USDA report shows it's a good year for sunflowers
It looks like a good year for sunflowers, according to this week's USDA reports and the National Sunflower Association.
Eighty percent of North Dakota's sunflowers and 74 percent of South Dakota's sunflowers are reported in good to excellent condition. Nearly half the sunflower crop in those states is now blooming, and in Kansas 44 percent of the crop is blooming.
There are two things Crookston, Minn., area sunflower producer Kevin Capistran said his sunflowers need: hot weather and rain.
Capistran said his 120 acres of sunflowers are in full bloom now after surviving a big windstorm in July. He said there have been some grasshoppers in his sunflowers, but preventative spraying for other insects and diseases seems to have taken care of the them.
As sunflowers begin to bloom, it's important to scout for sunflower rust, according to a national sunflower group.
Sunflower rust was found on volunteers and wild sunflowers early in the growing season and environmental conditions have been very favorable for rust development, according to the National Sunflower Association.
Rust can cause significant yield loss when it is found on the upper leaves, according to the group. Fortunately, it can be managed with fungicides. Rust is favored by free moisture, particularly heavy dew or fog.
The disease is often first observed near shelterbelts, where dew lasts longer because of shade and protection from the wind. The NSA says when scouting, look for pustules with dusty cinnamon-brown spores that can easily rub off.