After several years of disease problems, this year's sunflower crop is looking fairly healthy.

"The crop is coming along really well right now," says Claire Kincaid, agronomist with the National Sunflower Association of Canada. "Disease pressure seems to be pretty low."

She says sunflowers could use some rain in some areas.

"They are starting to look a little dry, which is slowing them down a bit. They're starting to look a little wilted," she says. Early seeded crops are blooming while later fields are filling in rows.

Some growers are reporting distorted heads, which are caused by sunflower midge larvae. Kincaid says the economic losses from the insect are minimal, and no control options are available.

"We are monitoring for the banded sunflower moth, but so far numbers for it are below the economic threshold," she says.

As for disease, sclerotinia can be found at low levels in sunflower fields. Sunflower rust is also evident in western parts of the province, but incidence is also low.