- The sunflower
(Helianthus annuus) is a common and widespread roadside weed. It is
common in open sites in many different habitats throughout North
America, southern Canada, and Mexico at elevations below 1900 m.
- Sunflower can be
planted at a wide range of dates, as most cultivars are earlier in
maturity than the length of growing season in most areas. In areas of
the world with no winters, sunflower has been planted at any month of
the year to obtain satisfactory yields.
- The sunflower is a
native domesticated crop. During the last 3,000 years, Indians increased
the seed size approximately 1,000 percent. They gradually changed the
genetic composition of the plant by repeatedly selecting the largest
- Producing sunflower
seeds involves the basic process of growing and harvesting the plants,
separating the seeds, roasting them and then packaging.
- The meal is a very
valuable animal feed. and hulls can be used as a roughage. Seeds
are also consumed as nuts with the non-oil varieties for human food and
- Sunflowers can also
be used as a silage crop and can be double cropped in areas with small
grains or vegetables and where the season is too short to produce mature
corn for silage.
- There are several
techniques for removing oil from oilseeds, including the wet process,
the dry process, and solvent extractions.
- They are used in
Industries like Agricultural, Medicinal, Horticultural . Sunflower
stalks have been used as fuel, fodder for livestock, food for poultry,
and ensilage. It is also used as edible oil, Meal, Non oil seed,
- Sunflower is a seed
crop grown on 398,000 acres with an average 278,000 tons of production.
About 42,000 tons of oil is extracted from the seeds annually for edible
- Three of the bigger
sunflower birdseed buyers are Pennington Seed in southwest Missouri
(phone 417-637-5979), Buchheit Corp. in southeast Missouri (phone
573-547-4569) and Keller and Sons near northeast Missouri (Quincy, IL,
- In recent years, the
production of sunflowers for cooking oil, confectionary (e.g., food),
and birdseed has increased throughout the United States.
- The three largest
exporters of sunflowers are Russia (25 percent of world exports),
European Union (24 percent) and Ukraine (24 percent).
- The economics of
growing sunflowers for birdseed are fairly similar to growing soybeans.
Seed cost on sunflowers is about $15 per acre and weed control costs
should be similar to soybeans .
- Past production
studies have shown average yields of around 2000 pounds per acre for
full season sunflower, and 1500 pounds per acre for double crop
sunflower. Yield potential for both types of production is as much as
25-35% higher than these averages, when soils and rainfall are not
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