Sunflower Farming In India: What, How & Why?

Sunflower Farming In India: What, How & Why?

Climate information for Sunflower Farming.
Sunflower is considered as a day neutral plant and requires up to 12 hours of equivalent daylight. The plant requires more than 500mm water as rainfall. The optimum temperature for sunflower growth is 20 to 28 degree Celsius.

Sunflowers grow well in warmer weather. A frost free period of about 120 days is required for good establishment of Sunflower.

Suitable soil  for Sunflower Farming.
Sunflower requires light to heavy soil with proper drainage. Wide range of soils from sandy to clayey can be used to cultivate sunflowers. Neutral to alkaline soil with an optimum pH ranges from 6.5 to 8.5 is required.

Sunflower thrives well in deep loam soils with neutral ph. Well drained soil is ideal for its growth. Water logging hinders the growth of sunflower plants.

Sunflower Farming

Recommended sowing time for Sunflower Farming.
Kharif- Sunflowers can be sown from May-June

Rabi- Sowing is done in December-January.

Spring- February- March

Land preparation for Sunflower Farming.
The sunflower seeds require a fine seed bed. Therefore, the field must be ploughed twice with moldboard plough or or disc harrow. Planking should also be followed to break any remaining clods and level the field. Ridge and furrow cultivation is popular in Sunflower cultivation wherein the seeds are sown in furrows along with fertilizers.

Sunflower Farming

Sowing methods and tips  for Sunflower Farming.
Seeds can be sown by mechanical drilling or conventional kulfa. Dibbling can also be practiced by hand in sowing of sunflower seeds. Transplanting of sunflower seedlings can also be done. For this nursery should be prepared 30 days before transplanting. The seedlings of 4 leaf stage should be transplanted into the field.
Seeds should be placed at a depth of 3 cm in furrows.
Spacing for hybrids is 60cm ×30 cm. Whereas for other varieties it is 45cm × 30 cm.

Irrigation method  for Sunflower Farming.
Life saving irrigation should be given 20 day after sowing. The critical stages of sunflower include bud development, flowering and seed development. Irrigate the field after sowing at an interval of 7 to 8 days. Irrigation at the flowering stage is critical to ensure a proper seed set. Excess irrigation increases the chance of wilt and root rot.

Sunflower Farming

Fertilizer requirement  for Sunflower Farming.

FYM at the rate of 10-12 kilogram per hectare should be applied in the field. The NPK requirement for sunflower cultivation is 60:90:60 kg/ha for hybrid varieties.

In case of manganese deficiency of foliar spray of 0.5% MnSO4 should be applied on 30, 40 and 50 day after sowing. For Zinc, 25 kilogram per hectare ZnSO4 should be applied. Apply borax @ 0.2% during floret. opening stage. Apply Sulphur @ 20 kilogram per hectare in form of ammonium sulphate or gypsum at the rate 200 kilograms per hectare.

A minimum of 40 kilogram of Nitrogen and maximum 70 kilogram of Nitrogen should be applied in the field. Minimum phosphorus should be 50 kilogram per hectare and maximum 90 kilogram per hectare. In case of potassium minimum 40 kilogram of potassium and maximum 60 kilogram potassium should be applied.

Seed Requirement  for Sunflower Farming.

For hybrid variety the seed rate is 5 kilogram per hectare. For other varieties, the seed rate is 6 kilogram per hectare.

Seed Treatment for Sunflower Farming.

Seed treatment should be done 24 hours before sowing. Treat the seeds with trichoderma culture at the rate of 4 gram per kilogram. Treat the seeds with thiram or carbendazim @ 2 gram per kilogram of seed. Biofertilizer treatment with Azospirillum at the rate 600 gram per hectare of seeds required should be done. After drying the seeds in shade for 15 minutes sowing should be carried out.

Best seed varieties  for Sunflower Farming.

  • TNAU Sunflower Hybrid CO 2- the duration of this variety is 90 to 95 days. It gives yield of approximately 19 to 22 quintal per hectare. The oil content varies from 38 to 40%. The seeds are dark brown in color and floret color is light yellow.
  • COSFV 5- the average duration of this variety is 85 to 90 days. It gives 15 to 17 quintal per hectare yield. The oil content in seeds varies from 40 to 42%.
  • Jwalamukhi- the plant is ready to harvest in 120 days and gives an average yield of 16-18 quintal per hectare. Oil content is nearly 42%.
Sunflower Farming

Best practices for Sunflower Farming.

Thinning out of seeds after the 10th day of sowing should be done to ensure optimum plant population.

  • Hand hoeing should be practiced on the 15th and 30th days after sowing to remove weeds.
  • Spraying of naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) at 20 ppm concentration on 30th and 60th day after sowing ensures good yield.
  • Supplemental hand pollination should be done to increase seed setting. The cultivation should be practiced near areas where honey bees are abundant.
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