The Sunflower Magazine
Highlights from our April 2016 issue ▼

News items of interest to the industry

The long, but warm, winter is nearly behind us. That is good for several reasons, but the most important reason is that markets will finally have something to talk about other than big world supplies, the strong dollar, and poor U.S. wheat and corn exports.

It has been decades — nearly four, actually — since North Dakota State University’s sunflower fertility recommendations have been updated.  The recommendations that have been in effect stemmed largely from research conducted by NDSU soil scientist Joseph Zubriski in the late 1970s.

If you ask Arnold Woodbury how he got started growing sunflower, be prepared for a history lesson.  At age 74, his sunflower story begins in the early 1970s. Woodbury was one of the first producers in southeastern North Dakota to add this crop to his operation.

Since its inception, the National Sunflower Association has committed itself to providing funds to public researchers to stimulate new or continue with ongoing sunflower research that leads to disease- and pest-tolerant hybrids, better cropping practices and ways to reduce production costs. This commitment to research resulted in the development of NuSun® sunflower, and we would not have Clearfield® or ExpressSun® ’flowers without it.

The expansion of sunflower acreage grown under a minimum- or no-till management system has, along with its benefits, brought along at least one downside for some producers:  a higher risk of cutworm damage.  Plant residue from the previous crop can serve as an inviting host for cutworm.  If not controlled, this insect can sharply reduce early season plant stands, contributing to poorer weed control and, eventually, lower seed yields come harvest.

Significant progress was made in 2015 on a USDA project to incorporate increased levels of downy mildew resistance into confection sunflower — and the project remain on course to release lines to the breeding community and public in 2017.

It’s fun to say, and fun to eat.  And the ingredients make it even more special. There are only three — and one of them happens to be sunflower oil. Jody Kerzman visited with co-founder Angie Bastian about Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP and why sunflower oil has been a key ingredient since day one.

Excerpts from the March 1986 Issue of The Sunflower

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