Sunflower (North Dakota) 
Coordinated by Sam Markell(, Extension Plant Pathologist and Associate Professor, Janet Knodel (, Extension Entomologist and Associate Professor, and  Patrick Beauzay ( North Dakota IPM Coordinator, North Dakota State University


North Dakota typically leads the nation in sunflower production, and plants approximately 800,000 to 1,000,000 acres annually. Unlike most crops grown in the United States, sunflower is native to the U.S. and is commonly thought to have originated in the mid-south to mid-west regions of the country. 

Sunflower Field
Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.), Howard F. Schwartz, 
Colorado State University,


By engaging growers and stakeholders directly in monitoring for sunflower pests, this Crop-Pest Program will provide growers with current pest distributions and economic population levels, provide relevant and timely pest management information, prevent/mitigate yield loss, and improve teaching and Extension sunflower pest management tools.



Consequently, many local insect and pathogen pests co-evolved with sunflowers and the number of pests causing economic yield loss and the damage severity is higher for sunflower than other crops grown in North Dakota. The number of pathogens and insect pests capable of causing economic yield loss makes every aspect of IPM difficult for sunflower growers; from simple differentiation among 20+ diseases or interpretation of threshold information for multiple insects.

Important Pests

Charcoal rot (Macropomina phaseolina), Downy mildew (Plasmopara halstedii), Phoma (Phoma macdonaldii), Phomopsis (Diaporthe spp.), Rust (Puccinia helianthi), Sclerotinia rots (wilt, stem and head) (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum), Verticillium wilt (Verticillium dahliae), 
Banded sunflower moth (Cochylis hospes), Sunflower moth (Homoeosoma electellum), Red sunflower seed weevil (Smicronyx fulvus), Sunflower seed maggot (Neotephritis finalis), Sunflower midge (Contarinia schulzi).

Banded Sunflower Moth
Banded Sunflower Moth (Cochylis hospes), 
Frank Peairs,
Colorado State University,