Yearly sunflower yields continuing to increase in North Dakota

Sunflower yields have been increasing by about 12 pounds every year, according to Hans Kandel, NDSU Extension agronomist for broadleaf crops. “Increases in genetics, technology, and management have combined to give us the 12-pound yield increase per year,” said Kandel at NDSU’s “2022 Getting-it-Right in Sunflower Production.”

The first management tool farmers use is hybrid selection for both oil and non-oil flowers, such as high-oleics and NuSun. “We also have the herbicide types to select from, either the Clearfield Express or the traditional,” he said. “If we are looking for the herbicide types, we need to make sure we use the right chemistry for the right herbicide.”

A farmer accidentally added one bag of a hybrid that was not tolerant to Express to his planter on a couple of fields. “Then he sprayed Express, and a non-tolerant hybrid is not going to do well in situations like this,” Kandel said. For hybrid selection, the most important point is to look for the yields in your area.

Every year, NDSU puts together a “Hybrid Selection Guide,” located at: In the guide are some of the variety trials for sunflowers. In the 2021 guide, high-yielding sunflower hybrids in the Fargo trial had oil hybrid yields at the high range from 3,200-3,900 pounds.

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