New recommendations for sunflower growers could save money and reduce environmental impacts
North Dakota is the nation’s second largest producer of sunflower for oilseed and flowers for domestic use and export markets. Until recently, soil fertility recommendations for growing sunflower were over 40 years old.
Extension educators are studying the effects of different rates of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer applications on sunflower fields across the state. Results from these studies led to a complete transformation of the previous fertilizer recommendations and the inclusion of specific recommendations for certain regions and tillage practices.
Researchers also found that phosphorus applications did not increase sunflower yields. The discontinuation of phosphorus applications to sunflower will result in grower savings of about $18 million. The recommended lower fertilizer rates will also lower environmental exposure to nitrogen and phosphorus and protect the area’s ground and surface waters from contamination.