Two people examining sunflower heads in a field.
Photo Credit:
Gregory Endres

Sunflower Field Survey

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NDSU Extension, in cooperation with the National Sunflower Association (NSA), is conducting a sunflower field survey in the Great Plains including North Dakota. Basic objective of the survey is to gather agronomic and pest data for use in sunflower production education and research programs.

Survey data includes the following:

  • Agronomy factors: seed yield, previous crop, tillage system, oil or confection, row spacing, plant population, plant lodging
  • Birds: yield loss from feeding
  • Disease: sclerotinia, leaf rust, Phoma, Phomopsis, and other stem, foliar and head diseases
  • Insect damage to stems or seed caused by: sunflower midge, seed maggot, bud moth, long-horned beetle, seed weevil, sunflower moths and Lygus bug
  • Weeds: major species present and density

The Carrington Research Extension Center (CREC) hosted a survey training workshop for about 20 NDSU Extension field staff on September 2. After the training, Extension agents and crop specialists commenced with the survey work of commercial sunflower fields across North Dakota.

Two Extension agents examining sunflower plants.
Photo Credit:
Gregory Endres
Emmons County Extension Agent Emily Leier (left) and Logan County Extension Agent Sheldon Gerhardt (right) examined commercial sunflower fields for agronomic and pest data.

‘Team 3’ was responsible for surveying 15 sunflower fields in the south-central region of the state and included the following counties: Eddy, Emmons, Foster, Logan, McIntosh, Stutsman, Sheridan and Wells. The work was conducted September 15-21. Preliminary seed yield estimates range from 1175-2820 lb/acre and averaged 1780 lb/acre. The most common yield reducing factors were drouth, bird feeding and reduced plant populations.

Three Extension agents standing at the edge of a sunflower field.
Photo Credit:
Gregory Endres
Kidder County Extension Agent Penny Nester, Wells County Extension Agent Lindsay Maddock, and Sheridan County Extension Agent Sarah Crimmins examined commercial sunflower fields for agronomic and pest data.

Survey data from the team will be available during early October from participating Extension agents or the CREC. The North Dakota survey database will be completed later this fall and the info can be obtained from NDSU Extension or NSA. A formal public presentation on survey results will be given during the NSA Research Forum in January 2022.