Selecting a Sunflower Hybrid
Identify your most likely market first. Is it confection, oil, de-hull or bird food? If you¡¦re growing for oil, is it linoleic (regulars or traditional sunflower) mid-oleic or NuSun„§, or high-oleic? Each market prefers a different set of hybrid traits. Key traits to keep in mind:
Confection: Seed size and appearance, maturity, agronomic traits, yield, and test weight are important considerations.
Oil: Percent oil content, yield, maturity, agronomics. With high prices, oil content and potential premiums are a major factor to consider.
Dehull: Acceptability and versatility in the market place, agronomics.
Bird food: Availability of a market, yield, agronomics.
Also, keep your production challenges in mind. Do you have problems with specific weeds, such as marshelder? Then consider a Clearfield„§ hybrid on problem fields. Did you have problems with downy mildew or sunflower rust? Look at hybrids with better downy mildew and rust resistance. Problems with Sclerotinia? There are hybrids that are showing good tolerance to stalk and/or head rot. More growers in the High Plains are finding agronomic advantages with a short-stature hybrid; be sure to examine those options. Stalk strength and head position can be important considerations where pests such as stem weevils and blackbirds may pose a problem.
For a list of seed suppliers and seed company web sites, go to www.sunflowernsa.com. Click on the link ¡§Growers¡¨ then ¡§Seed Suppliers/Buyers,¡¨ and then ¡§Hybrid Seed Suppliers.¡¨
Seed companies previewed their new sunflower hybrids for 2007 in the Oct/Nov 06 issue of The Sunflower. This article can be reviewed online at sunflowernsa.com ¡V go to ¡¥Sunflower Magazine¡¦ then ¡¥View Archives¡¦ and ¡¥Hybrid Selection/Planting.¡¦
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