Srinidhi Farm
 
Farming Guide for Sunflower
Family Name: Helianthus annuus
 

Some folk see a Sunflower as a flower. Others see it as a vegetable. It is of course both, a beautiful flower and a great vegetable! Healthy, nutritious and attractive, Sunflowers have it all. That is probably why sunflowers have spread from their native home in North America, and are now grown around the world!

Sunflower oil is healthy and natural edible oil known for its light and odorless characters. Rich in Vitamin E sunflower oil is derived from sunflower seed carrying nearly 45-50% oil content. A native of South Africa and North America sunflower is now grown all over thew world. 

Varieties

Characteristic features of latest and improved varieties / hybrids of Sunflower

Varieties/ Hybrids

States for Which Recommended

Duration (days)

Plant Height (cm)

Head Die. (cm)

Seedyield (kg/ha) Under Rainfed Conditions*

Oil Content (%)

Morden All Sunflower 
growing states
75-80 80-100 12-15 600-800 30-38
EC 68414 All states 100-110 150-200 15-20 800-1000 40-42
EC 68415 Karnataka 100-110 150-200 15-20 800-1000 40-42
Surya Maharashtra 90-95 150-200 15-20 800-1000 32-35

Co-1

Tamil Nadu

65-70

60-80

8-10

500-700

38-39

Co-2

Tamil Nadu

85-90

130-160

15-20

800-1000

38-40

TNAU SUF-7

All India

90-95

135-165

16-20

800-1200

38-42

GAU SUF-15

Gujarat

90-95

140-170

16-20

800-1200

38-42

             
Hybrids            

BSH-1*

All states

85-90

130-150

12-15

1000-1500

40-42

KBSH-1*

All states

90-95

150-180

15-20

1200-1500

42-44

APSH-11*

All states

90-95

120-150

15-20

1000-1500

42-44

MSFH-1*

All states

90-95

120-150

15-20

1000-1500

38-42

MSFH-8*

All states

90-95

120-150

15-20

1000-1500

38-42

MSFH-17*

All states

90-95

120-150

15-20

1000-1500

35-37

LSH-1*

Maharashtra

85-90

100-110

12-15

900-1200

37-39

LSH-3*

Maharashtra

95-100

150-170

15-20

1000-1500

38-40

PSFH-67*

Punjab

90-95

120-140

15-20

1000-1500

38-42

* Hybrids

Seasons and Rotations

The optimum time of sowing of sunflower in the north for Kharif, Rabi and Zaid crops is the first fortnight of July, second fortnight of October and the first fortnight of March, respectively. Sowing sunflower earlier or later than these periods is disadvantageous to this crop. If Kharif crop of sunflower is sown in June, it suffers from lodging, as heading stage coincides with the heavy rain period of early September. The Rabi crop sown late in December or January does not make proper germination and growth and heads of smaller size are produced. Similarly Zaid crop sown late in April suffers from heavy rains at harvest time which hampers proper harvesting and threshing of the produce. 

Sunflower is grown in rotation with several crops. Some of the important crop rotations are as given below:

  • Maize-sunflower
  • Paddy-sunflower
  • Maize-potato-sunflower
  • Arhar (ageti)-sunflower
  • Sunflower-safflower
  • Maize-toria-sunflower
  • Maiz-toria-sugarcane-ratoon-sunflower

Soil and Climate

The crop requires a cool climate during germination and seedling growth. Seedlings tolerate frosts moderately well until they reach the four to six leaf stage of development. It requires warm weather from the seedling stage up to flowering stage and warm and sunny days during flowering to maturity. High humidity accompanied with cloudy weather and rainfall at the time of flowering results in poor seed set. The amount of linoleic acid decreases with high temperatures at maturity. Sunflower is a photo-insensitive crop, therefore, it can be grown successfully in any season viz., Kharif, Rabi and spring throughout India. It takes about 80-90 days in Kharif, 105-130 days in Rabi and 100-110 days in spring season. Sunflower, unlike most other crops, is not affected with the season and day length. With the exception of freezing temperatures, the sowing of sunflower can be done in any month of the year 

Sunflower can be grown on a wide range of soils and tolerates a moderate pH range and some salinity. It thrives best on deep loam soils with good drainage and irrigation facilities. The optimum range of soil pH for this crop is 6.5 to 8.5. It performs better than groundnut in heavy black cotton soils of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Cultivation

Sunflowers require a well pulverized and weed free land with adequate moisture supply. The first ploughing should be done by the mould-board plough and subsequently two to three ploughing could be done by local plough followed by planking. There should be sufficient moisture at the time of sowing for proper germination. Under irrigated conditions where sunflower seeds have thick hulls and imbibe water at a slow rate. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure sufficient moisture for proper germination at the time of sowing.

Sowing

The seed before sowing should be treated with Captan or Ceresan at the rate of 3 g per kg of seed. Bold and certified seeds should be used. A seed rate of 8-10 kg per hectare is sufficient to ensure good crop stand, Sunflower should be sown 60 cm apart in lines with a plant to plant spacing of 20 cm. The seed should be sown at 3-4 cm depth for better stand. Sowing can be done by corn planter in the furrows. After 10-12 days of germination, extra seedlings should be uprooted to provide a space of 20 cm between plants in rows.

Manures & Fartilizers

Sunflower is an exhaustive crop and responds well to nitrogen phosphorus and potash. A crop of sunflower yielding 14 quintals of grain per hectare exhausts 175 kg N, 65 kg P2O5 and 225 kg K2O from one hectare land. Therefore, it is necessary to add adequate amount of manure and fertilizers in the field of sunflower. Nitrogen is essential for vegetative growth but to improve the seed size and its proper filling and to increase oil content liberal supply of phosphorus is essential. Potash also helps in grain filling and disease resistance. A dose of 60-80 kg nitrogen, 60 kg P2O5 and 40 kg K2O per hectare has been found optimum for sunflower. Two-third quantity of nitrogen and whole of phosphorus and potash should be applied as basal dose at the time of sowing. Remaining dose of nitrogen should be top dressed at the time of second irrigation (flowering stage).

Irrigation

Sunflower is a crop of medium water requirement. Usually no irrigation is needed for Kharif crop. However, one irrigation should be given in case of uneven distribution of rainfall. Pre-sowing irrigation is necessary for Rabi and Zaid crops to get uniform germination and better stand. Rabi crop may be irrigated thrice after 40, 75 and 110 days of sowing which will roughly coincide to four to five leaf stage, flowering and grain filling stages of the crop. Sunflower crop is highly sensitive to water stress between flowering and grain filling stages and at least one of the irrigation must be applied during this period.

Weed Management

Intercultural operations are essential to minimize the competition of sunflower plant with the weeds. Weed-free conditions up to 60 days after sowing results in better yield performance. When the plant attains a knee high stage earthing should be done along the rows. This provides safe-guard against lodging which is likely to occur at heading stage if winds of high velocity blow. Use of Sirmate at the rate of 4 kg per hectare applied as pre-emergence has been found effective in controlling weeds in sunflower crop. If Sirmate is not available use Basalin at the rate of 1 kg a.i. per hectare dissolved in 800-1000 litres of water as pre-planting spray.

Harvesting and Yeild

The sunflower crop is ready for harvest when moisture in seed is 20 per cent. Phenotypic ally the heads are ripe when back of the head turns yellowish-brown. All heads may not be ready for harvesting at one time. Harvesting may, therefore, by done in two or three installments to avoid shattering. The harvested heads should be dried well in sun and then only threshes by beating the centre of the head with a small stick. The commercial crop may be threshed with available threshers by reducing their speed. Further, sun-drying of the seed is desirable before storage or oil.

A good crop of sunflower raised property and nursed appropriately should yield over 20 quintals per hectare.

Storage

After threshing the produce should be throughly dried before storing otherwise in storage it gets affected by fungus and decomposes.