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Agronomy for sunflower hybrids

Getting performance out of a crop requires putting performance in, like using high quality hybrid seeds with Clearfield and Clearfield Plus technology.

Hybrid seeds are produced when plant breeders restrict the sunflowers ability to open pollinate and then cross two different varieties, the resulting off-spring exhibit hybrid vigour, grow stronger and more vigorously than either parent and will produce more yield.

Hybrid sunflowers will perform well in conventional-tillage systems although a couple of key common agronomic areas need to be taken into consideration to support the crops ability to deliver.

First off, it’s worth making full use of pesticide seed dressings as they are the most effective and economic pest control options you can use and will protect your seeds from straight out of the bag through to establishment.

Even low levels of pests and diseases at early stages of the plants development can impact significantly on the final yield.

Consider using a dual-purpose seed dressing that contains both an insecticide and fungicide to protect the young crop from insects and seedling diseases.

When it comes to planting your crop, be that no-till, minimum or conventional, ensure you calibrate the planter to give you the optimum plant population for your system and conditions.

The optimum plant population varies depending on the system, region and even the season, but keep in mind sunflowers will adjust to low populations by increasing the number of seeds per head and weight of individual seeds, while at higher populations they decrease seeds per head and weight of individual seeds.

Hybrid sunflowers are particularly suited to the lower end of the plant population scale as they have great compensatory characteristics and can still yield as well as a higher plant population but with lower overall seed use.

Also consider the end user; confection seed size will decrease at higher populations so even though the yield off the combine can remain high, the proportion of seeds that fall within the target size range may drop.

Clearfield and Clearfield Plus technology provide growers with excellent weed control options particularly during emergence and early growth stages.

Enhanced crop tolerance to Clearfield herbicides bred into hybrid sunflower allow growers to apply robust post emergence broad-spectrum herbicides that provide long-lasting residual weed control.

Growing a profitable sunflower crop requires some difficult and complex management decisions, but investing in quality seed from the outset is not one of them.