USDA Releases Final 2011 Production Numbers
South Dakota is now the nationís leading sunflower producer, based in numbers from the USDAís annual sunflower production report released on January 12. South Dakota farmers produced an estimated 777 million lbs of sunflower in 2011. That just topped the estimated 766 million lbs grown last season in North Dakota. Itís the first time South Dakota has topped the list since data for both states began to be published in 1977.
North Dakota, traditionally the nationís top sunflower producer, endured an extremely wet spring in 2011, which led to a 34% decrease in planted sunflower acreage and a 39% decrease in production compared to 2010. In contrast, South Dakota 2011 sunflower production rose slightly from the previous year.
Nationwide, 2011 sunflower production totaled 2.04 billion lbs, down 25% from 2010. Both the U.S. average yield per acre and planted acreage fell in 2011.
United States production of oil-type sunflower varieties, at 1.72 billion lbs, decreased 17% from 2010 and is the lowest since 1990. Compared to 2010, harvested acres were down 13%, while the average yield declined by 61 lbs to 1,397 lbs/ac.
Production of nonoil sunflower varieties in 2011, at 316 million lbs, decreased 52% from 2010 and is the second lowest since 1988. Area harvested, at 224,400 acres, was down 50% from 2010 and is the lowest since 1987. Although the average nonoil yield decreased by 59 lbs from the prior year (to 1,406 lbs/ac), it is still the fifth highest yield on record.
2012 Research Requests Approach $500,000
The National Sunflower Association received 23 research project requests for 2012 totaling nearly $500,000. The NSA Research Committee will review the proposals and make recommendations for the NSA Board of Directors during the annual spring meeting in March.
Projects run the gamut of insect infestation studies to studies of diseases such as Phomopsis, downy mildew and rust. Additional topics include irrigation, weed and blackbird management, nitrogen management, double-cropping issues and tolerance to water stress, among others. Some of the more-unique requests this year include association mapping of dormant traits, cancer-preventative properties and biofuel production.
NSA Board Elects Officers for Coming Year
The National Sunflower Association Board of Directors met in mid-December in Bismarck, N.D., to set the coming yearís budget and to elect officers.
Tom Young from Onida, S.D., was re-elected to a second consecutive term as board president. Don Schommer, of Munich, N.D., remains as board chairman. Crookston, Minn., farmer and board member Kevin Capistran was elected first vice president.
Art Ridl, Dickinson, N.D., was elected to the position of second vice president. (Ridl also serves as president of the North Dakota Oilseeds Council.) John Swanson of Mentor, Minn., was re-elected NSA secretary/treasurer.
Sandbakken Now NSA Executive Director
John Sandbakken is the new executive director of the National Sunflower Association, effective as of January 1, 2012. Sandbakken had served as NSA marketing director since 1996. As executive director, he succeeds Larry Kleingartner, who retired at the end of December after heading the NSA staff since the organizationís founding in 1981.
A native of Lakota, N.D., Sandbakken earned a degree in marketing from the University of North Dakota. Prior to joining the NSA, he was with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture Marketing Division for 11 years, heading that department for the last seven years of his service there.
NSA Research Forum Draws Nearly 200
Nearly 200 attendees heard research reports on a broad range of research topics at the NSA Research Forum, held in Fargo, N.D., in early January. A total of 42 papers and posters were presented. Presenters were from the Dakotas, High Plains and Canada. Of particular interest were reports on the progress of identifying molecular markers known as SNPs. Significant news about progress on this project is expected in the next few months. The NSA-coordinated project provides a new-and-improved genetic tool for public and private breeders.
Forum reports on efficacy of fungicides for control of rust and Sclerotinia were of great interest to crop advisors and confection sunflower processors. There is a great deal of sunflower research in the pipeline which will pay dividends in the near future.
Reminder: Monitor Stored Sunflower Seeds
An uncommonly mild winter with fluctuating temperatures can present unique challenges to maintaining stored sunflower seed. Itís important to protect the investment by monitoring the seeds on a regular basis to avoid loss. Sample the seeds every three to four weeks during the winter months. Check the seeds, not the bin.
When sampling, probe the sunflower seed pile and be observant for temperature, moisture, insect, fungi and odor differences from the previous inspection. Writing down your observations each time for future reference is a good practice. If the probe is hot, take immediate action. Should a problem be detected, try to stabilize it with aeration. Should that fail, remove the seeds from the bin immediately, as the problems will only increase.
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