North Dakota State University researchers and the National Sunflower Association are asking past and current sunflower growers to participate in a survey that focuses on crop damage caused by blackbirds.
Blackbirds have been a longtime avian pest in sunflowers. Research on evaluating and mitigating damages caused by blackbirds has been going on since the 1980s. NDSU graduate students Mallory White and Morgan Donaldson and colleagues are seeking to update data.
SUNFLOWER SURVEY ACCESS: Sunflower growers may scan this QR code and complete the 15-minute survey on their cellphones.
Survey questions focus on crop production, blackbird damage and bird control techniques that growers use on their farms, White says. Survey responses will help the researchers understand what factors are affecting the severity of bird damage and economic losses; how bird damage has changed over the years; how it may have affected growers’ decisions to include sunflower in rotations; satisfaction with current damage management techniques; and growers’ willingness to try new control tools, such as drones.
“As potential control tools are identified, we need to know what novel methods may warrant further research, and what factors influence grower willingness to adopt new techniques,” White says. “Responses from producers will better inform the science used to meet their needs and direct future research to improve sunflower production.”
White says they want to hear from all sunflower growers, even if they have not experienced blackbird damage to their crops.
An online link to the survey is available at bit.ly/birddamsun.
The survey link will remain active until the end of April. Survey information provided will be kept confidential and secure, she adds.
Growers may also access the survey by using a QR code (see photo within text).