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Sunflower

All Sunflower Content

A green combine that has caught fire in the field.

Avoiding Field Fires During Fall Harvest

With dry and drought conditions in the late summer and fall, crops dry down rapidly and harvest starts early. The climate outlook may be favorable for an uninterrupted run at harvest. However, the risk of fires during harvest is always a concern for farmers.

aerial view of South Dakota farm and surrounding land

Pest & Crop Newsletter

SDSU Extension publishes the South Dakota Pest & Crop Newsletter to provide growers, producers, crop consultants, and others involved in crop production with timely news pertinent to management of pests, diseases, and weeds in South Dakota.

Waterhemp growing at he edge of a soybean field nearing harvest.

Checking Weed Control at Harvest

With harvest now in full swing, don’t forget to look at your fall weed control. What are the weeds that are left in your crop? Do you know what weeds they are? Is there a weed that you do not know?

Tan moth present on a yellow sunflower head.

Sunflower Moths Present in South Dakota Sunflower

The sunflower moth and its subsequent caterpillar are sunflower pests that need to be scouted for after the inflorescences begin to open through head maturity. Sunflower heads are most-susceptible to caterpillar damage from the onset of anthesis to when the petals begin drying.

Green bee on yellow flower.

Bees and Other Pollinators Visiting Sunflower

While insecticides are often necessary to reduce pest populations and prevent yield loss in sunflower, it is important to consider the impact they may have on beneficial insects, like bees and other native pollinators.

Numerous grasshoppers feeding on a yellow sunflower head.

Watch Sunflowers for Grasshopper Defoliation and Flower Feeding

Grasshoppers continue to be an issue in some areas of South Dakota. The hotspots seem to be along the Missouri River, but it is a reminder that everyone should be monitoring their crops for grasshopper feeding.

Gray beetle with long antennae that are alternating white and black pattern on green leaf petiole.

Will Dectes Stem Borers Be an Issue in 2020?

Every year, there is a risk that sunflower in South Dakota will be infested by Dectes stem borer larvae. At this point in the season, adults are active, and females have likely been laying eggs in sunflower plants.

Diseased sunflower head, showing sclerotia bodies that have replaced seeds.

Sclerotinia Concerns in Sunflower

Sclerotinia diseases are a concern in sunflowers, because the fungus can infect the plant through the root, mid-stalk or the head. Wet weather and cool temperatures two-to-three weeks prior to and during flowering favor disease development.

Red-brown colored weevil with bent antennae originating on the elongated mouthparts.

It’s Time to Start Scouting for Red Sunflower Seed Weevils

In South Dakota, sunflower flowering is getting underway. That means it is time to start scouting fields for red sunflower seed weevils.

Small reddish-orange beetles on a green sunflower bud with a larger grey beetle also present.

Identifying Red and Gray Sunflower Seed Weevils

When scouting sunflower, the most observed weevil is the red sunflower seed weevil. However, there are two species of seed weevils that can be present on sunflower heads in South Dakota.