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You Are Here Sunflower Magazine > Sunflower Briefs

Sunflower Magazine

Sunflower Briefs
March 2011

USDA-ARS Hires New Sunflower Entomologist

Dr. Jarrad Prasifka has been hired as research entomologist for the USDA-ARS Sunflower Research Unit in Fargo, N.D. Prasifka, who will join the staff in May, earned his undergraduate degree in zoology at University of Texas-Austin, and went on to receive his Ph.D. in entomology from Texas A&M.

At the Fargo Sunflower Research Unit, Prasifka will focus on determining mechanisms of resistance to sunflower insect pests. In cooperation with other unit scientists, he will also assist in the process to develop molecular markers to facilitate the breeding for insect resistance. He will continue to evaluate potential modifications to integrated pest management as insect pressure changes or crop production practices change.

NSA Board Funds 2011 Research Projects

During its late February meeting, the National Sunflower Association Board of Directors approved funding for more than $455,000 toward research projects for 2011. Six projects related to disease issues (including Phomopsis, rust, Verticillium, downy mildew and charcoal rot) were awarded a total of $163,604. Four insect projects focusing on sunflower seed, head and stem insects were granted $56,910. One project in the weeds category looking at the threat of palmer amaranth was awarded $18,000. In the production category, which included Phase 2 of the SNP project, funds were granted for 14 proposals totaling $216,557.

Contributions by the High Plains Sunflower Committee, private seed companies, state checkoff councils/commissions and state ag research funds were also part of the overall sunflower research picture. In addition, the Sclerotinia Initiative research project will also receive funding through NSA at a later date.

NSA Summer Seminar Set for June 21-23

The National Sunflower Associationís 2011 Summer Seminar is scheduled for June 21-23 at The Lodge at Deadwood in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. (Visit their website at for activities available for your entertainment after participating in the cutting-edge sessions provided at the seminar.)

The event begins Tuesday with the NSA board meeting, registration and evening dinner and fundraiser. The educational agenda consists of keynote speakers on the morning of June 22 and short breakout sessions in the afternoon. Social events include the Curt Stern Scholarship fundraiser, dinner at the Black Hills Roundhouse Restaurant, and golf at the Spearfish Canyon Country Club.

A block of rooms has been reserved at a discounted rate for June 21 and 22 under the National Sunflower Association's name. Call (605) 584-4800 to make your reservations. The block will be released May 30, 2011.

Email Lerrene Kroh at or call her at (701) 328-5107 for more information on the 2011 NSA Summer Seminar. Registration details will be available soon on the NSA website

2010 Crop Quality Report Now Available Online

The 2010 U.S. Sunflower Crop Quality Report is now available for review online at The Crop Quality Report, produced annually by the National Sunflower Association, contains useful information about the quality of the nationís sunflower seed crop (oil content and fatty acid composition) and statistics on marketing the crop. Also included are world and U.S. supply and demand tables, confection sunflower data, sunflower oil and meal exports, growing conditions for the major production areas in the United States, and other related topics of interest to those in the industry.

NSA Sunflower SNP Consortium Update

A great deal of progress has been made in the recently formed NSA Sunflower SNP Consortium. A set of 8,400 markers has been confirmed, and a 384-marker suite will be developed soon. Members of the consortium will be able to use this suite to confirm certain genetic markers in their breeding programs this summer.

Opportunities exist for additional consortium members to join. The National Sunflower Association is partnering with BioDiagnostics, Inc., on this project. For additional information, contact Larry Kleingartner at

Advanta Consolidates Companyís U.S. Operations

Advanta is consolidating its U.S. sunflower seed production business unit by moving it from Fargo, N.D., to the companyís U.S. headquarters in Hereford, Texas. Advanta is also combining its worldwide sunflower research and breeding efforts under the supervision of its well-known breeders in Argentina. The company says this unification development will allow Advanta's sunflower hybrids to be developed with the best germplasm from all regions of the world.

Advanta is a global seed company headquartered in India and with operating units in Argentina, Australia, India, Thailand and the United States.

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