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30 Years Ago - A Look Back

Monday, February 5, 2018
filed under: Historical

       USDA Geneticist Seeks Sclerotinia Answers / By Larry Kleingartner — “Dr. Jerry Miller is battling.  His battle is finding tolerance to Sclerotinia, a white mold disease that is today’s most serious sunflower production problem.  Miller is USDA’s sunflower geneticist stationed at North Dakota State University in Fargo.  Miller has been providing breeding material to private seed companies for more than 12 years.
       “ ‘Although the USDA sunflower breeding program is still relatively new when compared to corn or wheat, some fairly major changes have taken place over the years,’ according to Miller.  The first USDA sunflower breeding program was established in 1972, and the challenge was to find resistance to rust, downy mildew and other diseases.  ‘That has been accomplished and germplasm was released to companies which have developed excellent hybrids,’ says Miller.  But finding resistance to Sclerotinia is another matter that is both time consuming and very difficult.  There still are a lot of unknowns about Sclerotinia, but breeders like Miller believe that genetic resistance exists, and they are determined to find it.
       “Miller’s plan of action has had three phases.  The first phase was to collect and test as much material from as many countries or programs as possible.  After three years of planting on highly infested soil, only a dozen lines met the standard.  The second phase is just beginning, and that is to take these apparently tolerant lines and cross them with sunflower parents adapted to this region in an effort to maintain yield, oil percentage and resistance to other diseases.  The third phase is to make hybrids and get them out in the farmer’s field to really test the research.  ‘That day will be a pleasure to see,’ Miller says.”
 
       ’88 Herbicide Listing / By Dallas Peterson, North Dakota State University extension weed specialist — “A combination of soil-applied and postemergence treatments may be required to obtain good weed control in sunflower.  The following herbicides can be used for weed control in sunflower.
       “Paraquat (Gramoxone Super) can be used to control emerged weeds prior to sunflower emergence and again at the end of the season as a preharvest aid to desiccate oilseed sunflower varieties and weeds. . . .
       “EPTC (Eptam, Genep) can be applied and incorporated in the fall (Minnesota and the Dakotas only) or in the spring prior to sunflower seeding for annual grass and broadleaf weed control. . . .
       “Treflan can be applied and incorporated in the fall or spring prior to sunflower seeding for annual grass and broadleaf weed control. . . .
       “Sonalan is similar to Treflan and can be applied preplant incorporated prior to sunflower seeding for annual grass and broadleaf weed control. . . .
       “Prowl can be applied preplant incorporated in the spring or fall, or preemergence from 30 days prior to seeding until just prior to emergence in reduced tillage systems. . . .
       “Lasso can be applied preplant incorporated or preemergence for annual grass and broadleaf weed control in sunflower. . . .
       “Amiben can be applied preplant incorporated or preemergence for annual grass and broadleaf weed control, including wild mustard. . . .
       “Carbyne can be applied postemergence for wild oats control in sunflower. . . .
       “Poast was cleared for use on sunflower for the first time in 1987.  Poast should be applied postemergence in combination with an oil additive. . . .
       “Assert was available under a Section 18 emergency label in the Dakotas and Minnesota during the 1986 and 1987 growing seasons for postemergence wild mustard control in sunflower.  Full label registration for both wild mustard and wild oats control with Assert in sunflower is expected in 1988. . . .
       “Sodium chlorate can be applied as preharvest desiccant to dry down sunflower and weeds prior to harvest.”
 
       Later Planting a Good Option in Kansas / By Larry Kleingartner and Larry Stalcup — “[Kansas State University Fort Hays sunflower researcher Bill] Stegmeier says, ‘Kansas farmers have a wide window of planting opportunities from mid-April to early July.’  But Kansas State research indicates that later planting — June 20 to July 5 — has fewest hazards and good yield potentials for sunflower.  Stegmeier says ‘an important consideration is that we don’t have serious problems with stem weevil, head moth or phoma black stem when planting is delayed.  Untreated plots at the Hays Station planted in May were destroyed by the head moth and Rhizopus head rot, but late June and early July-planted tests were unaffected.’ 
       “Stegmeier notes that rust can be a problem in later planting dates, so it is important that growers choose hybrids that are rust resistant.”
 
         Sunflower in Dakota a Century Ago — “An early reference to sunflower was found by Father Bill Sherman, a North Dakota sociologist.  Father Sherman has been an active researcher of Germans from Russia who colonized a large area of the Midwest.  In his research, he came across a news item in the Port Emma Times of September 11, 1884, which reads as follows:  ‘Sunflower Culture: The planting and cultivation of sunflower seed is destined to become an extensive feature of Dakota farming, and a most valuable one.  The seed is splendid food for horses, while the stalk, which grows to an enormous size, is excellent fuel.’  Port Emma was a port town near Ludden on the James River near the border of North and South Dakota.”     
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