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Research Priorities Established for 2009

Monday, December 1, 2008
filed under: Research and Development

The National Sunflower Association Research Committee has established production research priorities for 2009.

The NSA provides grants to public researchers to stimulate new or additional work that may result in lower production costs, increased quality and higher yields. During 2008, the NSA funded research projects totaling more than $300,000.

The list below specifies “areas of interest” outlined by the committee and communicated to the sunflower research community. This is not an exclusive list, and all areas of production research will be considered. Funding proposals for 2009 are due by December 15. All applications will be reviewed by the NSA Research Committee in mid-January, with the NSA Board of Directors making final funding decisions in late February or early March.

Production Issues

• Desiccation to achieve earlier harvest. Testing labeled and experimental herbicides, timing of application, tank mixes to enhance drydown. Look at yield and quality factors in desiccating immature ’flowers.

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

• Blackbird control: innovative and new approaches.

• Planting precision to achieve an even stand, with preference in no-till systems.

• Rotation studies with other crops, looking at a broad range of aspects — 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. Preference for the control of Phomopsis.

• Double-cropping sunflower after winter wheat in new-to-sunflower areas.


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

• Controlling insects via conventional insecticides or other innovative techniques.

• Screening hybrid and breeding material for resistance to sunflower midge and other insects.


• Interest in innovative weed control techniques related to existing labels, and in testing 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.

• Palmer Amaranth is identified as a species of concern. Committee is interested in innovative methods to control this weed.


• Phomopsis is a disease of concern in much of the production region. Proposals dealing with short- and long-term control strategies will be of interest.

• Rust — including identifying races and the control of rust via genetic resistance and fungicide application.

• Verticillium wilt has also been identified as a disease of concern. Proposals dealing with short- and long-term control strategies will be of interest.

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