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Sunflower Briefs

Thursday, March 30, 2023
filed under: Sunflower Briefs

Summer Seminar Is June 27-29 in Spearfish
        The 39th annual National Sunflower Association Summer Seminar is set for June 27-29 in Spearfish, S.D., in the beautiful northern Black Hills.  This year’s event, held at the Holiday Inn Conference Center, begins with registration and the annual Curt Stern Scholarship Fundraiser on the 27th.  Wednesday the 28th brings a full day of speakers, breakout sessions and social gatherings, capped by an evening of social and dinner at the Farmhouse Bistro and Bar.  The annual NSA golf tournament and awards luncheon takes place Thursday at the Spearfish Canyon Golf Club.
        For more details, including hotel registration and event fees, visit or call (888) 718-7033.
2023 Research Forum Presentations Online
        Those unable able to attend this year’s NSA Research Forum in January can still learn about the latest sunflower research.  PowerPoint presentations of all the reports given at the forum can now be found on the NSA website under the “research” tab.  Visit 2023 ( to see this year’s presentations.  Researchers from USDA-ARS, North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University and University of Nebraska presented papers and posters on their work.  For a historical perspective, all the presentations dating back to 2008 are available on the NSA website as well.
NSA Board Members Head to Washington
nsa board in dc
Left to Right: Cameron Peirce, Clark Coleman, Tom Kirkmeyer, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tom Dowdle, Lance Hourigan and John Sandbakken.

        National Sunflower Association board members from five different states traveled to Washington, D.C., on March 5-8. The team included NSA President Tom Kirkmeyer (Brighton, Colo.), Board Chairman Lance Hourigan (Lemmon, S.D.), and directors Clark Coleman (Bismarck, N.D.), Cameron Peirce (Hutchinson, Kan.) and Tom Dowdle (Kennedy, Minn.). NSA Executive Director John Sandbakken accompanied the group.
        The group visited with members of Congress about the upcoming 2023 farm bill and Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations.  The team also met with officials from USDA-APHIS/Wildlife Services to discuss blackbird depredation concerns, and with USDA Agricultural Research Service personnel regarding sunflower research needs.
Spring Grain Drying & Storage Reminders
        As outdoor temperatures increase, stored grain requires attention to prevent losses, reminds Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University Extension agricultural engineer and grain drying expert.  The stored grain temperature increases in the spring not only due to an increase in outdoor temperatures, but also due to solar heat gain on the bin.  Solar energy produces more than twice as much heat gain on the south wall of a bin in early spring as it does during the summer.  Here are some recommendations from Hellevang:
        •  Run aeration fans periodically to keep the grain temperature near or below 30 degrees until the grain is dried if it exceeds recommended storage moisture contents — and below 40 degrees as long as possible during spring and early summer if it is dry.
        •  Cover the fan when it is not operating to prevent warm air from blowing into the bin and heating the stored grain. Hellevang also recommends ventilating the top of the bin to remove the solar heat gain that warms the grain.  Provide air inlets near the eaves and exhausts near the peak or use a roof exhaust fan.
        •  Bin vents can become blocked with frost and ice when the fan is operated at temperatures near or below freezing, which may lead to damage to the roof.  Leave the fill and access door open as a pressure relief valve when operating the fan at temperatures near or below freezing.
        •  The natural air-drying for oil sunflowers requires an airflow rate of 0.75 cfm/bu for up to 15% moisture.  The drying should start when the outdoor temps average about 40 degrees.
        Visit ‘Drying & Storing Sunflower’ on the NSA website ( for more tips.
March Production Confab Video Link Available
        If you missed the March 21st ‘2023 Getting-it-Right in Sunflower Production’ video conference, you can now access it online. Among the topics covered were hybrid selection, plant nutrient and soil management, updates for weed, disease and insect management, and sunflower marketing.  The program was conducted by North Dakota State University Extension. Recording and resources are available at  Scroll to the conference video section and click the sunflower meeting link.  Each individual talk has its own video clip.  Additional publications and resources are available under the conference resources.
Yield Trial Data Available on NSA Website
        When deciding whether to plant NuSun® or high-oleic hybrids on your farm, do some research to see which hybrids will have the best yields in your growing area.  Yield trials conducted by USDA and universities are an important way for producers to look at a hybrid's performance in several locations, over several years and environments. 
        Use the following link to the National Sunflower Association website ( to review the latest yield trial data:  Yield Trials & Hybrid Disease Ratings.
NDSU Sunflower Production Guide Yet Available
        Copies of the updated NDSU Extension Bulletin (A1995) Sunflower Production Guide remain available.  This NDSU publication has long been called the ‘sunflower bible’ since it was first published in 1975.  The 178-page publication, updated at the end of 2020, is full of four-color pictures of the major insects and diseases for ease in identification.  The guide is directed primarily toward sunflower production in the Northern Great Plains of the United States; however, it is relevant to other production areas. 
        The National Sunflower Association will provide one complimentary copy to sunflower growers.  To obtain your copy, email:  Please include your name and complete mailing address.  Additional copies of the Sunflower Production Guide are also available for sale from the NSA’s online catalog for $15, including shipping. 
NSA Website:  A Useful Tool for Producers
          The NSA website contains lots of information for sunflower producers.  Visit; check out the Sunflower Production Resource Books for your area.  The books provide guidelines and recommendations on production practices, pest identification, field selection and more.
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