Location: Sunflower Research
2012 Annual Report
Over the past several years, we have contributed to the documentation of significant, repeatable differences that exist in the susceptibility of sunflower hybrids to Sclerotinia head rot. We have assessed the Sclerotinia head rot resistance of new commercial hybrids as those hybrids have been introduced into the market, thereby providing growers with independent data on the Sclerotinia head rot resistance of commercial hybrids. We have also played a role in the development of new hybrids with improved Sclerotinia head rot resistance by screening sunflower breeding lines and elite experimental hybrids for their resistance to Sclerotinia head rot. Finally, in collaboration with others, we have been successful in developing inoculation procedures and misting systems that reliably produce the moderate to high levels of Sclerotinia head rot infection that are needed to identify the relative susceptibility of sunflower hybrids to Sclerotinia head rot. Sunflower growers now are able to review the results of the field trials associated with the project to identify and select commercial hybrids that have improved resistance to Sclerotinia head rot and stalk rot.
This project also supported the ninth annual meeting of the Sclerotinia Initiative which was held in Minneapolis, MN, in January 2012, and through that effort contributed to further development/refinement of the National Sclerotinia Initiative website http://www.ars.usda.gov/Research/docs.htm?docid=20122 News items, meeting posters, publications, and related topics of interest to the Initiative are regularly updated and/or added to the site. Additionally, working cooperatively with representatives of several commodity organizations and educational institutions, educational brochures highlighting the Initiative and related technological advances were further developed and made available in hard copy and on-line versions. The on-line versions can be accessed and printed directly from the website. The website continued to host white mold risk indices for canola, soybean, dry edible bean, pea & lentil and sunflower. These indices provide growers, extension agents, crop consultants, and researchers a method to assess the production risk to their crops related to this important disease. Links to canola disease risk maps are also provided for grower information. The Sclerotinia Initiative Strategic Plan was updated and made available as was a Sclerotinia Initiative Annual Report of Progress (2011). Planning for the next meeting in January 2013 has been initiated.