The Better Sunflower
e-Newsletter is provided with the support of the Australian Oilseeds Federation
(AOF), Australian Sunflower Association (ASA) & the Grains Research & Development
Guide for Growers 2013 – Available Now
The Australian sunflower industry has made marketing easier for growers with the
release of the Sunflower Marketing Guide for Growers 2013. The guide is the first
of its kind released in Australia and offers growers of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated
and birdseed varieties a `one stop shop’ for sourcing information on marketing
options in an easy-to-read two page brochure.
Produced by the Australian Sunflower Association (ASA) in association with the Australian
Oilseeds Federation (AOF) and Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC),
the comprehensive guide lists the contact details and quality criteria such as seed
size, variety, test weight, moisture and contaminant specifications of all Australian
The buyer listing includes three large-scale crushers who market monounsaturated,
polyunsaturated and organic oils for human consumption and 14 buyers operating in
the domestic and export confectionary, stockfeed and birdseed markets producing
sunflower kernels, whole grains, and protein meal.
The Marketing Guide is attached as pdf document to this eNewsletter, and is also
available to download from the AOF website.
If you have problems viewing the 2013 Marketing Guide for Growers, or receiving
it, contact Liz Alexander, AOF Better Sunflowers Coordinator 0429 471 511 or
Sunflower Industry to Converge
on Gold Coast for Conference
It’s rare that conversations around a resort in the heart of Queensland tourist
mecca The Gold Coast would centre on grain farming. That will be the case in June
however when the RACV Royal Pines Resort plays host to the 2013 Australian Summer
Grains Conference from 17-19 June this year.
The 2013 conference showcases five grains - maize, soybean, sorghum, sunflower and
mungbeans - and will attract growers, researchers, marketers, crushers and customers
from across Australia. It will also host an exceptional line-up of international
and Australian speakers to discuss every facet of agriculture relevant to summer
grains from economics, farming practices, agronomy, technology, new research and
development to marketing, product end-use and emerging opportunities.
Sunflowers will take centre stage during the conference with several keynote speakers
including Thomas Gulya, an Adjunct Professor with the Plant Pathology unit at North
Dakota State University who works closely with the Department of Agriculture -
Agricultural Research Service. Mr Gulya is renowned for his research into the various
aspects of sunflower disease systems, particularly downy mildew, rust, Phomopsis
stem canker, and Sclerotinia diseases.
In keeping with the grain industry’s on-going quest to improve production,
product quality and profitability, the theme of the four day conference is `innovate,
grow, prosper’ and topics covered will include biosecurity, herbicide resistance,
commodity marketing and crop management in variable climates.
Conference chair and Australian Sunflower Association (ASA) member Maree Crawford
said that “This conference will host the most international speakers ever
seen at a summer grains conference in Australia with speakers from North and South
America, India and South East Asia. This is in keeping with a general recognition
that emerging countries like India and South East Asia are going to play an important
role in our industry in the future.”
Day one of the conference will focus on technical topics while day two is heavily
weighted towards farmers and advisors, including presentations from several farmer
speakers; “This conference will be particularly relevant to farmers and it
presents an excellent opportunity for them to hear valuable up-to-date information
first hand,” Maree said. “We are encouraging as many farmers to
attend as possible by offering a large reduction in the registration price –
farmer registrations are down to $450 which represents exceptional value for money.
“With the conference dovetailing into the first week of the school holidays,
a partners program has also been included this year to increase the relevance and
diversity of information provided for those attendees who are involved in additional
areas of the farming enterprise. The other first for this conference is the inclusion
of a `Women in Ag’ session in recognition of the valuable contribution that
women make to farming and farming enterprises.”
Recognition of individuals’ contribution to farming will extend into the Grains
Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Conference Dinner on Wednesday evening
June 19, with the GRDC selecting and presenting a Women in Ag industry contribution
award and a national farmer award while each grains industry, including the Sunflower
industry, will present an Outstanding Contribution to Industry award.
For more information on the Summer Grains Conference visit
www.australiansummergrains.com.au or Facebook
STOP PRESS: $100 Sunflower Industry
Support to attend the ASGC
The Australian Sunflower Association will fund $100 towards the cost of registration
for sunflower growers, consultants and other industry members who register for the
Australian Summer Grains Conference before the early bird rate closes on 12 April
2013. However the number of subsidies is limited, and applications will be accepted
on a first-in-best-dressed basis.
To request a subsidised registration application form, contact Liz Alexander, Better
Sunflower Coordinator on 0429 471 511 or via email
Sunflowers Shine at December
The pre-Christmas summer heat didn’t deter growers and industry representatives
from attending sunflower field walks in Southern Queensland and Southern NSW during
December. Around 25 people attended the first field walk held on Friday December
14, 2012 at Trevor Burt’s property “Tavoy” at Nandi, near Dalby
in Southern Queensland’s Darling Downs region. Attendees inspected a paddock
of sunflowers, the majority of which was irrigated via centre pivot while the remainder
was raingrown. The crop looked good considering there had been very little rain
since planting, according to Australian Sunflower Association (ASA) Chair and field
day speaker Kevin Charlesworth.
ASA committee members Sue Thompson, Angus Blair, Belinda Chase and Paul McIntosh
also attended as did several seed company and merchant representatives and grain
storage specialist Philip Burrill who had some of his storage demonstration tools
on display. In her role as Agri-Science sunflower pathology researcher Sue Thompson
and development extension officer (Entomology) Kate Charleston spoke on insect and
disease management while Kevin Charlesworth discussed the suitability of sunflowers
to a rotational cropping program. AWB/Cargill also spoke on marketing options for
growers. Questions ranged from agronomy to the economics of growing sunflowers and
the day was extremely successful in bringing together growers and industry representatives
to impart and share information in a friendly and relaxed setting.
Angus Blair, Dalby Rural Supplies, grower Trevor Burt and Chris Haire, Nuseed, at
"Tavoy" Nandi via Dalby.
Irrigators and service industry members gather at Dave Cattanach's farm near Darlington
at the southern NSW field walk.
Other speakers on the day included Sue Thompson and NSW
DPI district agronomist Loretta Serafin who spoke on disease and insect management.
Questions from participants tended to centre on the technical aspects of growing
sunflowers, particularly water usage. Marketing options for sunflowers were also
discussed throughout the day with growers urged to consider both the oil market
and the stockfeed/birdseed markets.
The second field walk was hosted by Dave Cattanach who farms near Darlington Point
in the Riverina district of NSW on Wednesday 19 December 2012. The day attracted
around 48 participants who were impressed with the Cattanach’s exceptional
crop of sunflowers which were being grown as a rotation crop. Kevin Charlesworth
also spoke at the Cattanach’s field walk and said the crop was one of the
best he had ever seen both in terms of yield potential and management. “The
crop was really well managed with no signs of disease and low populations of insects,”
Kevin said. “That area of NSW is certainly a potential growth area for sunflowers
as an alternative crop for growers to include in rotations.”
The ASA would like to thank the growers for hosting the field
walks, and Kieran O'Keefe, formerly NSW DPI, and Angus Blair, Dalby Rural
Supplies, for their assistance in organising the events.
Grower Profile: David Cattanach,
Darlington Point, NSW
David Cattanach has been a farmer at Darlington Point for the last 35 years. On
his 600ha property he grows a range of winter and summer crops, under irrigation.
His main crops are soft wheat and malting barley in the winter and corn, soybean
and sunflowers in the summer. In the 2012/13 season his summer cropping program
has encompassed 80ha of sunflower, 70ha of maize and 40 ha of soybean.
Although an unusual sight in southern NSW, sunflowers have distinct advantages which
are making them an attractive irrigated summer crop option around Darlington Point.
The attraction is not only in the positive gross margins on offer but also flexibility
of the crop’s management, according to Dave.
“A wide sowing window allows either an early (September) or a late plant (January)
depending on seasonal conditions,” he said. “This effectively splits
the requirement for labour, machinery and irrigation water at critical times during
the season and allows double cropping to become a more realistic option.
Dave Cattanach chats to Scott Whiteman ROBE at
Darlington Point Field Walk
“For irrigators in the south, sunflowers provide an option to get a small
area planted before the sowing window for the other summer crops opens and also
allows growers to utilise a late increase in allocation on a late sown crop.”
Dave says that sunflowers also have a lower water requirement at 5-6 ML/ha when
compared to corn which usually requires 9 meg/ha. While their water use is comparable
with soybean it is the wider planting window which gives sunflowers the advantage
over its oilseed cousin. Sourcing sufficient agronomic information on sunflower
production in southern Australia has proved a challenge for Dave this season with
little local available experience on production aspects such as hybrid selection,
plant population and irrigation timing. There have also been challenges post farm-gate
with lengthy distances to a delivery point.
“While they are still an opportunity crop in the south, with continued growth
in the market and attractive pricing they could easily make themselves a regular
option,” Dave said.
To hear more, don’t miss the Australian Summer Grains Conference, where Dave
Cattanach, Peter Winton, Liverpool Plains, NSW, and Peter Mifsud, Central Highlands,
Qld, will be sharing their grower perspectives.
Trial Update: Simulated looper damage to
sunflowers - how much defoliation is too much, and when?
Defoliation trial at R5
A large replicated trial has looked at the impact of
defoliation (0, 25, 50, 75, 100%) at a range of crop stages (R1, R3, R5, R7, R9).
Yield data only is available at this stage for the R1-R9 treatments. Seed size and
weight measurements are not yet completed. These results are from preliminary analysis,
and require more detailed analysis when all the data is available.
To summarise the results so far:
1) Significant yield loss occured only in treatments where 75-100% of leaf was removed.
2) Only R9 showed no loss of yield, even with total defoliation
The trial was not moisture stressed, receiving 2 irrigations and >200 mm rain.
The vegetative stage trial was done separately and later, and has not yet been harvested.
However, visually there seems to be very little difference
between the defoliated and untouched plots.
The next step is to look at how much a looper eats (what leaf area), and work out
from there how many loopers are needed to reduce leaf area of a sunflower plant
to 25% - 50% (which is around where the threshold will be). This work will be done
as soon as loopers start turning up, and will be a laboratory trial feeding looper
larvae on sunflower leaves from hatching to pupation.
Dr Melina Miles, Principal Entomologist, Agri-Science Qld, 07 468 1369 or