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You Are Here Sunflower Magazine > Sunflower Briefs

Sunflower Magazine

Sunflower Briefs
January 2013

Syngenta Acquires Sunfield Seeds

Syngenta has purchased Sunfield Seeds, a provider of sunflower seed production and processing services for more than 30 countries. The motivation for the move was to further Syngenta’s position in the sunflower supply chain and access to top locations for hybrid seed production. Sunfield Seeds is located in the central valley of California, an area ideal for hybrid seed production.

In a press release announcing the purchase in late November, Davor Pisk, Syngenta chief operating officer, said, “Sunfield is already one of our strategic suppliers, and we are pleased that its people and operations will now become part of Syngenta. Sunfield’s grower network in the key Sacramento Valley region, as well as its modern processing facilities and experienced management team, will complement our product range and global market strength. Above all, the acquisition will enhance our ability to meet growing demand for our high-quality sunflower seeds.”

Syngenta did not disclose financial details of the purchase.

Partnership to License Clearfield Plus® 

Syngenta and BASF recently announced a partnership in sunflower technology. BASF will license its newly released Clearfield Plus herbicide tolerance technology to Syngenta. The Clearfield Plus Production System for sunflower was developed using traditional plant breeding to offer improved weed control. Both Syngenta and Mycogen Seeds have partnered with BASF to make the technology available to growers for the 2013 season.

RMA Expands Crop Insurance Coverage

The USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) has expanded crop insurance coverage for oil and nonoil sunflower. Crop insurance now will be available to sunflower producers in Park and Big Horn counties in Wyoming, as well as Ellis, Hill and Navarro counties in Texas, in 2013. Producers will have the option to choose between Revenue Protection, Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion or Yield Protection policies.

Nidera S.A. Joins Sunflower SNP Consortium

The NSA Sunflower SNP Consortium recently welcomed a new member. Nidera S.A. of Argentina joined the established group of seed companies pooling resources to advance the technology to identify molecular marker tools. Application of this technology will give plant breeders new tools to develop hybrids resistant to such perennial diseases as rust, downy mildew and Sclerotinia more quickly and with much greater precision than what is possible using traditional plant breeding methods. This technology can also be used to capture specific oil traits, insect resistance and yield enhancing traits.

In addition to cooperation with NSA and the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), consortium members include NSA of Canada, Mycogen Seeds, CHS Sunflower, Genosys LLC, Seeds 2000/NuFlowers, Advanta Semillas, Argensun and MayAgro Seed Corp. Progress made to date includes a complete mapping of all SNPs and a standard 384 marker panel currently being used in genotyping projects.

Postdoc Joins Doubled-Haploid Research Project

Dr. Hongxia Wang has been selected as a postdoctoral research associate on the project developing a doubled-haploid system for sunflower. She will be an employee of the Department of Plant Sciences at North Dakota State University and will work in the USDA-ARS Sunflower and Plant Biology Research Unit in Fargo.

Wang finished her master’s degree in fruit tree biology research from Nanjing Agricultural University in Nanjing, Jiangsu, China. She received her Ph.D from North Dakota State University with a major in woody plant biology and molecular research. For her dissertation, Wang developed new SSRs from chokecherry genomic sequences, constructed the first genetic linkage map for this native woody plant in North America, and identified a major QTL associated with X-disease resistance, which belongs to phytoplasma pathogen and also infects other stone fruits. She has extensive research experience in plant tissue culture, transformation and mutation.

Doubled-haploid technology allows developing experimental lines much faster than using traditional breeding methods. The doubled-haploid lines will also accelerate the mapping progress of important agronomic trait genes.

Wang joins a doubled-haploid development team comprised of Drs. C.C. Jan, Lili Qi, and Brent Hulke of the USDA-ARS Sunflower and Plant Biology Research Unit, and Dr. Richard Horsley of the NDSU Department of Plant Sciences. Funding for the project was provided by a consortium of NSA member hybrid seed companies.

Sandbakken Re-Elected to Ag Export Council

John Sandbakken, NSA executive director, was recently re-elected to the executive committee of the U.S. Agriculture Export Development Council (USAEDC). The USAEDC is comprised of 80 U.S. agricultural commodity trade associations, farmer cooperatives and state regional trade groups from around the country.

The council represents the interests of growers and food processors. Its mission is to present a unified message of the importance of promoting foreign market demand for U.S. agricultural products. The council works in conjunction with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service and the private sector in this mission.

NSA Gold Award Nominations Sought

The National Sunflower Association is accepting nominations for the 2013 NSA Gold Award. This award is presented to individuals who have contributed extraordinarily to the overall sunflower industry, either through their occupation or through the National Sunflower Association. Persons having received the award can be found on the NSA website. Past winners have come from a wide array of backgrounds, including farming, industry, research, extension and politics. This is the highest award that the NSA presents to individuals.

The closing date for letters of nomination for the 2013 award is February 15, 2013. The letter should state the person’s contributions to the overall industry and provide specific examples. More than one letter per nomination is desirable. Letters of nomination should be sent to: The President, National Sunflower Association, 2401 46th Ave. S.E., Suite 206, Mandan ND 58554-4829.

Sclerotinia Initiative Meets in Late January

The 11th annual National Sclerotinia Initiative will be held January 23-25 at the Holiday Inn Select, Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. The Sclerotinia Initiative is a USDA-ARS-funded program dedicated to research solutions to Sclerotinia in sunflower, canola, peas and lentils, edible beans and soybeans.

This multi-crop and multi-state approach has brought together a dedicated group of researchers who have made good progress over the life of the Initiative. Projects are being conducted in numerous locations, with a strong emphasis on genetic resistance.

The meeting is open to all persons interested in this disease, including seed and crop protection companies. For details, go to:

2013 Sunflower Research Forum Is Jan. 9-10

The 35th annual National Sunflower Association Research Forum will be held at the Ramada Plaza Suites & Convention Center, Fargo, N.D., on January 9 and 10. This meeting brings together public and private researchers, as well as growers and industry representatives for updates on research advances and challenges.

The combination of grower and industry checkoff dollars, the Sclerotinia Research Initiative, universities and a strong commitment from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service have all placed sunflower research as a high priority.

The Forum is open to all who are interested in sunflower production. It is not restricted to researchers only. Certified crop advisors are offered a reduced rate and can obtain education credits.

For more information, go to

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