Sunflower (Helianthus annus)
Chromosome number: 17
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- For normal varieties
- For Hybrid
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.
- 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:
Season Blanket recommendation of Nutrients (kg/ha) N P2O5 K2O Hybrids Irrigated 60 90 60 Rainfed 40 50 40 Varieties Irrigated 60 30 30 Rainfed 40 50 40
- 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
- Pre sowing,
- 20 DAS,
- During early bud development,
- During flowering it requires 2 irrigations,
- Seed development – 2 irrigations.
- Major weeds found in sunflower crops are:
- Cyperus rotundus
- Corchorus olitorius
- Celocia argentina
- Amaranthus viridis
- Chloris barbata
- 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.
Aditya Abhishek is an Agriculture Science student who focuses on learning and delivering knowledge on Agriculture and Home Gardening. He created Agriculture Review as a common platform for all nature enthusiast to learn better practices of agriculture and gardening.