sunlight crop and its cultivation by agriculture review

Sunflower (Helianthus annus)

Centre of origin: North America
Chromosome number: 17
Family: Asteraceae
Order: Asterales
Kingdom: Plantae
  • Sunflower is an oil seed crop.
  • Sunflower oil that is derived from its seed is a major source of vegetable oil in the world.
  • Sunflower crop is also used as an ornamental crop in many countries.
  • Sunflower is a short duration crop.
  • Commercial production of sunflower began in 1972.
  • Sunflower crop is a great source to be used as a silage crop that can be fed to animals.
  • Sunflower crop oil has many health benefits as it
helps in lowering blood pressure,
cholesterol and 
blood sugar.
  • Sunflower oil contains linoleic fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, etc.
  • Sunflower is a photo insensitive crop.
  • Sunflower crop does not primarily require any specific season to grow, it can be grown in any season. It is also a short duration crop.

Area and Distribution
  • Area under cultivation – 26 million hectares.
  • European Union, Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, United States, China, India and Turkey are the major producers of sunflower in the world .
  • Russia is the largest producer of Sunflower.
  • Ukraine stands at the second position in sunflower production.
  • Sunflower crop is cultivated commercially in many states of India like

                    Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu                                

Soil Requirement 

  • It can be grown on a variety of soils ranging from sandy loam to heavy clay soils.
  • Sunflower crop cannot withstand even short period of waterlogging.
  • Sunflower crop requires well prepared seedbed for optimum seed germination, stand establishment and growth.
  •  In the case of light soils, two ploughing followed by harrowing and planking is optimum.
  • Medium and heavy soils are prepared by harrowing twice or thrice when the soil moisture is optimum for tillage operations.
  • Sunflower can thrive in slightly acidic to somewhat alkaline soil.
  • Soil pH should be 6.0 to 7.5.

Climate and Temperature
  • Sunflower crop requires cool climate during germination.
  • However sunflower crop grows well in warm weather.
  • Its seed can germinate at 40 degree C but optimum temperature for seed germination ranges from 8 to 10 degree C.
  • Ideal temperature for fruit set is 21 to 24 degree C.
  • More number of seeds are obtained at temperature ranging from 24 to 26 degree C during daytime and 18 to 20 degree C during night.
  • Sunflower crops prefers bright sunlight there it should not be grown in shady areas.
  • Optimum rainfall requirement is 500 to 750 mm for better seed yield.
  • Although sunflower crop could be grown throughout the year.

Seed Rate
  • For normal varieties 
Rain fed condition-8-10 Kg/ha
Irrigated condition-6-7 Kg/ha
  • For Hybrid
Rain fed condition-5-6 Kg/ha
Irrigated condition-4-5 Kg/ha

Method of seeding

  • Seed should be soaked in water for 14 hours followed by shade drying for quick and better germination.
  • Seed could be treated with Thiram or Captan 2-3 g/Kg, it gives protection from seed borne diseases.
  • Line sowing using seed drill is considered as the best method of sowing.
  • Hand dibbling in plough furrows is also common.
  • Optimum seeding depth is 5 cm.


  • Optimum Row to row spacing ranges from 45-100 cm. with plant population density of 60,000 to 2,50,000 plants/ha.
  • However spacing varies in hybrid as it requires wider row spacing of 60 cm.

    Nutrition Requirement

    • Application of FYM( Farm Yard Manure) @10 t/ha is  considered good.
    • Fifty per cent of the recommended nitrogen and entire dose of phosphorus and potassium should be applied at sowing.
    • In the case of rainfed sunflower crop, top dress the remaining nitrogen around 30 DAS depending on rainfall.
    • In the case of irrigated sunflower crop, 25 per cent of the remaining nitrogen should be applied in two equal parts 30 DAS (button stage) and 55 DAS (flowering stage).
    • Apply NPK fertilizers as per soil test recommendations. if recommendation is not available follow the following NPK/ha doze recommendation:
      SeasonBlanket recommendation of Nutrients (kg/ha)
    :Data collected by TNAU Agriculture portal

    Water Management

    • Depending on soil, weather conditions and other factors water requirement varies as given in the following data:
    • Sunflower crop is affected by both heavy and light irrigation.
    • Irrigate immediately after sowing
    • During growth days, irrigate at an interval of 7 to 8 days in case of light soil.
    • In heavy soils water should be applied at an interval of 15 to 20 days
    Sunflower crops requires irrigation at following stages:
    • Pre sowing,
    • 20 DAS,
    • During early bud development,
    • During flowering it requires 2 irrigations,
    • Seed development – 2 irrigations.

    Weed Management

    • Major weeds found in sunflower crops are: 
    • Cyperus rotundus
    • Corchorus olitorius
    • Celocia argentina
    • Amaranthus viridis
    • Chloris barbata
    weeds can be removed through various ways in sunflower crop 
    • Remove the weeds with the help of hoe or do hand weeding on 15th or 30th DAS.
    • Apply Fluchloralin @2 L/ha before sowing. Also apply this as pre emergence spray at 5th day after sowing followed by irrigation.


    • Depending on season sunflower crop is ready to be harvested in :
    • 90 days in Kharif, 105 – 130 days in Rabi and 100 – 110 days in spring season.
    • Harvesting should be done when back of the head turns from green to lemon yellow color and the bottom leaves starts drying.
    • Mechanical thresher is used to separate seeds from flower.
    • Avoid harvesting during rainy or cloudy weather condition.


    • Yield varies between crop grown during the rain-fed and irrigated conditions.
    • In the rainfed condition, crop grain yield is 300 to 500 Kg per hectare.
    • In irrigated condition crop grain yield is 800 to 1200 Kg per hectare.

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