Minor Oilseeds Research: Sunflower

sunflower emasculation


Accomplishments from the 2009–2010 funding cycle

  • Numerous crosses and backcrosses were completed among sunflower germplasm lines that possess drought/salinity tolerance, disease resistance, herbicide tolerance, and high oleic acid. F3 populations were produced from crosses that were completed in 2007. These crosses will lead to eventual release of improved sunflower germplasm with drought tolerance, multiple pest resistance, and desirable quality traits that may be used by commercial seed companies to produce sunflower hybrids specifically adapted to S.D. conditions.
  • Sunflower breeding lines were analyzed for oil composition and selected for high oleic acid content.
  • Superior individuals selected from three sunflower populations on the basis of 2008 testcross yield trials were intercrossed in 2009 to form base populations for the next cycle of recurrent selection. These populations are used as source populations for new sunflower germplasm lines. Each cycle of selection increases the frequency of favorable genes in the populations, which increases the likelihood of deriving superior lines with the desired traits for release.
  • A greenhouse hydroponic screening procedure for evaluating sunflower seedlings for salinity/drought tolerance was developed. Three hundred individual plants from each of 3 different F2 populations were screened for salinity/drought tolerance in the greenhouse. The top 10% most resistant and susceptible plants were selected from each population and grown to maturity. DNA was extracted from leaf samples of each plant. The DNA will be analyzed to identify molecular markers associated with salinity/drought tolerance in sunflower. This research is funded by the S.D. 2010 Drought Center.
  • Fee trials of 58 commercial oilseed sunflower hybrids and 16 commercial non-oil (confection) sunflower hybrids were conducted at five locations in S.D. sunflower growing areas. The results were published via a web-based SDSU Extension publication and in the printed ND-SD hybrid sunflower performance testing booklet. These trials provide sunflower growers, crop consultants, and commercial seed companies with science-based, unbiased information on hybrid performance in South Dakota environments.
  • Collaboration was continued with USDA sunflower personnel from North Dakota in screening of sunflower germplasm for resistance to the red sunflower seed weevil (RSSW) at the Highmore Research Station (click for .PDF download) Hyde County, SD was identified as a RSSW ‘hotspot’ in the NSA sunflower yield and pest surveys. Lines with consistently low levels of damage have been identified and are being incorporated into the breeding program. RSSW is a serious sunflower pest in SD and genetic resistance is an economical, environmentally safe control measure that would reduce the need for insecticide applications on sunflower crops.
  • A collaborative grant-funded on-farm research project was concluded, which examined the impact of late planting (on and after the current RMA final planting date for sunflower) on sunflower yield and oil content. Results were presented at the 2010 NSA Sunflower Research Forum and forwarded to the USDA Risk Management Agency. The outcome of the 3-year study could cause the Risk Management Agency to adjust their final planting dates for sunflower crop insurance coverage in S.D.
  • We participated in the Sunflower Moth Monitoring Network, a multi-state, multi-institutional project to monitor the presence of two sunflower insect pests throughout the growing season.  Trap counts warned producers of large populations of banded sunflower moth at late bud to early bloom. As a result, many acres of sunflower in S.D. and neighboring states were treated in a timely manner for this serious insect pest.
  • Collaborated with the Extension entomology project to screen sunflower seed treatments and insecticides at Onida, S.D.