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2017 National Sunflower Association Survey Result (05/10/18)

The National Sunflower Association has conducted in-depth fall surveys in farmer’s fields throughout the main sunflower growing regions of the United States as well as in the Canadian province of Manitoba for the last sixteen years.

2017 National Sunflower Association Survey Result

The National Sunflower Association has conducted in-depth fall surveys in farmer’s fields throughout the main sunflower growing regions of the United States as well as in the Canadian province of Manitoba for the last sixteen years.

During the 2017 sunflower growing season, trained teams, including agronomists, entomologists, pathologists, and Extension agents, surveyed 78 North Dakota sunflower production fields. Each team evaluated plant stand, yield potential, disease, insect, and weed issues for each field. A yield estimate was calculated based on plant stand, head size, filling of the head, seed size, percent filled seeds, and percent loss due to bird feeding. The 2017 average surveyed sunflower yield was 1,766 pounds per acre in North Dakota (Table 1). A determination of yield limiting factors was based on the surveyors’ judgement after observing all production aspects in the field. Table 2 shows the most yield limiting factors in 2017.

Overall, the most yield limiting factors in 2017 were drought, followed by plant spacing within the row, and disease (Table 2). As expected due to environmental conditions, disease was not as significant of an issue in drought impacted regions, although it was still an issue across the surveyed area.

The plant spacing difficulties included large skips within the row, or areas where plants grew too close together, causing some of the plants not to contribute to sunflower yield. Even and regular distribution of plants within the field is essential to obtaining maximum sunflower seed yield. Irregular plant distribution could have been a result of poor seeding conditions, failure to adjust the planter, driving too fast, poor germination, disease, insect damage, or other factors. Farmers should pay attention to the plant spacing issue and planter calibration and adjusting the planting speed may be the first step to reducing skips and achieving more uniform plant spacing. Farmers should also pay attention to the seeding rate as on average in North Dakota the number of plants per acre was below plant densities needed to reach optimum yield.

table 1 hans

table 2.hans

Bird damage was observed in 60% of fields in ND and 40% of fields surveyed in SD (Figure 1). Severity of bird damage was 8.1% in ND and 5.5% in SD. Overall bird damage was not a major yield limiting factor for fields surveyed, however the survey does not take into account any additional bird damage that may have occurred after the survey was conducted.

Information generated from the National Sunflower Survey can be used by farmers to improve management decisions as well as help scientists direct research needs.

figure 1.hans

figure 2.hans 

Hans Kandel

Extension Agronomist Broadleaf Crops

 

Ryan Buetow

Area Extension Specialist/Cropping Systems

NDSU Dickinson Research Extension Center

This site is supported in part by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27144] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the website author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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