Project Update: MCA Development of Long-Type Confection Sunflower Hybrids

Each year, Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA) releases the Sunflower Variety Performance Trial (VPT) data for both oil and confection sunflowers. In recent years, several confection experimental lines have been tested under the company, MCA. It is reassuring to the future of the sunflower industry in Manitoba that several seed companies continue to invest in the success of this crop.

In 2011, the National Sunflower Association of Canada (NSAC), now amalgamated under MCA, joined the impressive list of organizations that are investing in variety development to bring improved sunflower hybrids to our farmer members. Manitoba has a strikingly short list of available confection hybrids and those that are available are not new genetics. There is also an absence of herbicide-tolerant hybrids with improved disease packages that would benefit confection sunflower farmers.

This is a very exciting time for MCA. As a project that started many years ago with NSAC and has remained a high priority in MCA’s research program, it is very possible that one of these lines will be registered soon, with strong interest from the sunflower industry. MCA is very proud of our breeder’s hard work and commitment to building these three strong experimental hybrids that have strong yields and promising genetic and agronomic packages for Manitoba’s unique growing conditions.

MCA sunflower breeder, Mike Hagen, standing in the first commercial field to test MCA experimental hybrids.

MCA is looking for confection sunflower farmers to conduct strip trials in their 2024 commercial sunflower fields. Interested farmer members can contact Daryl Rex, research trial specialist at MCA, for more information.

MCA’s Elite Sunflower Hybrid Guide


This project supports Manitoba Crop Alliance’s farmer-led hybrid confection sunflower breeding program. Hybrids with herbicide and disease resistance, suitable for Canadian growing conditions will be developed as part of this project.

Project Objectives

  1. Develop elite parent lines, possessing genes for tolerance to sulfonylurea herbicide, rust and downy mildew.
  2. Produce testing seed, test and isolate confection sunflower hybrids for Canadian production that are high yielding, lodging resistance with improved dark, long-type seed. Resistant to sulfonylurea herbicide, rust and downy mildew.