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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Morris, Minnesota » Soil Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #249405

Title: Seed Oil and Composition Development in Two Sunflower Hybrids

item Gesch, Russell - Russ
item Johnson, Burton - North Dakota State University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/14/2010
Publication Date: 1/14/2010
Publication URL:
Citation: Gesch, R.W., Johnson, B.L. 2010. Seed Oil and Composition Development in Two Sunflower Hybrids [abstract]. Sunflower Research Forum. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Desiccants/harvest aids are becoming more commonly used to hasten sunflower harvest. Currently, it is recommended that desiccants such as glyphosate and paraquat be applied at 35% or less seed moisture at physiological maturity (PM). Recently, Johnson and Gesch (2009) showed that PM for two commercial oilseed hybrids occurred at around 37 to 47% moisture. Desiccating as early as possible without sacrificing yield may be a desirable management practice to hasten harvest thus, avoiding yield-losses due to bird predation, diseases, lodging, and seed shattering. However, it is also imperative that oil yield and composition not be compromised by early desiccation. A two-year field study (2008 & 2009) was conducted at Prosper, ND, and Morris, MN, to examine the development of oil content and fatty acid composition with respect to seed moisture and time after initial flowering (R5.1 stage) in two commercial oilseed sunflower hybrids (Croplan Genetics 378 and Mycogen 8N272). Results from 2008 showed that regardless of field site, maximum seed oil content occurred at a moisture level of 41 to 45% for hybrid 378 and 51 to 55% for 8N272. Furthermore, oleic acid (C18:1), which makes up about 75 to 90% of the total seed oil composition of these hybrids, also reached its highest concentration at these seed moisture levels. Maximum total oil content occurred at seed moisture levels that were about 5 to 10% higher than those at physiological maturity. Therefore, desiccating these two hybrids at a seed moisture content corresponding to physiological maturity, which we earlier found to be higher than recommended for desiccation (i.e., 35% or less), should not result in a loss of oil yield or quality.