The Dow Seeds Europe Sunflower program was established in 2008, starting with competitive germplasm leveraged from our breeding programs in America and Argentina, where Dow AgroSciences holds leading market positions.
Get more out of your sunflowers
Our sunflower program primarily aims at producing hybrids with a high grain yield and high oil percentage. On this basis, hybrids are classified either as conventional or high oleic (with oleic contents of greater than 84%). In many cases, the sunflower oil has a high proportion of heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fat, which confers health benefits and improved cooking characteristics.
Bred with care, sought after worldwide
No wonder that 20% of US and Argentinian farmers already count on Dow Seeds sunflower hybrids while the market share in Europe is growing by leaps and bounds. The main European breeding program is located in Szeged, Hungary. The European summer program is supplemented by winter nurseries grown in Chile, Argentina and Puerto Rico.
Relevant characteristics for high sunflower yields
Apart from the intrinsic yield capacity of the hybrid itself, it is possible to identify an important range of characteristics which impact directly on the harvested yields. These include:
- Good standability
- Reduced neck breakage
- Good center seed fill
- An ideal head angle
- Good disease and broomrape resistance
IMI herbicide resistant hybrids
Many Dow Seeds sunflower hybrids are equipped with the Clearfield characteristic, which confers resistance to imidazolinone (IMI) herbicides. This enables farmers to spray developing sunflower fields with herbicide in order to get weeds and Broomrape parasite weed under control while the sunflowers remain largely unaffected.
Combining techniques for best results
The breeding techniques employed by Dow Seeds encompass the entire range from conventional breeding, through to advanced DNA analyses.
For conventional breeding, Dow Seeds has the advantage of being able to procure genetic material world-wide, and to be in possession of one of the world’s best reserves of parental lines and hybrids.
We also have a full range of facilities available for screening progenies for oil percentage and oil composition, plus highly developed laboratory techniques for DNA analysis. One important consequence of having extensive DNA laboratory facilities is that genetic markers have been and are being developed for all important traits in sunflower breeding, particularly those associated with disease resistance. This enables resistant hybrids to be developed and commercialized much more rapidly than would otherwise be the case.
Before release, the hybrids developed from the Dow Seeds breeding programs are tested over several years in our highly developed worldwide network of yield and disease resistance trials.