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Comprehensive Disease Survey of U.S. Sunflower: Disease Trends, Research Priorities and Unanticipated Impacts

Gulya, Thomas, Harveson, Robert, Mathew, Febina, Block, Charles, Thompson, Sue, Kandel, Hans, Berglund, Duane, Sandbakken, John, Kleingartner, Larry, Markell, Samuel
Plant disease 2019 v.103 no.4 pp. 601-618
Agricultural Research Service, Diaporthe, Helianthus annuus, Rhizopus, Sclerotinia, birds, chemical industry, disease surveys, downy mildew, field crops, head rot, insects, rust diseases, stem cankers, weeds, Midwestern United States
Between 2002 and 2015, a comprehensive survey of sunflower fields across seven Midwestern U.S. states was conducted 12 times and continues to be conducted every other year. The surveyors collected data on yield, agronomic management factors, disease, insect, weed, and bird damage. All surveyors were volunteers and came from universities (extension and research staff), USDA-ARS, and seed and chemical companies. In the 12 years the survey was conducted, data from 2,267 fields were collected. The results are presented annually at the National Sunflower Association Research Forum and are used to set sunflower research priorities. While 10 diseases are surveyed annually, we focus this article on the importance, findings, implications, and impacts of the five most important: downy mildew, Phomopsis stem canker, rust, Rhizopus head rot, and Sclerotinia head rot. This survey is unique among field crops in both scope and scale, and this manuscript discusses salient and clandestine benefits of intense and long-term disease surveys.