means or other innovative techniques.

• Developing an early population warning system for the sunflower moth and banded moth on a national scope. Integrating that information into a mapping website or other information retrieval or dissemination system.

• Sunflower maggot biology and developing an economic threshold for control.

• Screen hybrid and breeding material for midge resistance.


• Interest in innovative weed control techniques related to existing labels, and to test experimental or new-to-market herbicides for potential sunflower application.

Emphasis on timing and other techniques for water-activated pre-emerge herbicides, especially in the High Plains.


• Develop and implement one protocol with regional locations for fungicide testing for rust control.

• Emphasis on identifying and releasing lines resistant to Phomopsis, Sclerotinia, and Verticillium with molecular markers.

• Phomopsis has been identified as a disease of concern under irrigation. Develop methodology to minimize the incidence.

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