A Look Back - 30 Years
Two New North Dakota Processing Plants Await Fall Seed Crop — “Sunflower crushing plants at Enderlin and Velva are scheduled to start processing this fall. The Velva plant, owned by Midwest Processing, is capable of crushing 1,000 tons of seed per day. Its construction is now complete, and test runs were initiated earlier this summer. The Enderlin facility, owned by National Sun Industries, is geared to crush 1,500 tons of seed daily. It is still under construction but is scheduled to begin operating in October. Recently named officials of the plant include William Sisson, general manager and chief operating officer; William Bartels, plant manager; David Lutgen, financial controller; and Milt Luchsinger, sunflower seed buyer.”
Flower Power Enters Second Year of Tests — “Flower Power, the North Dakota project in which 12 tractors were operated on sunflower oil/diesel fuel blends under field conditions last year, is continuing in 1982 — but on a reduced basis. Due to financial cutbacks and some mechanical problems, only six of the original 12 tractors are in the project this year.
“Three of the tractors operating in 1982 are running on a blend which includes 25 percent sunflower oil and 75 percent diesel, while the other three operate on a fifty-fifty blend. . . .
“Nearly 7,000 running hours were accumulated on the 12 tractors participating in the Flower Power project in 1981. Thirty-six thousand gallons of fuel were used, 13,000 of which were sunflower oil.
“During the period April 7 through November 20, farmer-cooperators started and operated their tractors (four Allis-Chalmers, four Case and four John Deere) at temperatures of from 5°F to above 100°F. Fuel filtration was not a problem at these temperatures, and engine performance was satisfactory. . . . Engine disassembly at the end of the season did reveal high carbon and varnish-like deposits on several engine components, including piston ring grooves and ring lands, as well as on intake valve stems and intake ports.”
Moisture Level Key When Desiccating — “The list of available sunflower desiccants is a short one. Paraquat, a product of Chevron Chemical Company, is the best known. It is labeled for use on oil-type sunflower only. Gramoxone, distributed by ICI Americas, Inc., recently received a state label for North Dakota for use on oil-type flowers . . . . Sodium chlorate, sold under various brand names such as Drop-Leaf and Oxyleafex-3, is registered for use on nonoil sunflower only.
“For those growers thinking about using Paraquat on their oil-type flowers, Chevron researchers caution that best results will be achieved by waiting until fields are below 35 percent moisture before spraying. Premature application could result in significantly reduced oil percentages and test weights. Yields will also suffer if the desiccant is sprayed on when moisture levels are excessive.”
Minimizing Harvest Seed Loss / Don Lilleboe — “An initial step toward keeping sunflower seed loss to a minimum is deciding when to combine. [NDSU extension ag engineer Vern] Hofman recommends harvesting when the seed is at 15 to 18 percent moisture if possible. ‘You’re going to get ahead of blackbirds, you’re going to save more seed, and the seed you do save will easily pay for the cost of drying that seed down to storable levels,’ he states.
“Steve Winter, Oriska, N.D., sunflower grower, agrees. He dries his sunflower down to eight and a half or nine percent (realizing that the moisture content can come back up a bit while in storage, but feels that the relative ease of combining at 15 percent moisture as opposed to 10 percent, plus the reduced seed loss, more than compensates for the drying expense. Also, Winter adds, one does not have nearly as much shatter loss due to jostling by wind and at the header when harvesting at the higher moisture level.”
Housekeeping, Vigilance: Keys to Drying ’Flowers / Don Lilleboe — “Outside temperature goes hand-in-hand with seed moisture level when it comes to proper storage of sunflower — but not everyone pays enough attention to that fact, according to [Ken] Hellevang, [NDSU extension ag engineer]. He notes that some growers have stored sunflower at moisture levels considerably higher than 10 percent and experienced no problems. But, he suggests, those were usually cases in which the seeds were harvested in near-freezing temperatures and then marketed prior to the spring warm-up. Wet seeds and warm temperatures don’t mix, he cautions.
“ ‘It’s also important for growers to cool the crop down in the fall at the same rate that the outside temperature cools,’ Hellevang adds. ‘If there is a 15 degree difference between the outside temperature and that of the sunflower, one should turn the fans on to cool the flowers down to that outside temperature.
“ ‘Continue that process until you get them down to about 35°F,’ he continues, stating that there really is no advantage to cooling the sunflower much below that point.”
Malathion Registration Imminent — “As this issue of The Sunflower went to press, registration of the insecticide malathion on stored sunflower seed still looked imminent. The proposed rule was to be published in the Federal Register in August. If there were no comments from the public, the final rule was to be published approximately 15 days later. The Sunflower will carry an update in its October/November issue.”
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