Record Yield in North Dakota in 2012
The January USDA crop production report showed that 2012 was a record-setting year in North Dakota for both oil-type and confection sunflower. The January 11-released report revealed that oil-type sunflower averaged 1,750 lbs/ac in the state — 140 higher than the previous record yield of 1,610 set in 2005. For confections, this past year’s average yield was 1,580 lbs/ac, compared to the previous record of 1,520 set in 2006.
North Dakota also reclaimed the spot as the nation’s top sunflower producer with 1.46 billion pounds, up 91% from the 766 million produced in 2011. Residual moisture left over from the wet 2011 is credited for the boost in yield this past year. In 2011, for the first time, South Dakota out-produced its northern neighbor by a small margin. South Dakota harvested just under 900 million pounds of sunflower in 2012, which was up 15% from 2011 — even though much of the state was impacted by drought conditions this past season.
Extremely dry weather also hampered yields in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Meanwhile, much better growing conditions were prevalent in 2012 in Minnesota, where the average yield of 1,755 lbs/ac was the third highest on record.
Nationwide, 2012 sunflower production totaled 2.79 billion pounds, up 37% from 2011. The average yield per acre increased by 115 pounds to 1,513 pounds. Planted area, at 1.92 million acres, was 24% above 2011 but still the third lowest since 1990. Area harvested increased 26% from 2011, to 1.84 million acres.
2013 Research Requests Total $540,000
The National Sunflower Association received 28 research project requests for 2013, totaling more than $540,000. The NSA Research Committee met in early January to review proposals and make recommendations to the NSA Board of Directors. The board will make final funding decisions during its late February meeting.
Projects run the gamut from insect infestation studies to studies of diseases such as Phomopsis, downy mildew, Rhizopus head rot and rust. Additional topics include irrigation timing, glyphosate weed resistance and blackbird management, nitrogen management, double-cropping issues and plant spacing, among others. Some of the more-unique requests this year include evaluation of sunflower meal in dairy cow diets and utilization of sunflower hulls.
NSA Research Forum Draws 150-Plus
More than 150 attendees heard research reports on a broad range of research topics at the annual NSA Sunflower Research Forum, held in Fargo, N.D., in early January. Of particular interest were reports on weed resistance in the High Plains and a new mode of action for insect control which will likely be available for the 2013 growing season. Two South Dakota State University researchers reported on what they deem as solutions to combine fires during sunflower harvest. Forum reports on the progress of breeding material for rust and Sclerotinia resistance were of great interest to crop advisors and confection sunflower processors.
Forum presentations can be viewed on the NSA website — www.sunflowernsa.com — under the “Research” tab.
NSA Summer Seminar Set for June 25-27
The 31st NSA Summer Seminar returns to the scenic Badlands setting of Medora, N.D., on June 25-27. This year’s event begins on Tuesday with the NSA board meeting, registration and evening dinner and fundraiser. Educational/informational sessions begin early the next morning with panel discussions and keynote speakers. There will also be short breakout sessions that afternoon. Social events include the Curt Stern Scholarship fundraiser, dinner at the pitchfork fondue site, and golf at the Bully Pulpit Golf Course.
Reminder: Monitor Those Stored Seeds
An uncommonly mild winter with fluctuating temperatures can present unique challenges to maintaining stored sunflower seed. 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. Be observant for temperature, moisture, insect, fungi and odor differences from the previous inspection. Should a problem be detected, try to stabilize it with aeration. Should that fail, remove the seeds immediately.
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