- Greater menace of the birds specially of crows and parrots.
- Poor filling of seeds specially of disc florets.
- Unavailability of ideo-types and their superior seeds.
- Poor viability and lesser keeping quality of seeds.
- Poor market and acceptability of raw and fresh oil by the customers.
- Oil becomes bitter if not extracted within 90 days of harvesting.
- Plant protection (chemicals cannot be used as they kill the pollinators).
- Rains at maturity destroys the seed quality.
- Sunflower may not provide good fodder as in groundnut and thus farmers prefer to grow groundnut over sunflower.
- Sunflower is an exhaustive crop unless proper care in nutritional management is taken there is gradual decrease in yields.
- Continuous cropping of sunflower year after year in the same field not only brings down yield levels, but aggravates problem of insect pests and diseases and depletes the soil of its fertility status.
- Hence, adopt meticulously 2 or 3 year crop rotation to sustain productivity levels.
- Prevalence of excessive and continuous wet weather during the flowering period leads to poor seed set.
- With a view to ensure clean and rain free periods during reproductive phase take up sunflower plantings in such a way that flowering does not coincide with heavy rainfall period of the area.
- Therefore, in areas such as coastal belt, avoid cultivation of Kharif sunflower.
- In soils which are ill drained, planting outside the suggested time schedule may often lead to either moisture stress at critical crop growth stage(s) and/or poor drainage.
- Therefore, in deep and heavy soils, restrict sunflower planting to the stipulated planting time.
- As far as possible avoid low lying areas for sunflower cultivation.
- Choose appropriate variety/hybrid recommended for your region.
- In case growing conditions are good and farmers can apply the recommended input levels, prefer hybrids in place of straight populations for higher yields and returns.
- Ultimate yields and returns from sunflower very much depend on the quality of the seed used.
- Use certified seed obtained from authorised seed producing supplying agencies.
- Do not use seed obtained from your previous hybrid crop. Use only new seed stocks every year.
- For cheap and inexpensive management of all seed borne diseases, use treated seeds with recommended chemical protectants such as Thiram or Captan @ 2.5 g / kg seed (in case of pre-soaked seed, apply seed treatment chemical after shade drying).
- Maintain optimum plant stands recommended for sunflower in your region.
- Wherever soil moisture in the seed zone is insufficient at planting time, use pre-soaking of seed for improving stand establishment (soak seed for 12 hours in water followed by shade drying).
- Follow suggested spacing between and within the row.
- Thin excess seedlings within a fortnight after planting and retain one seedling per hill.
- Incorporate FYM or compost 2 to 3 weeks before sowing for efficient utilization of nutrients.
- For achieving efficient use of applied nitrogen, follow recommended fertilizer management schedule by adopting split application of Nitrogen.
- The first 45 days of crop period is very sensitive to weed competition; therefore, keep sunflower fields weed free through recommended cultural and/or chemical weed management practices.
- In the event of moisture stress sunflower benefits greatly from irrigation at critical stages viz., bud, flowering and seed development stages.
- Wherever water is available, apply irrigation during the above sensitive stages depending upon severity and stage of moisture stress.
- Seed set in sunflower, more particularly in straight populations, very much depends on bee activity.
- Do not resort to insecticidal spray during the blooming period as it affects the visit of pollinators(=bees).
- If absolutely essential, spray or dust in the evenings after 3 P.M. preferably with relatively safer insecticides like Endosulfan or Phosalone.
- Empty and partially filled seed is one of the major causes for low yields.
- Wherever bee activity is low, resort to hand pollination (8-11 a.m. on alternate days for about two weeks) as soon as 10-15% of the plants start flowering and continue the process till flowering is completed.
- The population densities recommended are 30,000-40,000 plants under rainfed conditions and 60,000-80,000 plants under irrigated conditions per hectare.
- For maximum returns from chemical plant protection, take up need based protection measures as soon as damage is noticed.
- Predators such as coccinellids and chrysoperla are commonly found on sunflower heads.
- They are efficient in checking all kinds of pests in their early stages.
- They should be protected from pesticides.
- Since downy mildew is becoming more serious, care should be taken to avoid introduction of this disease to new areas by treating the seeds with APRON 35 SD (6g/kg) before sowing. Further, avoid water logging conditions from the time of germination to about 20 days after sowing.
- Sunflower Management