The scientific name of sunflower is Helianthus annus. Its family is Asteracea. Its chromosome no. is 17. It is originated from North America. Sunflower is one of the most grown oilseed crop in temperate areas. Sunflower seeds are mainly used to produce cooking oil and also used as margarine and biodiesel. India is the third largest producer of sunflower followed by Russia and Ukraine in the world.


Sunflower is commonly known as "Surajmukhi" in India. Sunflower was introduced as oilseed crop in India in 1969. Before that it is has been believed that sunflower is an ornamental plant. Sunflower seeds are also used as snake and bird feeding. 


Karnataka ranks first position with a total production of 3.04 lakh tonnes of sunflower from an area of 8 lakh hactares. If we talk of productivity, Bihar ranks first with a productivity of 1450 kg/ha. However, Andra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha are also leading producer of sunflower in India.


Morphology of sunflower


Sunflower is a tall annual or perennial herb plant. It consists of rough hairy stems with a height of 3-15 feet. The leaves of sunflower are broad, coarsely toothed with a size of 7.5 to 30 cm. It is long arranged in spirals. The head of sunflower flower is 30 cm wide. The disk of sunflower varies from brown, yellow, orange and purple colour. The fruit of sunflower is a single seeded achene.


Health benefits of sunflower seeds and oil 


1. Sunflower seed and oil are excellent source of vitamin E, selenium and other important plant compound helps to prevent chronic diseases.


2. Sunflower seeds and oil are essential source nutrients and plant compounds helps to fight against heart disease, inflammation and type 2 diabetes.


3. Sunflower helps to improve your skin health. It is an excellent source of antioxidant which helps in recovering damaged skin cells.


4. Sunflower oil improves your hair health. Its regular uses provide long and shiny hair.


5. Sunflower oil and seeds also helps to improve your digestive and immune system.


Hybrid varieties of sunflower 


DRSF -108 - This variety of sunflower is released by Indian Institute of Oilseeds Research, Hydrabad. Its average yield is 1200- 1400kg/ha. Its oil content is 37%. It is best suited for Rabi season. It is best adopted to all areas in India.


DRSF -113 - Same as DRSF -108. But its oil content is little higher with 40%.


DRSH -1 (PCSH -243) - Released by Indian Institute of  Oilseeds Research, Hyderabad . Average yield is 1300-1600kg/ha. Its oil content is 40%. It is sown in Rabi-summer season.


KBSH-1, 41,42
















Soil requirements for sunflower cultivation


Sunflower can perform well in different varieties of soil having good fertility and well drained neutral soil. However, it is best suited for sandy loams, alluviums and black soils. 


The recommended pH of soil should be 6.5 to 8 for its cultivation. 


Sunflower is most suitable to moist and compact soil. Water logging effects the crop growth and proper drainage facility is requisite for it development.


Climatic requirement for sunflower cultivation


Sunflower is a Rabi crop. It requires cool and moist environment during germination and seedling stage. It requires average rainfall of about 500 to 600 mm for good crop. 


Due to photo intensive nature of sunflower, it can be sown in both Rabi and Kharif season.


When it is sown in kharif, it requires an adequate temperature of 23 to 38°C. When it is sown in Rabi season, it requires an optimum temperature of 20 to 25°C. Rabi sown sunflower gives higher yield than kharif.


Land preparation for sunflower cultivation


2-3 time of deep ploughing of soil upto a depth of 12" to 18" followed by 2 times of harrowing and planking should be done. Collect stubbles and debris of previous crops properly and prepare seedbed of height 10-15 cm with a width of 1 m and length according to your requirement.


Incorporated 3-4 tons of well decomposed FYM (Farmyard manure) to the soil during field preparation.


Seed rate and seed treatment for sunflower cultivation


The recommended seed rate for mustard cultivation is 8-10 kg/ha. For hydrid varieties, seed rate should be little higher, is about 9 to 12 kg/ha.


Thyme oil is a best organic compound for the treatment of seed borne pathogen. You can also use hot water, chlorine or other pesticides for its treatment.


Sowing procedure for sunflower farming


Method of sowing


The recommended method for sunflower cultivation is dibbling and furrow method. For late sowing transplanting method is practiced.


Best time for sowing


The best time for sunflower sowing is mid November to December end. 




Plant × plant distance should be 30 cm

Row × Row distance should be 60 cm.


Depth of sowing


The recommended depth of sowing should be 4 - 5 cm.


Irrigation requirement for sunflower cultivation


Irrigation should be given just after sowing. Practice it continuously within a duration of 4-5 days of sowing. Later, irrigate the  field within a duration of two weeks before flowering and two weeks after flowering. Total 9-10 irrigation is required for sunflower farming. Irrigation also depends upon weather and soil type.


Manure and fertilizer requirement for sunflower farming


Apply 10-12 tonnes of Farmyard manure or compost before 15- 20 days of sowing of crop. 


Application of 60 kg of nitrogen , 90 kg of phosphorus and 60 kg of potassium for irrigated area whereas 40 kg of nitrogen, 50 kg of phosphorus and 40 kg of potassium is best recommended for rainfed area.


Proper application of micronutrients should be done for its better growth and development. Use magnesium sulphate @ 20kg/ha to overcome magnesium deficiency. Use it after 40-50 days of sowing. Use zinc sulphate @ 20kg/ha to overcome zinc deficiency after 40-50 days of sowing. Use borex @ 2g/l for better seed set and filling. Sunflower crop is very sensitive to manures and fertilizers requirement so, it should be provided in proper amount for successful cropping.


Weed management for sunflower


Manual weeding should be practiced on 15 to 30th day of sowing. Properly dry uprooted weeds for better irrigation practice. Application of herbicide Fluchoralin @2l/ha usually before sowing of crop for the effective control of weeds. 


Harvesting of sunflower


The harvesting of sunflower should be done when the leaves turn dry and back surface of  head turns yellowish-brown. The moisture content of mustard seed should be 20% at the time of harvesting. Harvesting should be done with an interval of 3 installment because it doesn't need that all heads mature at the same time. This practice also helps to reduce shattering. 


Dry well the harvested heads in open sunlight. After proper dried thresh it with the help of thresher machine.


Yield of sunflower 


The yield of any crop depends on the variety used, nutrient management and agronomical practices. If all these activities done properly, the yield would be around 20-25 quintals/ha.