Department of Agronomy, UAF
Correspondence email: email@example.com
Botanical name: Helianthus annus
Local name: sooraj mukhi
Edible oil is the essential component of our food but we are producing only 20% of our need and remaining 80% is imported to fulfill the requirement.Keeping in view the factor of population pressure we have to increase our local production of oil.Sunflower is the best crop to achieve that potential because its seed contain 40% good quality oil.
Origin and History:
Sunflower originated in the southwestern United States, or somewhere in Mexico. It was introduced to Europe in the 16th century and imported into Russia from Holland in the 18th century. In Pakistan, sunflower was first introduced as an oilseed crop in the 1960’s.
Heavy soils are most suitable for sunflower cultivation. Sandy and water-logged soils are not desirable for sunflower production.
Sunflower has a well-developed root system, deep ploughing with a moldboard plough is necessary. Deep ploughing is necessary to break the hard pan in rice cultivated lands. Laser land leveler should be used to level the field.
Time of Sowing:
Timely sowing of sunflower is necessary to get more yield. In case of late sowing, oil content decreases and yield losses occur. Throughout the country sunflower is grown in two seasons: spring and summer.
Spring sunflower crop:
1st Jan to end of Feb
Summer sunflower crop:
1st July to 10 August
Seed rate depends upon soil type, germination percentage, time of sowing and method of sowing.
2-2.5 kg of hybrid seeds having germination percentage more than 90% should be used per acre.
Sowing & Geometery:
Sunflower sowing can be done through planter, dibbling, single row cotton drill and Kera method. Row to row distance should be 2.25-2.5 inches and plants should be 9 inches apart in case of irrigated areas and 12 inches apart in case of rainfed areas.
Fertilizer requirement of sunflower is 60 kg/acre nitrogen, 40 kg/acre phosphorous and 25 kg/acre potassium.
Generally, four to five irrigations are required for the crop but it also depends upon weather conditions. First irrigation should be given 20 days after emergence, second 20 days after first irrigation, third at head formation, fourth at grain formation and last at the milk stage.
Thinning is one of the operations essential to maintain the desired plant population. For this purpose, weak or abnormal seedlings should be uprooted before the first irrigation is given.
Control of weeds during the first eight weeks after emergence is crucial. Weed control can be done through hoeing and pre/post emergence herbicide application.
Insects of sunflower:
Jassid, Whitefly, Aphid, Cutworm, Armyworm and Mealy bugs are the major insects causing problems.Instead of chemicals application, Biological control should be used to control these insects.
Diseases of sunflower:
Charcoal rot, Head rot, Leaf blight, Downy mildew, Powdery mildew are the diseases affecting this crop.Seed treatment with fungicides can be helpful in controlling fungal diseases.
Harvesting and storage:
Sunflower crop matures when back of flower head turns yellow and the leaves become grayish white and moisture content of seed is 30-35%. For storage, the seed moisture content should be 8-10%.
- Hysun 33
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- N K Armoni
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