In sports, teams can often afford to lose the first few games of the year before turning things around and making the playoffs at season’s end. But producing sunflowers is almost the exact opposite. After a poor start to the season with weak stand establishment, there is little chance for a mid-season recovery and likely no cause for celebration at harvest.
If growers want to maximize their sunflower yield potential, good stand establishment and plant spacing are critical. Uniform stands maximize sunlight exposure for production. If plants grow uniformly, they can better compete with weeds and form more consistent sized heads.
The right management techniques and crop protection products can help ensure sunflower hybrids get off to a strong start and set the foundation for a prosperous season. While disease pathogens, insects, weeds and weather are ever-present threats, sunflower growers have access to an arsenal of crop protection products, technology and know-how to grow more sunflowers for positive results at harvest.
- Quality hybrids: Strong stand establishment starts with thoughtful seed selection. It’s important to choose a hybrid with good vigor and resistance to downy mildew. Syngenta offers high quality sunflower hybrids, many of which include downy mildew resistance and NuSun® oleic characteristics.
- Seed treatments: While quality hybrid selection is an important first step in establishing a strong sunflower stand, seed treatments provide a defense against early-season disease and insect pests. To help sunflower plants start strong and defeat pests, CruiserMaxx® Sunflower plus Bion® insecticide/fungicide seed treatment, a combination of separately registered products, provides improved germination and emergence, promotes enhanced stand establishment and protects against all four classes of fungi.
- Clean machines: To get the most out of quality hybrids, growers should properly maintain and calibrate planters and seed disks to establish good seed-to-soil contact – essential to the germination process. It important to use correct planting plates and make sure they are clean.
Straighten up rows with Unistand
Unfortunately, all sunflower seeds are alike. Variance in size and shape can result in inaccurate planting depth and uneven rows. To help address these potential issues, Syngenta offers Unistand™ technology, an innovative sunflower pelleting technology available on select hybrids that consistently produces size 3 sunflower seeds. Because of this uniform seed size, Syngenta sunflower hybrids pelleted with Unistand plant more easily and won’t clog planters like traditional clay-based pellets.
The improved plantability of sunflower seeds with Unistand also addresses a big threat to stand establishment – inconsistent spacing. Because of the uniform seed size, growers will experience increased singluation.
Harvest yields are usually a reflection of the planning and work that happened at the beginning of the season. Through proper management techniques, sunflower growers who establish solid stands can celebrate a victory at the end of the year.
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