Start a Sunflower Farm
Is sunflower farming a viable business in your area? Do you have the land to grow it and the market to sell it to? If yes, then you can start this venture that is fairly easy to pursue. Learn from our guide basic tips on sunflower planting, growing and harvesting.
Sunflowers are fairly easy to grow. They are drought resistant, pollinate without much need for insects, and are not highly susceptible to diseases.
Should You Grow Sunflowers?
If you are planning to start a sunflower farm, however, the two most important questions that you should consider are: whether you have the market for your product and the large area with which to grow the crop. Sunflower seeds are valued for their oil and are sold to pressing plants. They are also milled for selling to the birdseed market.
Sunflower Growing Tips
- Plant a small crop in your chosen site to assess potential yield and susceptibility to local pests or soil diseases.
- Choose the variety of sunflower you want to grow. Each variety has different uses – some are commonly used for snacking, others for other purposes like, as garnish or food ingredient, others for oil extraction.
- An ideal soil for sunflower planting is loose enough for water to drain, but compact enough to hold the plant stalks against the wind.
- Regulate the amount of water you apply to the crop. While water is good for the plant, too much of it will loosen the soil and make the root weak.
- Look out for weeds that could compete with young plants especially during the first few weeks that the sunflowers were planted. You can employ mechanical and chemical means of cleaning out weeds from the crop.
- Plant density is important in determining yield. While low density could result to large heads and thus increased seeds per head, it could result to premature drying out. High density crops, on the other hand, would require higher rate of watering, resulting to water lodging. Check recommended sunflower density standards.
- Planting sunflowers in groups has the benefit of stabilizing their stand, protecting them from wind damage, and preventing moisture loss from soil.
- Harvest sunflowers timely to avoid having to loss seeds to late season diseases and birds that loves to eat them. Harvest time is when the back of most of the sunflower heads become brown.
- A typical sunflower farm yield is around 1,500 pounds per acre. Yield is highly influenced by seed selection, plant density, and pest and weed control.
- As sunflowers are tolerant of weather conditions, you can plant them in more than one season to spread the risk of failure for each cropping. Also, plant them in rotation with other crops to control diseases and weed infestation that often results with monocropping.
- As with any grain or seed crop, drying off of the seeds is important to control potential damage from moisture and insects. Check for moisture standards applicable to the type of sunflower you are producing.
For additional resources, visit the National Sunflower Association.
Q. What is the best time to harvest sunflower seeds?
A: The best time to harvest sunflower seeds is the month of september.
Q. What weather condition is best for sunflower farming?
A: Plant them in a sunny position and temperature should be at least 20 degree celsius.
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