Genetic progress in sunflower crop in Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil.
The sunflower has adaptability to growing regions with different climatic and soil characteristics, showing drought tolerance and high-quality oil production. The State of Rio Grande do Sul is the third largest sunflower producer in Brazil, with research related to the sunflower breeding initiated after the decade of 1950. The aim of this study was to evaluate the genetic progress for grain yield, oil content, and oil yield of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. Data of grain yield, oil content, and oil yield obtained from 58 sunflower cultivar yield trials in 19 municipalities in Rio Grande do Sul during the period from 2005 to 2014 were used. Genetic progress was studied according to the methodology proposed by Vencovsky and data from sunflower cultivar yield trials were used. Annual genetic progress of sunflower during the period of 10 years (2005-2014) was 132.46 kg⋅ha⋅year for grain yield, -0.17%/year for oil content, and 48.11 kg⋅ha⋅year for oil yield. The sunflower-breeding programs in the State of Rio Grande do Sul were efficient for the traits grain yield and oil yield and presented no efficiency for oil content.