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Sunflower Briefs

Monday, August 28, 2017
filed under: Sunflower Briefs

NSA Board Welcomes Speich; Vig Re-Elected
       Sargent County producer Bruce Speich joined the National Sunflower Association Board of Directors this spring as a farmer representative from North Dakota’s District 3. Speich replaces Arnold Woodbury of Wyndmere, N.D. Woodbury decided not to seek reelection, having served on the NSA Board of Directors since 2009. Steele County, N.D., grower Ben Vig was re-elected to another term as the District 2 representative. This is Vig’s third term on the NSA board, having been first elected in 2011.
NSA Submits Comments on NAFTA Talks
       The Trump Administration rolled out in July its objectives for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico. The 17-page report focuses on the President’s push to reduce the trade deficit with Mexico and “must break down barriers to American imports.” That would include eliminating unfair subsidies, market-distorting practices by state-owned enterprises, and restrictions on intellectual property. Regarding agriculture, the stated goal is “to maintain existing reciprocal duty-free access for agricultural goods.”
       Currently, all U.S. sunflower products enjoy duty-free trade with Canada and Mexico. The National Sunflower Association submitted comments in support of maintaining this status in the future to maintain and build market share. With the current state of the U.S. agricultural economy, American farmers can’t afford to lose access to these markets.
EPA Decision to Not Ban Chlorpyrifos
       The pesticide ingredient chlorpyrifos will not be banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reported in April that the agency denied a petition filed by environmental groups to ban the pesticide outright, saying that farmers need chlorpyrifos. Chlorpyrifos is one of the most widely used pesticides in the world and is the main ingredient in Lorsban, Dow AgroSciences’ organophosphate insecticide targeting pests such as grasshoppers, spider mites and corn rootworm. Several agriculture groups, including the National Sunflower Association, had filed public comments expressing concern about the possible ban of chlorpyrifos.
Zidua Registration on Sunflower
       BASF received EPA registration for Zidua® herbicide on sunflower late this spring.  Zidua can be applied preplant surface, preemergence, or early postemergence to sunflower for residual preemergence control of annual grasses, sedges, and annual broadleaf weeds. This product offers superior Palmer Amaranth and waterhemp control. Click here to learn more about this product and the weeds it will control or suppress.
Kits to Prevent Combine Fires Available
       After five years of testing, a hardware system will soon be available to prevent combine fires during sunflower harvest. The system has been tested on several common combine models over five harvest seasons and has successfully allowed producers to utilize full machine capacity without fires, even during warm, dry harvest seasons. There are currently eight installations of this solution in use in the Dakotas. Click here to learn more and to download an order form. The system was developed by Daniel Humburg, based on his research conducted at South Dakota State University, and funded by the South Dakota Oilseeds Council and the National Sunflower Association.
Bills Have $250,000 for Bird Damage Prevention
       Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) announced in late July that the Senate and House Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations bills will make $250,000 available to help prevent blackbird damage to the sunflower crop. The funding will specifically support the USDA Animal and Health Inspection Service’s use of fixed-wing aircraft to repel birds from fields. Blackbird damage is a persistent problem for growers, costing about $11 million a year on average in North Dakota alone. Both the Senate and House Appropriations committees have approved their respective bills and now await approval by the full Senate and House of Representatives.
SDSU’s Mathew Receives APH Award
Dr. Febina Mathew

       Dr. Febina Mathew, assistant professor and field crops pathologist at South Dakota State University, has been chosen for the Schroth Faces of the Future Award in Host Resistance and Host/Pathogen Interactions from the American Phytopathological Society. Mathew’s research on Phomopsis stem canker of sunflower is the focus of her talk at the Schroth Faces of the Future Symposium at the organization’s annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas, in August. This group is a community of scientists who dedicate themselves to managing crop diseases to ensure safe and sustainable food, feed, fiber and fuel. Mathew’s research on Phomopsis stem canker is vital to producers of sunflower not only in South Dakota, but also in other sunflower-producing states, such as Minnesota, North Dakota and Nebraska.
Pathologists Receive Phomopsis Work Grant
       Drs. Febina Mathew (South Dakota State University), Sam Markell (North Dakota State University) and Harveson (University of Nebraska-Scottsbluff) have received a three-year $300,000 grant to develop a disease forecasting system to manage Phomopsis stem canker of sunflower. The grant for the project was awarded through the USDA AFRI Foundational: Critical Agricultural Research and Extension (CARE) program. They will work with Drs. Isard (Pennsylvania State University), Magarey (North Carolina State University) and Varenhorst (SDSU) on the project.
Syngenta Launches Seed Treatment Fungicide
       Syngenta has launched Plenaris™ seed treatment fungicide for the control of downy mildew in sunflower. Plenaris contains oxathiapiprolin, a novel chemistry with a new mode of action for control of fungal diseases caused by oomycetes. Downy mildew (Plasmopara halstedii) is the key seedling disease of sunflower causing severe stunting, discoloration of the leaves and reduction in root growth. Infected seedlings do not form a flowering head and consequently severely reducing yield. Plenaris will be first commercialized in the U.S. in 2017 followed by Argentina.
Foley Retires from ARS-Fargo Leadership Post
       Dr. Mike Foley, research leader with the Sunflower and Plant Biology Research Unit in Fargo, N.D., retired on July 31 after 21 years of federal service. Foley was appointed research leader of the Fargo ARS Plant Science Research Unit in 1998, which was later renamed Weed Biology Research Unit. In 2011 the Sunflower and Weed Biology units were merged, forming Sunflower and Plant Biology. In his role, Foley has led a group of scientists in finding ways to improve weed and crop management in several crops, including sunflower. The National Sunflower Association was one of many groups with which he worked with through his positions.                    
       Dr. James Anderson has been named acting research leader of the ARS Sunflower and Plant Biology Research Unit in Fargo.
Archer Now ARS Research Leader at Mandan
       David Archer has been appointed research leader of the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory at Mandan, N.D.  Archer joined the Mandan staff as an agricultural economist in 2007. He leads an interdisciplinary team that’s working to develop crop and livestock production systems that are increasingly sustainable.
Hauswedell Receives Curt Stern Scholarship
       Brady Hauswedell is the recipient of this year’s Curtis Stern Memorial Scholarship, administered by the National Sunflower Association. Hauswedell is currently pursuing his master’s degree at South Dakota State University under the supervision of Dr. Adam Varenhorst and will graduate in May 2018.  His degree is focused on entomology and pathology components in sunflower; he is evaluating the impact that insecticide seed treatments and in-furrow applied insecticides have on sunflower yield.  Collected data will be used to develop new management recommendations for sunflower with the goal of reducing unnecessary or ineffective inputs to maximize the profit returns for sunflower farmers. Hauswedell earned his B.S. degree from South Dakota State University in 2016 with a major in Agronomy and a minor in Precision Agriculture.
Discount Available for New Book on Blackbirds
       Copies of Ecology and Management of Blackbirds (Icteridae) in North America from the National Sunflower Association website. Click here to download an order form. Orders placed this way will receive a 20% discount. The book, authored by George M. Linz, Michael L. Avery and Richard A. Dolbeer, summarizes the biology and life histories of blackbirds and their conflicts with humans into a single volume for researchers, wildlife managers, agriculturists, disease biologists, ornithologists, policy makers and the public. It provides in-depth coverage of the functional roles of blackbirds in natural and agricultural ecosystems.
Stored Seed Monitoring Reminder
       Sunflower producers who still have stored seed are reminded to keep a close eye on seed moisture. The recommended long-term moisture contents are 8% for oil sunflower and 10% for confectionary sunflower. The market moisture content may be higher, but storing warm grain at higher moisture contents may lead to mold growth. Mold growth and insect infestations occur rapidly at summer temperatures, so stored grain should be checked every two weeks. For more on storing seed, click here
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