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Sunflower tour attracts 120

November 19, 2007  By Top Crop Manager

The 2005 National Sunflower Association of Canada sunflower tour, held over
two days in September, attracted 120 growers and industry representatives, reports
Mel Reimer.

On the first day, the tour brought together an estimated 70 people at the Agriculture
and Agri-Food Canada Research Centre in Morden, Manitoba. Manitoba Sunflower
Committee (MSC) officials and research centre sunflower pathology staff members
took the tour through the Manitoba regional sunflower performance test sites
located at the station. MSC president, Rob Park and station pathology technician,
Trish Walske, illustrated new hybrids being evaluated for registration in Canada.
The tour also visited plots where Dr. Khalid Rashid and his staff are examining
the potential control of sclerotinia head rot using experimental fungicides,
wild sunflowers being examined that might lead to genetic control or tolerance
to sclerotinia diseases and evaluating genetic and chemical controls for sunflower

The same day, the tour travelled to another south-central site featuring additional
MSC trials between Altona and Gretna. These were planted and are managed by
long-time sunflower practitioner, Johnny Kehler of Altona. Manitoba Agriculture,
Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) sunflower experts also held a diagnostics
school at this stop. The school illustrated damage and controls for sunflower
diseases, insects, weeds and fertility.


In southwestern Manitoba, the second day of the tour attracted about 50 people
and started at Prairie Sun Seeds. Then it headed out by motor coach to look
at fields of sunflowers direct seeded into almost sod-like conditions using
zero-till: one plot was with a planter and the other with an air-seeder. From
there it headed south to Elgin to look at some sunflower fields and stop at
Minto where the MSC oil sunflower performance trials are located at the Ag Quest
Research Station, then to the confectionary sunflower trials at Goethal-Sunaert
farms. Both variety trials look excellent. MAFRI experts held another mini-diagnostics
school at this site. -30-



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