2015 NSA Funded Research
The National Sunflower Association selected and funded the following research projects for the 2015 year. Funding was also in part possible due to the North Dakota Oilseeds Council, South Dakota Oilseeds Council, Colorado Sunflower Administrative Committee, Kansas Sunflower Commission, Minnesota Sunflower Council and the North Dakota State Board of Agricultural Research and Education.
2015 NSA-Funded Research Projects
Monitoring for Fungicide Resistance Development and Pathogen Race Changes in the Downy Mildew Pathogen, Plasmopara halstedii

Investigator: Sam Markell, North Dakota State University

Description: Downy mildew remains an economically important sunflower disease in the Northern Great Plains. Downy mildew can be managed by genetic resistance and fungicide seed treatments; however, the pathogen has a history of overcoming both management tools. Monitoring for pathogen changes is important for breeding, selection of resistant hybrids, and for selecting downy mildew fungicide seed treatments. This project will determine prevalence of downy mildew and collect pathogen isolates in the North Central Great Plains. Additionally, it will determine virulence phenotypes of pathogen isolates (races) and will assess sensitivity to fungicide seed treatment chemicals.

Funded Amount: $19,875
Evaluation of an Integrated Managed Approach (Fungicides + Genetics) for Management of Phomopsis Stem Canker on Sunflower

Investigators: Febina Mathew, South Dakota State University; Sam Markell, North Dakota State University; and Bob Harveson, University of Nebraska, Scottsbluff

Description: Phomopsis stem canker remains an economically threatening disease to sunflower production in the United States. Prolonged periods of wet weather, high humidity and moderate temperatures favor the disease's development. Yield losses result from smaller sunflower heads and lighter seed, and from lodging due to weakened stems. This research will provide disease data and determine efficacy of fungicides on Phomopsis stem canker with different genetics (i.e., resistant and susceptible hybrids) in several locations. The resulting information will be used to provide sunflower producers with management recommendations for Phomopsis stem canker thereby reducing disease risk.

Funded Amount: $40,000
Evaluation of New, Generic and Pre-Mixed Fungicides for Management of Rust on Susceptible and Moderately Resistant Hybrids

Investigator: Sam Markell, North Dakota State University

Description: Sunflower rust is an economically important problem in most states that grow sunflower. Previously, the National Sunflower Association supported a multi-year research effort (2008-2011) in which a fungicide threshold was developed (1% at or before R5 on the upper leaves); and, simultaneously, available fungicides were evaluated for efficacy. However, some management information is still lacking. This research project will look at the impact of moderate genetic resistance in sunflower hybrids and the efficacy of pre-mixes, tebuconazole generics and new-to- market fungicides. This information will help sunflower producers determine if a fungicide application is necessary and to select an appropriate fungicide for rust management.

Funded Amount: $10,000
Efficacy and Economics of Insecticide Seed Treatments for Management of Wireworms and Seed Corn Maggots in Sunflower

Investigators: Adrianna Szczepaniec, South Dakota State University; Janet Knodel, North Dakota State University; and J.P. Michaud, Kansas State University

Description: Wireworms and seed corn maggots are occasional pests of sunflower, but when present they can significantly reduce stands and diminish crop production. In certain locations, other seed- feeding beetles called false wireworms can have equally devastating consequences to sunflower stands, and the effectiveness of insecticide against false wireworms has not been established. The results of this research have the potential to improve management of wireworms and other sunflower insects in areas where they are especially problematic and cause significant losses. The outcomes will include improved knowledge of insecticide efficacy in controlling target pests and an analysis of the net economic benefits to sunflower producers.

Funded Amount: $34,867
Timing of Irrigation for Tall- and Short-Stature Sunflower Hybrids to Help Improve Land Allocation Decisions

Investigators: Freddie Lamm and Rob Aiken, Kansas State University

Description: Little information exists differentiating the timing or irrigation for tall- and short-stature sunflower hybrids. Many producers are coping with marginal capacity wells by planting only a portion of their irrigated area to higher water use crops and are planting stress-tolerant sunflower to the remaining area that will be deficit irrigated. This study will look at the timing of irrigation for three various length periods, centered on the R5 (flowering) sunflower growth stage, comparing tall- and short-stature sunflower under three different irrigation capacities (inches/day). This will help producers make better land allocation decisions, particularly in cases where center pivot sprinklers are split into multiple crops.

Funded Amount: $20,000
Nitrogen and Phosphorus Recalibration for Sunflower in the Northern Plains

Investigator: David Franzen, North Dakota State University

Description: The last in-depth research for developing our current nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) recommendations for sunflower in the Northern Great Plains was completed in the late 1960s and 1970s. This research will provide new N and P recommendations based on general productivity history and not a yield prediction model. N and P recommendations will be based on both documented yield responses to each and economic analysis. The project will also provide algorithms for the use of active-optical sensors to direct in-season/side-dress N applications.

Funded Amount: $76,300
Seed Singulation for Precision Planting of Sunflower to Manage a Good Stand and Plant Population

Investigators: Ganesh Bora and John Nowatzki, North Dakota State University

Description: It is important for sunflower producers to have a precision planting tool capable of singulating seed placement with proper depth for good plant stand, avoiding the doubles and skips to maintain proper plant population. Most planters are designed and manufactured to plant other grain crops. The main objective of this project is to design a seed delivery system for seed singulation in order to maintain seed to seed spacing, plant population and optimum depth to establish a good stand of sunflower.

Funded Amount: $9,850
Development of Confection Sunflower Effectively Resistant to Downy Mildew and Rust

Investigator: Lili Qi and Guojia Ma, USDA-ARS, Fargo

Description: Downy mildew (DM) and rust are an important cause of yield loss in confection sunflower. Unfortunately, no resistant germplasm or commercial hybrids are available in confection sunflower. The objectives of this proposed project are to incorporate DM resistance into confection sunflower, and to pyramid DM and rust resistance genes in a single genetic background. The confection germplasms with DM resistance combined with rust resistance will be provided to the private seed industry for incorporation into finished hybrids.

Funded Amount: $96,380
NSA Crop Survey

Investigators: Hans Kandel, NDSU; Jarrad Prasifka, USDA ARS and Tom Gulya

Description: Conduct annual survey of the sunflower crop to determine production issues that may need research/education attention.

Funded Amount: $11,000
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