‘Sharpen’ Labeled as Sunflower Desiccant
Growers now have another choice for desiccating sunflower. Sharpen® received a federal label in late September. The BASF product’s label specifies application at 36% seed moisture or less and at least seven days prior to harvest.
The National Sunflower Association and BASF have been funding research projects at North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University and Kansas State University to determine the efficacy of Sharpen. In 2007 and 2008, researchers found that Sharpen was as effective as paraquat products in desiccating sunflower and had no adverse effects on seed yield or oil quantity or quality. Speed of desiccation with Sharpen was slightly slower but more complete compared to desiccation with paraquat, and Sharpen desiccated sunflower faster than glyphosate. Field trials with air application were conducted in 2009, and those data will be available at a later date.
Pheasant Repellent Registration
A registration process is in place for Anthraquinone® as a drill box seed treatment to repel pheasants from consuming newly planted sunflower seed. Funding for residue trials and completing the registration package will be conducted by IR-4, an organization established to assist in minor crop pesticide registration. Significant damage from pheasants has been documented in central South Dakota and southwestern North Dakota.
Anthraquinone was tested by the USDA-APHIS National Wildlife Research Center for this use. Pheasants are not harmed by the seed treatment, but find it distasteful. The product is also being tested in large netted trials as a blackbird repellent on ripening sunflower and a number of fruits, berries and rice.
Metconazole Fungicide Registration
The same IR-4 process is in place for the eventual registration of the fungicide Metconazole® on sunflower to control rust and other diseases. Metconazole is a triazole fungicide like Folicur®, but it appears to have a different systemic effect on the plant. The product, known as Quash® on other crops, has been tested against sunflower rust and provided excellent results. It is being tested against additional sunflower diseases such as head and stalk Sclerotinia, Phomopsis and Phoma. IR-4 will conduct residue trials in the 2010 season.
Initial USDA Projection of ’09 Crop Size
USDA’s initial projection of the 2009 U.S. sunflower crop size (oil and nonoil combined) placed it at 2.98 billion pounds. The average yield was forecast at 1,538 lbs/ac — more than 100 lbs higher than the final 2008 crop figure. At a projected 1,809 lbs, the level for South Dakota, if realized, would be an all-time high. Only a small fraction of the 2009 crop had been harvested as of the early October report. Final production estimates will be released in January, with oil and nonoil figures broken out.
Despite the early October production projection being 13% below than the final 2008 U.S. crop size, there will be sufficient oil-type production to meet market demand, states the National Sunflower Association. “Last year’s carryover will easily cushion the production decline,” according to NSA. “A modest increase in the crush — and increase in birdseed demand — will still allow for a reasonable carryover into the next marketing year. This is continued good news for oil customers who have had oil supply concerns.”
2010 Research Forum Set for January 13 & 14, 2009
The 2010 Sunflower Research Forum, sponsored by the National Sunflower Association, will take place on January 13 and 14 at the Ramada Plaza Suites in Fargo, N.D.
The popular annual event is open to all interested persons. Its purpose is to report on current and completed research, to promote discussion, and to foster creative thinking regarding issues affecting the sunflower crop and industry.
More information on the 2010 Sunflower Research Forum, including registration details, can be found on the NSA website under the Calendar of Events page.
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