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Scouts Starting to See First Signs of Rust in Region's Sunflowers
Minnesota Ag Connection - 07/28/2021

Crop scouts are starting to see the first stages of sunflower rust appear. Rust is most often found on the lower under-side of leaves. The pustules are cinnamon-red and readily recognizable. Yield loss can occur, and control measures should be considered when rust reaches approximately 1% severity on the upper four leaves and the plant is in the vegetative stages until it reaches the R6 stage. An infestation on the upper leaves at R6 or later will not likely have a negative yield affect. Fortunately, rust can be managed with well-timed fungicide applications. To learn more about rust, visit Rust (Puccinia helianthi) at the National Sunflower Association at

According to North Dakota State University Crop & Pest Report, grasshopper numbers are increasing. The hot, dry weather will quickly push insect development into the adult stage, which can cause more crop damage. Trap captures of banded sunflower moth and Arthuri sunflower moth increased this last week. The highest trap numbers for banded sunflower moth were in the southern half of ND. Red sunflower seed weevils are present in wild sunflowers along roadsides. IPM maps of insect pests and diseases are posted on

Meanwhile, the sunflower market established new market highs for old and new crop this week adding 10 to 25 cents. Nearby prices are trading in range of $29.40-$29.50 in the Dakotas. New crop NuSun is priced at $27.30-$27.80 with high oleic at $27.80-$28.30 at the North Dakota crush plants. In the High Plains, nearby and new crop high oleics were up 25 cents. Birdfood is trading in a range of $28-$30 in the Dakotas. Sunflower trading continues to be influenced to a greater extent by crop conditions and development progress. Sunflowers are mostly in the late bud stage or blooming in the Dakotas and Minnesota. In Texas, planting has wrapped up and harvest is on-going making good progress. Traders are closely watching weather conditions for the Dakotas and Minnesota. Severe to exceptional drought conditions are prevalent throughout the area and it is looking like not much will change through the end of July, with the Dakotas and Minnesota heavily favored for above average temperatures and below normal precipitation. At this time, it is unknown how this might impact sunflower production. Currently, the majority of the crop is in fair to excellent condition. Mid-August through September is the critical time frame for sunflowers. The ongoing drought conditions and production uncertainty should keep old and new crop prices trending to the upside as birdfood and crushers compete for remaining old crop seed stocks to cover near term needs.

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