With the registration of fungicides for Sclerotinia head rot control in sunflowers, growers have an excellent management tool for reducing the impact of an economically devastating disease.

As the products and use is new to many growers, there are a number of question on timing.  Bto-rrdCEAEKmWJ

  • Sunflower staging: Target the R5.1 to R5.2 stage (10-20% disk flowers open)
  • Field staging: 50-80% of heads at R5.1 to R5.2
  • Number of applications: Depends of product.  If registered and conditions good for infection a second application can be made 12-14 days after the first application

Expert advice from Dr. Khalid Rashid, Pathologist with AAFC Morden, who has tested the head rot fungicides and sunflower staging timing for over 10 years is that:

“The growth stage of R5.1-R5.2, until end of flowering (3 week window) is the most susceptible stage.  The main factors for susceptibility are the availability of ascospores from mushroom production in adjacent fields (less are produced in the sunflower fields), and there is humidity in the air and on the sunflower heads, for ascospores to germinate and infect the heads.    Sometimes, a second application 2 weeks after the first application may further reduce the disease infections.   In some years/some fields get high late infection after the end of flowering due to a flux of ascospores production late in the season coupled with favourable humidity/rain conditions.”


As a follow up to our July 17, 2014 crop report, banded sunflower moth counts have increased.  Refer to the chart for counts in your area. NOTE: The threshold is 1 banded sunflower moth per 2 plants.

2014 BSM trap counts

Sunflowers in the red river valley are nearing or are in the R-1 to R-3 stage. In the SW part of the province, V8 to V12. Monitoring for banded sunflower moth continues and over the past two weeks, trap counts are nearing economical thresholds (RM of Dufferin and Woodlands). With the current staging of sunflowers in the RRV and if trap counts continue to climb, an insecticide application will be warranted. Traps will be monitored until the second week of August. Follow us on twitter for to update counts. (Table 1—Page 2)

Other insects to watch are bud moth, sunflower seed weevil, stem weevil, and lygus bug. (Figure 1) All these insects can affect seed quality, specifically in confections, and Canada Sunflower #1 standards are 2% insect damage. Continue to scout and monitor insect pressure.

Click here to read the full report.

The National Sunflower Association of Canada (NSAC), along with Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC), have been working together to determine whether confection and oilseed sunflowers are adequately covered under Crop Insurance in both areas of risk and quality.

Currently, the grade factors for sunflowers are as follows:
Oilseed sunflowers – #2 Canada
Confectionary sunflowers – #2 Canada

What is the concern over the current grade status?
  • The current grades do not reflect a producers’ risk of growing sunflowers;
  • sunflower quality has increased drastically over the past 5 years due to improvements in genetics, pesticides and best management practices;
  • processors have optical sorters which enable #1 equivalent product;
  • the sunflower industry does not follow CGC Grade Standards.
The NSAC is looking for producer feedback to provide MASC a unified decision on behalf of sunflower growers on the their preference for sunflower coverage for the 2015 and future sunflower crop year(s). Please take 5 minutes to answer these 5 questions pertaining to your MASC sunflower coverage. Click here to provide your opinion.

Kinking Sunflowers
Due to high winds over the past couple of weeks, in combination with rapid growth, NSAC’s Agronomist has been finding kinking in sunflower stems.  It is suggested that growers scout fields to determine the degree of kinking in their fields. The kinking will have no yield affect, however it could be a factor for increased lodging as the sunflowers develop.

Sunflower staging varies around the province.  In the Red River Valley, sunflowers are approaching R1. In the SW part of MB, sunflower development varies from V2-V4.  Sunny and hot weather is needed around the province to absorb moisture and encourage sunflower growth development.

Click here to read the full report.

If you want to receive this report this report in your email box, click here to send an email to be added to the distribution list.

June 26, 2014 / Saskatoon

WGRF is pleased to be co-funding the Sunflower Variety Development Initiative in collaboration with both the Federal and provincial governments and the National Sunflower Association of Canada (NSAC). WGRF will be investing $316,700 over the next four years towards developing new Canadian sunflower varieties that will boost sunflower acreage in Western Canada.

In 2012, WGRF established relationships with provincial agriculture funding bodies in western Canada and other producer commodity groups to review proposals submitted to these organizations and co-fund projects in priority areas. “WGRF funded this project through a call for proposals from the Agri-Food Research & Development Initiative (ARDI) in Manitoba,” said Garth Patterson, WGRF Executive Director. “The Sunflower Variety Development Initiative will work to achieve the goal of producing adaptable, disease resistant and herbicide tolerant, confection sunflower specifically for the Canadian market.

“The NSAC is pleased to be receiving support from Western Grains Research Foundation on our Confection Sunflower Variety Development Initiative,” Gregg Fotheringham, President of the National Sunflower Association of Canada. “The sunflower industry has the potential to increase domestic and international exports with the development of long-type confectionary sunflowers. This investment will help producers grow new sunflower seed varieties while allowing them to capture new market opportunities, increase their bottom dollar and strengthen the sunflower industry of Canada.”

Click here to read the full release.

June 25, 2014 – Fairfax, Manitoba – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Member of Parliament Larry Maguire (Brandon-Souris), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and the Honourable Ron Kostyshyn, Manitoba Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, today announced a combined federal-provincial investment of over $1.8 million to the National Sunflower Association of Canada (NSAC) to develop new seed varieties and boost sunflower acreage in Western Canada.

The NSAC will receive over $1.2 million from the federal AgriInnovation Program and $320,000 from the cost-shared Growing Innovation – Agri-Food Research and Development Initiative to support the development of adaptable, disease resistant and herbicide tolerant, confection sunflower hybrids that meet the needs of international markets and demands from growers. The varieties will be adaptable to growing conditions in the Prairies, adding an additional cash crop to field rotations.

Click here to read the full news release.

The Manitoba Sunflower Crop Report for June 17, 2014.

“Crop staging for most areas is from V-2 to V-10 with the exception of the SW part of MB at V-E to V-2. Weed pressure continues to persist. The optimum window for herbicide application in sunflowers is between 2-8 leaf stage.” Click here to read the full report.

Surveying and crop reporting is underway for the 2014 Manitoba Sunflower Surveillance Survey season, please click here to read the introductory report for June 4th, 2014.

Please note: MASC sunflower seeding deadline for full coverage is Tuesday, June 10th.