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Sunflower (Helianthus spp.) is the main oilseed crop in Russia.

Common sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
Common sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
Source: commons.wikimedia.org
©H. Zell (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Economic importance

The oil content in modern zoned sunflower varieties is 50-52 (56)% of fats from the mass of dry matter of seeds.

Sunflower oil refers to semi-drying and has a high taste. It is used directly for food purposes, and is also used to obtain margarine, in canning, baking, confectionery and other areas of the food industry.

The main fatty acids in sunflower oil are linoleic and oleic acids. The content of linoleic acid in the oil of modern sunflower varieties is 55-60% of the total fatty acids, oleic – 30-35%. Varieties with different ratios of these acids have been bred. For example, the content of oleic acid in the oil of the Pervenets variety, bred by the All-Russian Research Institute of Oilseeds, is 75-80%, linoleic acid is 12-17%. By its quality sunflower oil of this variety is not inferior to olive oil.

The composition of sunflower oil also includes phosphatides, vitamins A, D, E, K and other substances useful for humans.

Sunflower oil of lower grades is used for the manufacture of soap, varnishes and paints, stearin, linoleum, films, waterproof fabrics, electrical fittings, etc.

Waste of seed processing for oil – cake, formed during the pressing method of obtaining oil, and meal (or cake flour), during the extraction method, are valuable feed for farm animals with a high protein content, which contains a large amount of essential amino acids. Waste accounts for 33-35% of the mass of seeds.

1 kg of meal corresponds to 1.02 feed units and contains 363 g of digestible protein. 1 kg of cake is 1.09 feed units and contains 226 g of digestible protein. The content of fat in the waste ranges from 1 to 7%, protein from 33 to 35% (Kolomeichenko). According to other sources, the cake contains 8-10% fat, 36-40% protein, 20% carbohydrates. Meal contains 1-3% fat (Niklyaev). In terms of the content of phosphorus and calcium, cake and meal are superior to grain plants.

Threshed sunflower heads are also used as animal feed. The output of dry baskets reaches 56-60% of the mass of seeds. 1 kg of flour from dried baskets corresponds to 0.8 feed units and contains 38-43 g of protein.

Husk of sunflower seeds is a valuable raw material for the production of hexose and pentose sugar. Hexose sugar is used to produce ethyl alcohol and fodder yeast. Pentose goes to the production of furfural, which is used in the production of plastics, artificial fibers, safety glass and other chemical materials. The yield of husks of modern varieties of sunflower reaches 18-20% of the mass of seeds.

The green mass of sunflower, cut to the stage of budding, is used as feed for cattle. Forage qualities of green mass are average. 100 kg of green mass cut at the beginning of flowering corresponds to 12 feed units, contains 1 kg of digestible protein and 3.5 g of carotene.

Tall (special) varieties of sunflower, mowed in the budding-flowering phase, in pure form or in a mixture with other forage grasses (peas, vetch, fodder beans, oats, etc.), are used for preparing silage. Sunflower silage is not inferior in nutritional value to corn stalks and leaves silage. Usually, sunflower is used to obtain silage in regions where soil and climatic conditions do not allow the use of corn for the same purposes. As a silage culture, it is used mainly in the Non-Chernozem zone and Western Siberia.

The chemical composition of sunflower silage includes:

  • water – 73.4-83.5%;
  • protein – 1.8-3.1%;
  • fats – 0.6-1.9%;
  • fiber – 4.4-8.8%;
  • nitrogen-free extractives – 5.8-11.1%;
  • ash – 2.3-3.3%, including 0.7% calcium.

The ash of sunflower stems contains about 4% P2O5 and up to 36% K2O. Therefore, it can serve as a fertilizer and for the production of potash (potassium carbonate).

Yellow basket petals are used in pharmacology.

A good honey plant, as it is the basis of the feed conveyor for bees for a long period.

Crushed plant residues after harvesting seeds can serve as a good organic fertilizer.

Crop history

The dry prairies of the southwest (or south) of North America are considered to be the birthplace of sunflower, where wild representatives of the genus Helianthus are widespread , to which the modern cultivated sunflower belongs (Vavilov, Kolomeichenko). According to other sources, the homeland is North and South America from California to Bolivia (Niklyaev).

It was brought to Europe by the Spaniards in 1510 as an ornamental plant.

Sunflower was brought to Russia from Holland in the 18th century. as an ornamental plant and for edible seeds, which were consumed as a delicacy instead of nuts.

For the first time, the possibility of obtaining oil from seeds dates back to 1769. The idea of ​​the practical cultivation of sunflower as an agricultural crop and the use of its seeds to produce oil belongs to the serf peasant of the Alekseevka settlement, Biryuchensky district, Voronezh province (Belgorod region) D.S. Bokarev. As early as 1829 (Vavilov, Niklyaev; according to other sources, in 1835, Kolomeychenko), he was the first in the world to obtain oil from sunflower seeds grown in his garden using a manual squeezing press. In 1833, the first horse-driven oil churn was built in the same settlement, and in 1865, the first oil mill was built.

Later, sunflower crops spread to the Voronezh and Saratov provinces, Ukraine, the North Caucasus and Siberia.

In 1860, work on the selection of oilseed varieties began in the Russian Empire. An important role in breeding work on cultivated sunflower (Helianthus cultus Wenzl) was played by outstanding domestic breeders Plachek E.M., Zhdanov L.A. (Hero of Socialist Labor, Academician of VASKhNIL), Pustovoit BC (twice Hero of Socialist Labor, Academician), Shcherbina V.I., Prokhorov K.I. and others. It is in Russia that there is the largest biodiversity of forms, varieties and hybrids of cultivated sunflower. Local varieties that were cultivated in pre-revolutionary times had low oil content (28-30%) and high husk content (43-44%). Modern varieties contain up to 45-50% oil, and their huskiness does not exceed 22-25%.

During the period of the Soviet Union, the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Oilseeds named after V.S. Pustovoit (VNIIMK), as well as experimental stations of this institute: Don (Ukrainian SSR), Armavir and Belgorod.

In the second half of the 20th century, interest in this crop as an oilseed plant increased markedly. The area under sunflower crops in the world in 1984 was 13.4 million hectares. By country, in 1984, the areas occupied by crops were:

  • USSR – 4.5 million hectares;
  • USA – 1.5 million hectares;
  • Argentina – 1.9 million hectares;
  • Hungary – 0.3 million hectares;
  • India – 0.67 million hectares;
  • Bulgaria – 0.3 million hectares.

In the USSR, sunflower as an oilseed crop was grown in the RSFSR – 2.5 million hectares (55%), in Ukraine – 1.7 million hectares (38%), Moldova – 170 thousand hectares (4%), Kazakhstan – 100 thousand hectares (2%), Georgia – 15 thousand hectares. By 1990, it was planned to increase the gross harvest of sunflower to 7.4-7.5 million tons.

Chemical composition

The chemical composition of the green mass, mowed in the phase of mass flowering:

  • water – 65-70%;
  • carbohydrates – 17%;
  • protein – 2.5%;
  • fats – 0.8%.

Also in the green mass contains a large amount of calcium and phosphorus.

Cultivation areas and yield

By the end of the XX century. the world’s sown area under sunflower was about 21 million hectares, or 12% of the total sown area occupied by oilseeds.

The gross seed harvest in the world was about 25 million tons, or 10% of the total oilseed harvest. The yield was 1.2 t/ha, or 0.3 t/ha less than the average for oilseeds.

In Russia, about 80% of all areas occupied by sunflower fall on the North Caucasus (Rostov region), the Central Black Earth zone, the Middle and Lower Volga regions. Significantly smaller areas are available in the Urals and Western Siberia. The territories of Eastern Siberia and Altai were gradually mastered.

For 2001-2005 the area occupied by sunflower crops in Russia amounted to 4.5 million hectares, or 83% of the total sown area of ​​oilseeds
. The gross harvest of oilseeds reached 4 million tons or 85% of the total production.

The average seed yield was (in 1984) 1.2-1.4 t/ha. The highest yields are traditionally obtained in the Kuban. Record yields, on average 2.7-2.9 t / ha, were obtained in Soviet times on many farms, for example, on the Kuban collective farm, the collective farm named after. Krupskaya, Ust-Labinsk district, the Pobeda collective farm, Dinskoy district, etc.). According to data from the early 2000s. the average yield is 0.94 t/ha, or about the same as the average for oilseeds (0.95 t/ha). The maximum yield of the best hybrids in variety plots and under excellent growing conditions reaches 2-3 t/ha. High yields of 2-2.5 t/ha were obtained in the Voronezh, Tambovka, Lipetsk and Belgorod regions; in the Rostov Region and the Krasnodar Territory – 2.7-3 t/ha.

The promotion of sunflower crops to the north and east of Russia, primarily to the south of the Non-Chernozem zone, to Eastern Siberia and the Far East, is facilitated by the breeding of more early-ripening hybrids and varieties, as well as the development of new methods of agricultural technology.

Botanical description

The sunflower belongs to the Asteraceae family .

The sunflower species Helianthus annus L. , established by Linnaeus , is currently considered to be a collection. It is divided into two separate types:

  • Helianthus cultus Wenzl. – cultivated sunflower, which is also divided into two subspecies:
    • ssp. sativus Wenzl. — cultivated sunflower;
    • ssp. ornamentalis Wenzl. – decorative sunflower;
  • Helianthus ruderalis Wenzl. – wild sunflower.

The cultivated sunflower is an annual plant.


The root is taproot, penetrates the soil to a depth of 2-4 m and spreads to the sides by 100-120 cm.


The stem is erect, woody, has a loose core, unbranched.

Plant height is from 0.7 to 2.5 m, in silage varieties it reaches 3-4 m.

The height of plants of oil-bearing varieties and hybrids is from 1.5 to 2.5 m, gnawing – 2-4 m.


The leaves are large, densely pubescent, oval-heart-shaped, with a pointed end and serrated edges, on long petioles.

The lower leaves (3-5 pairs) are located oppositely, the rest – alternately.

On one plant, early-ripening varieties form 15-25 leaves, late-ripening – 30-35. Cargo varieties and hybrids are more leafy.


Inflorescence – apical basket in the form of a flat, convex or concave disc, which is surrounded by a wrapper of several rows of leaflets. The diameter of the basket in oil-bearing varieties (8) is 10-20 (25) cm, the diameter of the gnats is 30-40 (45) cm. The basket is based on a receptacle, on which reed flowers are located along the edges, and inside are tubular.

Reed flowers are sterile, large, orange-yellow, sometimes have an underdeveloped pistil. These flowers attract insects, which is of great importance for pollination. Tubular flowers are bisexual and occupy almost the entire receptacle. In one basket there are from 600 to 1200 tubular flowers.

Each flower has a pistil with a lower single-celled ovary and style, as well as a corolla with fused petals and five cloves. Corollas from light yellow to dark orange.

Flowers in the flowering phase open gradually from the periphery to the center of the basket.

Stamens five, filaments free, anthers fused.

Cross-pollinating plant. Usually, under natural conditions, some of the flowers remain unfertilized, which leads to empty grains. To reduce empty grain, beehives with bees are taken out for crops during the flowering period.


The fruit is a compressed ovoid achene, with four indistinct faces. It consists of a seed – a core with a thin seed coat, and a leathery dense hard pericarp (peel or husk), not fused with the core.

The pericarp has an epidermis under which cork tissue is located, and deeper than it there are several layers of lignified sclerenchyma cells. The upper layers of sclerenchyma in armored varieties are formed by a black-coal, insoluble in water, acids and alkalis, substance (phytomelan), which protects seeds from sunflower moths.

The peel can be white, gray, black, and striped or stripless in texture. The husk content of achenes, that is, the mass of the husk in relation to the mass of the seed, varies from 22 to 46% (56%). The most valuable varieties include sunflower varieties with low huskiness.

Weight of 1000 seeds – 40-125 (170) g.


The seed (kernel) includes an embryo and a thin seed coat.

The embryo consists of a root, a kidney and two cotyledons. During germination, the cotyledons are brought to the surface of the soil.

Biological features

Sunflower belongs to the continental climate plant. The homeland of its wild forms are the dry prairies of North America, and the cultivated forms were formed in the steppe zone of the European part of Russia and the former USSR, where high temperatures and low air humidity in summer are characteristic. At the same time, sunflower is characterized by high ecological plasticity.

Temperature requirements

Germination of sunflower seeds begins at a temperature of 4-6 °C (according to other sources, 4-5 °C). Increasing the temperature accelerates the emergence of seedlings. At a temperature of 8-10°C shoots appear 15-20 days after sowing, at 15-16 °C – after 9-10 days, and at 20 °C – after 6-8 days. The optimum germination temperature is 12-15 °C.

The sum of active temperatures for the period from sowing to germination is 140-160 °C.

Sunflower seeds that have hatched can easily tolerate frosts down to -10 °C, and swollen ones – up to -13 ° C. Seedlings withstand short-term frosts down to -5…-8 °С.

After the emergence of seedlings, the requirements of plants for heat increase. In the flowering phase and in the subsequent period for sunflower, the optimum temperature is 25-27 °C (Vavilov; according to other sources, 20-25 °C, Niklyaev). Temperatures above 30 °C have a depressing effect.

In the flowering phase, sunflower plants are sensitive to low temperatures. Frosts -1…-2 °C during this period lead to severe damage and complete death of flowers.

Frost damage to the growing point leads to strong branching of plants, so for fodder purposes sunflower can be sown as early as possible.

It is very sensitive to autumn cold snaps and does not withstand even light frosts on the soil.

The sum of active temperatures required for the ripening of early ripening varieties is 1600-1800 °C, for mid-ripening and late varieties – 2000-3000 °C.

Moisture requirements

Sunflower makes quite high demands on moisture. Water consumption by one plant during the growing season exceeds 200 liters. Transpiration coefficient 470-570. For the formation of 100 kg of seeds, plants use 140-180 tons of water or 3000-6000 tons per ha.

Due to the root system penetrating into the soil to a depth of more than 3 m, sunflower is drought-resistant. Plants are able to use moisture from deep soil layers, which is not available to many other annual plants.

Due to the pubescence of stems and leaves, as well as the adaptability of stomata to constant transpiration, they increase the resistance of sunflower to drought and heat, especially before flowering.

According to the Research Institute of Agriculture of the South-East, sunflower uses moisture unevenly:

  • for the period from germination to the formation of the head, it consumes (22) 23% of the total moisture consumption during the growing season;
  • from the formation of a basket to the (end) of flowering – 60%, is a critical period for the need for moisture (Vavilov, Kolomeichenko; according to other sources, 40-50%, Nikitin);
  • from flowering to ripening – 17 (18)%.

The lack of moisture in the soil during the critical period is the reason for the “capture” of flowers and empty grains in the center of the baskets, a sharp decrease in yield.

At the beginning of the growing season, sunflower plants use the moisture of the upper layers of the soil, while after the formation of heads, water consumption occurs mainly from a depth of more than 50 cm.

In case of severe drought, by the time the flowering begins, a large number of established flowers, especially in the central part of the basket, do not bloom. At the same time, the mass of both the individual achenes and the total mass of seeds from one plant is significantly reduced, which leads to a decrease in sunflower yield. For this reason, when growing sunflower in arid regions, moisture accumulation is of great importance: retention of snow and melt water, irrigation and other methods that improve the water regime.

Soil requirements

In Russia, most of the sunflower crops are located on leached, powerful and ordinary southern chernozems, as well as on chestnut soils.

It prefers sandy and loamy chernozems, as well as chestnut, gray forest (sandy and loamy) and podzolized soils.

The optimal pH range for plant growth is 6.0-6.8 (7).

Sunflower does not tolerate heavy clay, (light) sandy, acidic, highly saline (alkaline), marshy soils. It is considered less demanding on soils than corn.

Light requirements

Sunflower belongs to light-loving plants.

Shading and cloudy weather lead to a delay in the growth and development of plants or their elongation, the leaves form small, which leads to a decrease in yield.

Sunflower is a short day plant. Under conditions of daylight hours, the growth and accumulation of green mass of plants increases, but flowering and maturation are delayed. Therefore, when moving north, its growing season increases, the productivity of green mass increases, but seed ripening is delayed, and their yield decreases.

Nutrient requirements

The nutrient requirement of sunflower is much greater than that of grain crops. For the formation of 100 kg of sunflower seeds, according to numerous experimental data, on average, it consumes 5-6 kg of nitrogen, 2-2.5 kg of phosphorus and 10-12 (16) kg of potassium. The ratio of N : P2O5 : K2O is 3 : 1 : 5. The amount of nutrients consumed depends on the growing conditions and crop level.

The supply of nutrients to plants during the growing season is uneven. The greatest consumption of nitrogen falls on the period from the beginning of the formation of the basket to the end of flowering, phosphorus – from the emergence of seedlings to flowering, potassium – from the formation of the basket to maturation.

The initial period of plant development is critical in the consumption of phosphorus.

During the ripening of sunflower seeds, the bulk of the consumed nitrogen and phosphorus accumulates, while potassium – only about 10%, the remaining 90% accumulates in the vegetative organs.

By the time of flowering, sunflower plants use up to 60% of nitrogen, up to 80% of phosphorus and up to 90% of potassium from the total removal from the soil for the entire growing season.

Crop rotation

Vegetation of sunflower plants according to morphological characteristics is divided into the following main phases (Vavilov):

  • seedlings;
  • the beginning of the formation of the basket;
  • bloom;
  • maturation.

All-Russian Research Institute of Oilseeds recommends distinguishing the following developmental phases according to morphological features:

  • seedlings;
  • leaf formation, that is, from the emergence of seedlings to the formation of 4-5 pairs of true leaves;
  • differentiation, or from 4-5 pairs to 9-10 pairs of leaves;
  • active growth, or from 9-10 pairs of leaves before flowering;
  • bloom;
  • formation and filling of seeds;
  • maturation.

Another option for grouping sunflower growing seasons (Kolomeichenko):

  • seed germination;
  • emergence of seedlings;
  • the first and second pairs of leaves;
  • third and fourth pairs of leaves;
  • budding;
  • bloom;
  • growth and filling of seeds;
  • maturation;
  • full ripeness.

Table. Phases of growth and development, stages of organogenesis and the formation of sunflower productivity elements (Department of Crop Production of the Don Agro University (Alabushev et al., 2001)[1]V.V. Kolomeichenko. Crop production / Textbook. - M .: Agrobusinesscenter, 2007. - 600 p. ISBN 978-5-902792-11-6

SeedlingsI - the growth cone is undifferentiated, poorly visible, has a flat shapeNumber of plants per area
1st leaf pair
2nd leaf pair
3rd leaf pair
II - the growth cone increases, the rudiments of the stem and leaves
are formed
III - the formation of the receptacle, the growth of the lower leaves
IV - the laying of flower tubercles
Plant habitus (height, branching)
Inflorescence formationV - formation of the integumentary and generative organs of the flower
VI - pollen is formed in the anthers, in the ovary - the embryo sac
VII - the growth of flowers, filaments
Number of flowers in an inflorescence
BloomVIII - corolla development, basket wrapper unfolds, anther comes out of the corolla
IX - flowering and fertilization
Number of seeds in a basket (head)
Formation of achenesX - achene formation (growth in length)Achenes size
Pouring achenesXI - deposition of spare substances, oil accumulationAchenes weight
Achene maturationXII - transfer of nutrients to spare, increase in oil contentAchenes weight

Table. Phases of sunflower growth and development (code ВВСН) (Western Europe, Shpaar D.)[2]V.V. Kolomeichenko. Crop production / Textbook. — M.: Agrobusinesscenter, 2007. — 600 p. ISBN 978-5-902792-11-6.

0. Germination00 Dry seed.
01 Start swelling it.
03 End swelling it.
05 Emergence of the germinal root from the seed.
06 The germinal root is elongated, the formation of root hairs.
07 Hypocotyl and cotyledons have pierced the seed coat.
08 The hypocotyl breaks through the soil surface.
09 Seedlings (cotyledons come to the surface of the soil).
1. Leaf development, main shoot (with clearly visible growth in length (stretched internodes), you should go to macrophase codes)10 Cotyledons are completely dissolved.
12 Two real leaves (1 pair) are unraveled.
14 Four real leaves (2 pairs).
15 Five true leaves.
16 Six true leaves.
17 Seven true leaves.
18 Eight true leaves.
19 Nine true leaves.
3. Growth in length30 Beginning of growth in length.
31 The first stretched internode is visible.
32 The second stretched internode is visible.
33 The third stretched internode is visible.
3... Microphases continuing until...
39 Nine or more stretched internodes are visible.
5. Flower formation51 Inflorescence bud visible between young leaves (star microphase).
53 Inflorescence separates from upper leaves, bracts clearly distinguishable from true leaves.
55 Inflorescence detached from upper true leaf.
57 Inflorescence clearly separated from upper true leaves.
59 The inflorescence is still closed. Reed flowers are visible between the bracts.
6. Flowering (main shoot)61 Beginning of flowering. Reed flowers are located vertically on the basket, tubular flowers are visible in the outer third of it.
63 Tubular flowers in the outer part of the basket bloom, stamens and stigmas are free.
65 Full bloom. Tubular flowers in the middle part of the basket bloom, stamens and stigmas are free.
67 Completion of flowering. Tubular flowers in the inner part of the basket bloom, stamens and stigmas are free.
69 End of flowering. All tubular flowers have faded. In the outer and middle parts of the basket, bookmarks of fruits are visible. Reed flowers dried out or fell off.
7. Fruit development71 Seeds on the edge of the basket are gray, species or variety size
73 Seeds in the outer part of the basket are gray, species or variety size
75 Seeds in the middle part of the basket are gray, species or variety size
79 Seeds in the inner part of the basket have a gray color, species - or varietal size
8. Ripening of fruits and seeds80 Beginning of maturation. The seeds on the edge of the basket are black, the seed coat is hard, its back side is still green.
81 Seeds in the outer part of the basket are black and hard, its back side is still green.
83 "Lemon" ripeness (yellowish-green back side of the basket). Bracts are still green. Seed moisture is about 50%.
85 Continued seed maturation. They are black in the middle of the basket. The edges of the bracts are brown. The back of the basket is yellow. Seed moisture is about 40%.
87 Physiological ripeness. The back of the basket is yellow. Bracts on 75% of the leaf surface are brown. Seed moisture is about 15%.
89 Full ripeness. The seeds in the inner part of the basket are black, the bracts are brown. The back side of the basket is brown. Seed moisture is about 15%.
9. Dying away92 End of full ripeness (overripeness). Seed moisture about 10%
97 Plant died
99 Harvest products (seeds)

The duration of interphase periods for the most common group of mid-ripening varieties is (Vavilov):

  • from sowing to germination 14-16 days;
  • from germination to the beginning of the formation of the basket 37-43 days;
  • from the beginning of the formation of the basket to flowering 27-30 days (according to other sources, 50-60 days after germination, Kolomeichenko);
  • from flowering to ripening 44-50 days.

The total duration of vegetation for this group of sunflower varieties is 120-140 days. Depending on the variety or hybrid and growing conditions, seeds may ripen in (70) 80-120 (140) days after germination.

In the first period of its development (2-3 pairs of leaves), sunflower plants develop relatively slowly. At this time, they are easily drowned out by weeds. However, then the growth accelerates and reaches its maximum, which is 3-5 cm per day, in the period from the formation of the basket to the beginning of flowering. In the flowering phase, growth in height slows down and stops completely by the end of flowering.

The beginning of the formation of the basket in early maturing varieties of sunflower in the conditions of the South-East of Russia falls on 2 pairs of leaves, in mid-season – at 3-5 pairs. The laying of the basket in mid-season varieties begins in the conditions of the Krasnodar Territory with 5 pairs of leaves.

Flowering of one basket lasts 8-10 days, and growth – until it turns yellow. The basket grows most intensively within 8-10 days after the end of flowering. The filling of achenes lasts for 32-42 days from the time of their fertilization.

Simultaneously with the growth of the plant in height and the formation of a basket, dry matter begins to accumulate. During this period, this process is slow, and by the beginning of the formation of the basket, sunflower accumulates only 15% of dry matter. By the beginning of the flowering phase, the amount of dry matter in the plant reaches 50%, and it continues to increase until the beginning of the filling of seeds, but is also spent mainly on the formation of the basket.

Physiological ripening of achenes after harvesting can be 10-50 days.

Crop rotation

In the main sunflower growing areas, winter crops are the most common forerunners, especially those in bare or seeded fallow. With this variant of crop rotation, good conditions for the nutrient and water regime for sunflower plants are created. Good forerunners of sunflowers include corn, leguminous, as well as spring cereals (wheat, barley) and flax.

In the Urals and Siberia, the best predecessors of sunflower are spring cereals.

Due to the deep-penetrating root system, sunflower plants are able to effectively use moisture from soil layers of 100-200 cm and even 200-300 cm, especially in the second half of the growing season. Sunflower productivity often depends on the presence of moisture in these layers. Therefore, in crop rotations, it is not placed after crops with a powerful root system that dries up the lower horizons, such as alfalfa, sugar beet, Sudanese grass. In areas with insufficient moisture, in which these crops are present in crop rotations, sunflower should be placed only 3-4 years after one of them, and the return of sunflower to its original place is allowed no earlier than after 8-10 years. Its earlier return leads to the spread of broomrape, diseases and pests. From these conditions it is obvious that the crop rotation, which includes sunflower, sugar beets and perennial grasses, should be at least 10-12 fields and have a long rotation.

Peas, soybeans, beans and rape, which have common diseases with sunflower (sclerotinia, gray rot, etc.), are also not recommended sunflower predecessors in crop rotations .

Sunflower is strongly affected by downy mildew and broomrape (Orobanche), so its return to its original place in the crop rotation is allowed no earlier than after 8-10 years.

Sunflower silage varieties and hybrids include crops that leave weed-free fields, as well as loose and nutrient-rich soils, for example, winter and spring crops that go through a layer of perennial grasses, potatoes, fodder root crops. It is also possible to grow it as a hay crop – after winter crops for green fodder or annual grasses. A second return in this case is possible in 5-7 years.

The sunflower itself serves as a good precursor for spring wheat, oats, barley, and other spring crops. However, they are often clogged with sunflower carrion. In the south of the Kuban – for winter crops.

An important feature of sunflower, as a predecessor in crop rotations, is carrion, that is, sunflower seeds that crumble in autumn during harvesting. After overwintering, these seeds sprout and clog the crops of subsequent crops. Failure to comply with the optimal harvesting time and large losses of sunflower seeds leads to an increase in carrion. The most harmful is carrion in the subsequent sowings of spring grain crops after sunflower. To combat carrion, deep autumn plowing is advisable.

Sunflower is one of the main crops used in rock crops, which are used in the steppe regions for the purpose of accumulating snow and protecting against wind erosion.

Fertilizer system

The sunflower fertilization system includes the main fertilizer during autumn tillage, as well as row fertilizer during sowing.

Organic and mineral fertilizers are used as the main fertilizer. According to All-Russian Research Institute of Oilseeds many years of experience, applying manure in the amount of 15-20 t/ha in autumn is effective for all major sunflower growing areas. The increase in seed yield reaches 220-500 kg/ha. Sunflower is also responsive to manure aftereffect. When manure is applied under the previous crop, the seed yield increases by 200-300 kg/ha. For chernozem soils, the application of manure in the amount of 20-40 t/ha gives an increase in sunflower seeds by 0.2-0.5 t/ha.

Spreaders are used to spread manure, for example, РУН-15Б.

According to the generalized data of experimental institutions, sunflower responds differently to the application of mineral fertilizers during autumn plowing (NPK at 45-60 kg/ha) in different zones (table).

Table. Responsiveness of sunflower to mineral fertilizers in different zones of its cultivation[3]Crop production/P.P. Vavilov, V.V. Gritsenko, V.S. Kuznetsov and others; Ed. P.P. Vavilov. – 5th ed., revised. and additional - M.: Agropromizdat, 1986. - 512 p.: ill. - (Textbook and teaching aids … Continue reading

North CaucasusLeached
Central Black EarthOrdinary

The greatest increase in yield (0.23-0.39 t/ha) is provided by the introduction of nitrogen-phosphorus fertilizer. The effect of using one phosphate fertilizer is less and amounts to 0.10-0.21 t/ha. The introduction of potash fertilizers is impractical, even in combination with nitrogen-phosphorus fertilizers, since this not only does not lead to an increase, but sometimes even reduces the yield.

Application rates and efficiency of fertilizers are determined by zonal features. For example, in the steppe regions of Ukraine, N30-60P60-90 are optimal. For the forest-steppe zone – N45-60, P45-60, K45-60 (Vavilov). According to other data (Kolomeichenko), for the steppe and forest-steppe zones on chernozem and dark chestnut soils, it is recommended to apply N40P60 (since these soils are sufficiently supplied with potassium). On sandy soils with a low potassium content, K40-60 is applied . Also (Niklyaev), general recommendations – N30-60P45-90K45-60.

The application rates of mineral fertilizers are adjusted taking into account the planned harvest and agrochemical analysis data.

Potash fertilizers for sunflower are usually applied on soils poor in potassium.

The yield of sunflower increases with the joint application of organic and mineral fertilizers.

Spreaders are used for fertilizing, for example, 1-РМГ-4 or ЮМЗ-6АЛ.

Sowing fertilizer of sunflower, especially with phosphate fertilizers, gives an increase in yield and increases the oil content of seeds. When sowing, fertilizer is applied at a distance of 6-10 cm from the row to a depth of 10-12 cm at a dose of N10P10-15 with two or one tape. For this, re-equipped fertilizer seeders of the СПЧ-8M or СПЧ-6МФ seeders can be used.

Top dressing of sunflower during the growing season is usually considered ineffective (Kolomeichenko). According to other sources, sunflower responds very well to top dressing (Niklyaev). For these purposes, use up to 1/3-1/4 of all fertilizers. Sometimes top dressing is carried out in two steps: at the first stage, fertilizers are planted with cultivators-plant feeders to a depth of 7-8 cm, at the second – by 10-12 cm. If possible, it is better to use liquid complex fertilizers N20P30.

Tillage system

Basic processing

The main tillage for sunflower differs for different natural zones. Depending on the conditions, one of the autumn soil preparation techniques can be used: ordinary autumn, semi-fallow and improved autumn. In all cases, before plowing, the stubble is peeled with disc tools to a depth of 6-8 cm (Vavilov; according to other recommendations, 5-7 or 8-12 cm, Niklyaev).

The usual autumn tillage consists of stubble stubble plowing followed by autumn plowing to a depth of 20-22 cm for light and weed-free soils, or 25-30 cm for heavy and weed-infested soils. It is used in northern and eastern sunflower growing areas, such as Siberia , Kazakhstan, north of the Central Black Earth zone and the Volga region.

Semi-fallow tillage differs from the usual autumn tillage in that after early plowing, the soil is treated like a black fallow. It is used in areas with a long, at least one month, warm autumn period after harvesting the previous crop.

Improved autumn tillage consists in stubble peeling, after which 2-3 layered surface treatments are carried out, and in September-October the main plowing is performed. This technique is widely used in many areas of sunflower cultivation, such as the North Caucasus, Ukraine, Moldova. Layer-by-layer processing of the improved plowing allows to reduce weed infestation by 70-80% and improves the quality of subsequent plowing.

With a strong clogging of perennial root weeds, for example, thistle, sow thistle, bindweed, layer-by-layer tillage is used. To do this, the stubble is peeled to a depth of 6-8 cm with disc tools, then after the growth of root weeds, the soil is cultivated to a depth of 10-12 cm with share cultivators, heavy disc harrows or flat cutters. Further, after re-growth, deep autumn plowing is carried out to a depth of up to 30-32 cm.

In areas of sufficient moisture in the Krasnodar Territory and other areas with similar conditions, double layered plowing is used. To do this, after peeling the stubble, shallow plowing is carried out to a depth of 14-18 cm, then 2-3 surface treatments and in October – repeated deep plowing to 27-30 cm. Such tillage, including deep plowing, is effective in combating root shoot weeds.

On cultivated chernozems, in the absence of perennial weeds, deep plowing (to a depth of 27–30 or 30–32 cm) for sunflower does not provide advantages over conventional plowing (20–22 cm).

In areas prone to wind erosion, to protect soil from demolition, non-moldboard (flat-cut) tillage is used, which allows you to save most of the crop residues on the soil surface. To do this, two small treatments are carried out and then autumn deep loosening up to 20-25 cm.

Positive results are obtained by carrying out snow retention. According to the data of the Scientific Research Institute of Agriculture of the South-East, thanks to the implementation of snow retention techniques in the fields, the increase in the yield of sunflower seeds reaches 0.6 t/ha. In the spring, snow can be compacted, and slotting can be used to retain melt water.

Pre-sowing treatment

Pre-sowing tillage is determined by the quality of autumn plowing and the condition of the field in spring.

In the presence of wintering weeds and on floating soils, as well as winter carrion, spring tillage for sunflower includes early harrowing with heavy and medium harrows and 1-2 cultivations with simultaneous harrowing and plowing.

In the case of industrial cultivation technology, careful leveling of the field surface is necessary, as this affects the quality of herbicide application and sowing.

According to All-Russian Research Institute of Oilseeds, carrying out two cultivations of fallow in fields infested with annual weeds and, to a small extent, perennials, with an average sowing period, does not have a significant advantage compared to one cultivation. The greatest efficiency with one pre-sowing cultivation is achieved when the soil warms up from 8 to 12 °C and the mass emergence of seedlings and seedlings of weeds.

In the case of autumn flat-cutting cultivation with stubble left on the soil surface, needle harrows and then cultivators are used for pre-sowing soil preparation.

Pre-sowing treatment is carried out to the depth of sowing seeds, that is, 6-8 cm when using seeds of a standard size or 5-6 cm for small ones.

Soil cultivation for sunflower silage varieties and hybrids is no different.


Seed preparation

For sowing, sunflower seeds of zoned and promising varieties and hybrids are used.

According to varietal qualities, that is, typicality and armor, sunflower seeds are divided into three categories:

  • Category I – seeds with a typicality of at least 99.8%, a shell of at least 98%;
  • Category II – seeds with a typicality of at least 98%, a shell of at least 96%;
  • Category III – seeds with a typicality of at least 97%, a shell of at least 95%.

According to sowing qualities, sunflower seeds are divided into three classes:

  • Grade 1 – seed purity of at least 99%, germination rate of at least 95%;
  • Grade 2 – seed purity not less than 98%, germination rate not less than 97%;
  • Grade 3 – seed purity of at least 93%, germination rate of at least 90%.

Seeds must be well executed.

For sowing, the use of calibrated (leveled) seeds is of great importance. Calibrated seeds make it possible to obtain plants that are more uniform in height and strength, thereby increasing their productivity and reducing crop losses during harvesting. Sowing completed and large seeds allows you to increase the yield of sunflower by 0.15-0.3 t/ha. Seed sizing is more important with staggered seeding to avoid further thinning.

Before sowing, seeds are treated with 65% fentiuram at the rate of 3 kg/t of seeds to protect them from diseases. To prevent infection with downy mildew, apron (6 kg/t) is treated.

A highly active insecticide, a technical gamma isomer of hexachlorane with a consumption rate of 2-4 kg/t of seeds, can be attributed to insecticides for sunflower seeds. The treated seeds are coated with a film-forming composition, that is, they are encrusted. Seeds treated in this way are protected from damage by soil pests, and it is possible to provide a given plant density.

For dressing seeds allowed (2007) preparations:

  • TMTD, in the forms of sp. (800 g/kg), v.s.k., t.p.s., – to combat white and gray rot, seed mold and downy mildew;
  • Aktamyr, etc. – to combat white and gray rot, seed mold and downy mildew;
  • Maxim, Ph.D. – to combat fomopsis, downy mildew, gray, white, dry and fusarium rot;
  • Semaphore, etc. – to fight the wireworm.

With a high number of wireworms, additional insecticides are added to the soil.

Sowing dates

For the main areas of cultivation, sunflower sowing dates fall in early and mid-spring (respectively, early and medium sowing dates). There are almost no differences between these terms. Very early and late sowing dates are impractical.

On weedy soils, medium terms are more preferable, that is, when the soil warms up to 8-12 °C at the seeding depth. By this time, seedlings and seedlings of early weeds appear on the soil surface, which are destroyed during pre-sowing cultivation.

Early sowing dates fall on soil warming up to 5-7 °C. At the same time, the physical ripeness of the soil may not yet occur, and shoots of early weeds are often absent.

Seeds of high oil varieties are characterized by higher heat requirements, so they should be sown when the soil warms up to 8-10 °C at a seeding depth (8-10 cm). Early sowing of such varieties and hybrids leads to a long germination time and partial loss of germination, which causes thinning of seedlings.

Sowing late, that is, when the soil warms up to 14-16 °C or more, leads to a decrease in sunflower yields in all areas of cultivation.

In the arid regions of the South-East of Russia, where a lack of moisture reserves in the soil is characteristic, early sowing dates are optimal, which give the best results.

In the forest-steppe part of the Central Black Earth zone, sunflower is also recommended to be sown early. Delaying the timing of sowing in these areas, for example, for the emergence of seedlings of early weeds, followed by their destruction by pre-sowing cultivation, leads to a delay in the ripening of sunflower seeds.

In the conditions of the Southern Urals and Western Siberia, sunflower sowing is carried out in the middle terms, which contributes to a sharp increase in its yield, while early sowing can lead to damage to sunflower seedlings from spring frosts and oppression by weeds.

It should be borne in mind that sunflower seeds with a thick, lignified shell swell very slowly, so they are sown at an earlier date.

Sowing is carried out in a short time – in 2-3 days.

When using sunflower for fodder purposes, it can be sown at different times, for example, in early spring simultaneously with early grain crops, during the sowing of heat-loving crops, it can be sown between corn rows. As a cutting crop, it is sown after harvesting winter crops for green fodder or annual grasses.

In the conditions of the steppe and forest-steppe zone, it may be expedient to use carrion oilseed sunflower next year by oversowing oats, barley, vetch, peas, their mixtures or other crops in early spring on such fields.

Seeding methods

Sunflower sowing methods can be wide-row, with row spacing of 70 cm (can also be 45 and 60 cm) or dotted.

For sowing, seeders СУПН-8, СУПН-8А, СПЧ-6М or СКПП-12 are used.

The dotted method of sowing makes it possible to relatively achieve the optimal area of ​​plant nutrition and such a density of standing, which ensures the maximum yield of seeds. When determining the optimal plant density, one proceeds from the water availability of sunflower. With insufficient reserves of moisture in the soil, the density of standing is reduced, with sufficient moisture and the introduction of increased doses of fertilizers, it is increased.

For the purpose of obtaining silage from sunflower, it is sown in a mixture with other crops, since in its pure form it contains little dry matter and protein. Most often, sunflower for these purposes is sown in a mixture with oats, vetch, lupine, legumes, and field peas (pelyushka) are more productive than sowing peas. All these crops are sown either simultaneously with sunflower sowing, or they are sown across rows or between rows after inter-row processing in the phase of the first pair of true leaves.

Silage varieties and sunflower hybrids are sown in the usual row, wide-row or dotted methods.

Mixed sowing of sunflower is carried out in the usual ordinary way.

For sowing mixtures, dotted, vegetable and grain seeders are used. In mixed crops, sunflower often does not compete with other crops that are sown in a continuous way.

Seeding rates

Experimental institutions have established the following optimal norms for the density of sunflower plants per 1 ha for various soil and climatic zones of Russia:

European part:

  • for humid forest-steppe and adjacent steppe regions (thick, leached and podzolized chernozems) – 40-50 (60) thousand plants per 1 ha or 30-35 plants per 10 m of row;
  • semi-arid steppe (ordinary chernozems) – 30-40 thousand plants per 1 ha or 20-30 plants per 10 m row;
  • arid steppe (southern chernozems, dark chestnut soils) – 20-30 thousand plants per 1 ha or 15-20 plants per 10 m row.

Asian part:

  • southern forest-steppe (ordinary and rich chernozems of the West Siberian lowland) – 30-40 thousand plants per 1 ha;
  • southern chernozems, dark chestnut soils – 20-30 thousand plants per 1 ha.

When using the industrial technology of sunflower cultivation, the optimal plant density is achieved by sowing the prescribed number of seeds per 1 ha, while additional manual breakthrough of plants is not carried out. Taking into account the field germination and survival of plants, the given number of valuable seeds sown, as a rule, is 25-30% more than the optimal number of plants. For example, with a formed plant density of 40 thousand per 1 ha, it is necessary to sow 50-52 thousand viable seeds per 1 ha. To carry out sowing with such a density, seeding discs are selected that allow sowing 36-37 seeds for every 10 m of a row.

On average, the seeding rate for oilseed varieties and sunflower hybrids is (5) 6-8 (10) kg/ha, for silage – 35-40 kg/ha.

For the wide-row sowing method, the seeding rate varies from 10 to 25 kg/ha, for the continuous row method – from 20 to 40 kg/ha.

Approximate seeding rates for fodder mixtures with sunflower:

  • 60 kg/ha common vetch + 60 kg/ha oats + 40 kg/ha sunflower;
  • 60 kg/ha common vetch + 120 kg/ha oats + 20 kg/ha sunflower;
  • 10-12 kg/ha sunflower + 100-150 kg/ha peas or fodder beans;
  • 18-20 kg/ha sunflower + 100-150 kg/ha pelushka + 40-60 kg/ha oats;
  • 10-12 kg/ha sunflower + 140-160 kg/ha fodder beans;
  • 10-12 kg/ha sunflower + 100-150 kg/ha lupine.

Seeding depth

The sowing depth of sunflower seeds with sufficient moisture in the upper soil layer and on medium-sized soils is 6-7 cm, with insufficient moisture – 8-10 cm.

On heavy loamy soils, as well as in cool and humid spring, the sowing depth is reduced to 5-6 cm, on light sandy loamy soils it is increased.

Crop care

Rolling may be required after sowing to ensure better seed-to-soil contact. Conversely, if the topsoil is over-compacted or crusted, loosening with rotary hoes or light harrows may be required.

As a rule, 4-5 days before germination (or 5-6 days after sowing) sunflower crops are harrowed to destroy the soil crust and destroy shoots and seedlings of weeds. In case of severe contamination, pre-emergence spraying of crops with herbicides is carried out.

After the emergence of seedlings in phase 1-2 (3) pairs of true leaves, a second harrowing is carried out across the rows. So that the plants are not damaged, harrowing is carried out at a low speed closer to noon, when the plant turgor is weakened and they become less brittle.

According to the data of the All-Russian Research Institute of Maize, the efficiency of seedling harrowing mainly depends on the phase of development of weeds. When harrowing is carried out in the phase of white threads and weak shoots of weeds, they are destroyed by 90% or more, with later phases of weed development, the efficiency decreases: with the appearance of 1-2 leaves, they are destroyed by 87%, with 3-4 leaves – by 68% .

Further care for sunflower crops is to perform inter-row cultivation using cultivators of the КРН-4.2 type or implements with wire harrows. The number of inter-row cultivations depends on the infestation and the use of herbicides. For most areas of cultivation, 2-3 inter-row cultivation is recommended. The last cultivation can be carried out on dotted crops with hilling. The first cultivation is carried out to a depth of 6-8 cm with a width of the treated strip of 50 cm using weeding harrows. The second cultivation is carried out to a depth of 8-10 cm, the third – to 6-8 (10) cm. The width of the cultivated strips for the second and third cultivation is 45 cm; Inter-row treatments are stopped when the plants reach a height of 60-70 cm.

When carrying out inter-row treatments, attention should be paid to the protective zones of plants, which, with a dotted sowing method, should be up to 40% of the total area. Although these zones protect plants from cutting and soiling during tillage, they are also a breeding ground for weeds.

When using industrial cultivation technology with a proper tillage system and the use of herbicides, the need for inter-row tillage is often eliminated.

Sunflower flowers are pollinated by wind and insects. To prevent empty grains on sunflower crops, pollination with the help of bees is additionally used. To do this, by the beginning of the flowering phase, an apiary is taken to the fields at the rate of 1-2 hives per 1 ha. The effect of the use of bees reaches 0.1-0.15 t/ha of an increase in seed yield. Sometimes artificial pollination can be used for the same purposes.

Sunflower cultivation under irrigation conditions

To obtain high yields of sunflower seeds, despite its drought resistance, large reserves of water in the soil are needed. For example, in the conditions of the Krasnodar Territory, 172-185 tons of water are needed to obtain 100 kg of seeds (according to other sources, 140-200 tons). In terms of responsiveness to irrigation, sunflower occupies one of the first places among field crops.

Long-term studies of All-Russian Research Institute of Oilseeds and other experimental research institutions have established that the cultivation of sunflower under irrigation in areas of insufficient moisture in the Volga region, the North Caucasus and Ukraine makes it possible to double the seed yield to 3.5-4.5 t/ha, and increase the oil yield by 0.5-1.0 t/ha, protein – by 0.2-0.3 t/ha. According to the Research Institute of Agriculture of the South-East, the yield of sunflower when grown under irrigation reaches 4.55 t/ha, while without irrigation it is 1.82 t/ha.

When grown under irrigation conditions, water-charging and vegetative irrigation is carried out.

Moisture-charging irrigation is carried out in autumn after autumn tillage. The rate of water consumption is (1200) 2000-3000 m3/ha.

In dry years, three vegetation irrigations are usually carried out:

  • the first – at the beginning of the rapid growth of plants, that is, 2-3 weeks before the start of the flowering phase (or at the stage of formation of 2-3 pairs of leaves);
  • the second – at the beginning of the flowering phase (or the formation of baskets);
  • the third – 7-10 days after the mass flowering (or during the period of mass flowering).

Irrigation rate for vegetative irrigation is 600-800 m3/ha.

The amount and rate of water consumption for vegetation irrigation depend on weather conditions and are determined by soil moisture. Irrigation is most effective provided that soil moisture in the period from germination to flowering is not less than 70%, and in the period from flowering to seed ripening – not less than 80% of the lowest soil moisture capacity.

In conditions of irrigation and sufficient availability of fertilizers, the density of sunflower plants can reach 55-60 thousand/ha.

A feature of sunflower cultivation under irrigation conditions is deep autumn plowing to a depth of 25-30 cm, increased application rates of mineral fertilizers, the use of an integrated plant protection system against diseases, pests and weeds, shallow hilling of plants with moist soil.

Plant protection

When growing sunflower, the herbicide treflan is most widely used with a consumption rate of 5-6 l/ha according to the preparation. The effectiveness of treflan depends on the speed of its incorporation and mixing with the soil. Treflan is applied during pre-sowing cultivation; a gap in time between the application and incorporation of the herbicide is not allowed. Combination of application and simultaneous incorporation is possible when using units consisting of ПОУ, 2КПС-4, СП-11, 8БЗСС-1 and loops.

In sunflower crops, to control annual dicotyledonous weeds, prometrin can be used with a consumption rate of 2.5–3 kg/ha on heavy and medium soils, or 1.5–2 kg/ha on lighter soils.

The most promising, economically justified and environmentally safe is the belt method of applying herbicides simultaneously with sowing. This method of application allows processing only strips along rows with a width of 30-35 cm, while reducing the consumption of the drug by half.


The ripening phase in sunflower is characterized by the drying of most of the leaves, yellowing of the back side of the baskets, wilting and falling off of the petals, hardening of the kernel in normally colored achenes. After drying of the baskets, the achenes easily fall out of them, which causes crop losses and an increase in carrion in subsequent crops.

Sunflower harvesting is started in the phase of economic ripeness, that is, when there are at least 90% of yellow-brown, brown and dry heads in the crops, and the moisture content of the seeds is 12-14%. However, such seed moisture is observed very rarely during harvesting, especially in the northern and eastern regions of cultivation. Therefore, immediately after harvesting, the seeds are dried in special dryers to prevent an increase in their moisture in a heap, which contains an admixture of crushed and wet baskets. Drying seeds, in turn, is associated with additional labor and resource costs.

Late harvesting even for 5-6 days leads to significant crop losses.

Of practical interest in this regard is the drying of sunflower plants before harvesting, that is, on the vine (desiccation) by treating crops with magnesium chlorate (20 kg/ha) or reglon 2-3 l/ha (reglon super). Desiccation is carried out after (35) 40-45 (50) days after the full flowering of plants, when the moisture content of the seeds is 30-35%. At this moment, 50-60% yellow, 20-30% yellow-brown and 10-20% brown heads are found in crops. The consumption of magnesium chlorate during aerial spraying is 20 kg/ha or 2-3 kg/ha of reglolon and 100 liters of working fluid.

After spraying, harvesting begins under favorable weather conditions in 10-15 days. The moisture content of the seeds by this time reaches 12-16%. Thanks to desiccation, the productivity of combines can be increased by 1.5-2 times by reducing the harvested mass by almost 2 times and reducing seed losses and total labor costs.

Desiccation of sunflower crops allows you to start harvesting 8-10 days earlier than usual, while seeds are obtained with low humidity. Desiccation does not affect the quality of seeds and does not change their fatty acid composition. Magnesium chlorate is not found in sunflower oil, but it is found in baskets in a sufficiently high amount, so they are not suitable for feed purposes.

Desiccation is especially important for the forest-steppe zone.

Sunflower harvesting is carried out by direct combining with grain combines, for example, СК-5 “Niva”, which are additionally equipped with special devices ПСП-1.5, ПСП-1.5М or 34-103А, as well as trailers 2ПТС-5-887А and universal PUN -5 for chopping and spreading stalks. Combines “Don” for the same purposes are equipped with devices ПСП-8 or ПСП-10. The combine, equipped with ПСП-1.5, cuts the baskets, grinds the seeds and collects the seeds in the bunker. The stems are cut at a height of 10-20 cm, chopped into pieces up to 15 cm long and scattered across the field, threshed baskets are also crushed, collected in vehicles or scattered across the field.

The threshed seeds are cleaned using the ОВП-20 vorohooschitel, then passed through the ОС-4.5А grain cleaning machine or the ЗАВ-20 and ЗАВ-40 units.

The organization of in-line harvesting of sunflower plays an important role. It is necessary to ensure the consistency of the entire complex of technological operations that must be carried out by specialized units at all stages of the technological process: preparing fields for harvesting, threshing and transporting seeds from field to farm, cleaning and drying seeds, exporting seeds to receiving points, collecting and preparing forage threshed baskets, fertilization and soil preparation.

Seeds of high-oil varieties should be stored at a moisture content of not more than (6) 7 (8)% in a layer up to 1 m. Sunflower seeds can be stored in bags with a moisture content of 8-10%. The moisture content of seeds in storage, which are intended for technical purposes, should be no more than 10-12%. Under-dried seeds quickly go rancid and lose their germination capacity.

The stems remaining in the fields can be crushed with heavy disc harrows or cultivators, followed by plowing.

The optimal time for harvesting sunflower for silage is the beginning of flowering, before the stems coarsen. In this case, harvesting starts at the beginning of flowering and ends harvesting by the full flowering phase. The harvesting of mixed sunflower crops with other crops for silage is also started at the beginning or at the full flowering phase. When using sunflower to obtain fresh green mass, they start harvesting in the flowering phase of legumes, ending it by the time of fruit formation. When harvesting is delayed, that is, when sunflowers are mowing after flowering, the quality of the silage is sharply reduced, since the stems become very coarse and the protein content is greatly reduced.

Since the sunflower is a valuable honey plant, its mowing during the flowering phase should be carried out early in the morning and late in the evening when the bees are resting.

For harvesting sunflower in its pure form or mixed with other crops, you can use any forage harvesters.

Resource-saving intensive technology

The resource-saving intensive sunflower cultivation technology is designed to produce 2-2.5 t/ha of seeds and reduce the number of operations from 12-13 with conventional technology to 7-9, as well as to reduce direct labor costs by 20% and reduce production costs by 7- eight%.

The technology provides:

  • scientifically substantiated placement of sunflower in crop rotation;
  • the use of varieties and hybrids of various ripeness, highly productive, zoned, resistant to diseases and suitable for mechanized cultivation;
  • providing plants with nutrients based on the planned harvest;
  • use of seeds of high reproductions and sowing conditions;
  • accurate dosed application of mineral fertilizers;
  • a system complex of technological operations aimed at the efficient use of fuel, energy and other resources;
  • implementation of agricultural practices in optimal time.

The technology provides for the use of moisture-saving, soil-protective methods in the system of main and pre-sowing tillage, while reducing the number of all operations due to the introduction of highly effective herbicides, the use of an integrated system for protecting plants from pests, diseases and weeds, and the formation of a given (taking into account moisture availability) plant density.

The necessary conditions for using the technology are:

  • flow of work during harvesting and post-harvest processing of seeds;
  • use of high-performance and perfect technology;
  • completion of all work within a certain time frame;
  • compliance with agricultural technology;
  • the use of progressive forms of organization and remuneration.

In experiments conducted by the Department of Agriculture and Crop Production of the State University of Healthcare under the guidance of Professor V.S. Niklyaev together with specialists from CJSC “Progress” of the Valuysky district of the Belgorod region in 1995-1997. Sunflower yields using resource-saving technology on an area of ​​150-200 ha averaged 2.2 t/ha over three years (the maximum in 1995 reached 2.4 t/ha), while with conventional technology it was 1.5 t/ha .

In 1995 and 1996 using this technology, the variety Belgorodsky 5 was experimentally grown, and in 1997, the hybrid Veidelevsky 80. They were placed after winter wheat going through a bare fallow. Particular attention was paid to soil cultivation. After wheat harvesting, a thorough disc plowing was carried out to a depth of 8-10 cm, followed by high-quality plowing to a depth of 25-27 cm. methods contributed to a good accumulation of moisture and nutrients, improved air regime of the soil, increased biological activity of the soil, reduced weediness in the field, reduced the number of pests and pathogens of plants.

Before sowing, the field had a well-leveled surface, a dense seed bed, the amount of soil lumps 1-5 cm in size in the treated layer was at least 80% by weight. The presence of lumps more than 10 cm was not observed.

Under pre-sowing cultivation, 150 kg was introduced, as well as simultaneously with sowing 80-100 kg of nitrophoska per 1 ha. Organic fertilizers were applied under the previous crop.

Seed material was treated, seeds of the first reproduction and 1st class were used. Sowing began with a steady warming of the soil at a seeding depth of up to 10-12 °C. Sowing was carried out in a short time by the in-line method, the sowing method was dotted, the row spacing was 70 cm, the seed placement depth was 6-7 cm in the moist surface soil layer. The seeding rate is 60-70 thousand germinating seeds per 1 ha (it differed within the specified limits depending on the variety (hybrid) and moisture supply in the year of sowing). Seeding rates were calculated to obtain by the time of harvesting the plant density of 45-50 thousand plants per 1 ha.

The main operations for the care of crops: post-emergence harrowing at the stage of formation of 2-3 pairs of true leaves in sunflower and 2-3 inter-row tillage, depending on the infestation and the nature of the infestation of crops, as well as soil compaction. The first inter-row cultivation was carried out to a depth of 6-8 cm, the second – to a depth of 8-10 cm, the third included the simultaneous sprinkling of weeds in rows using hilling devices.

Desiccation of crops was applied. Harvesting was carried out by grain combines with appropriate devices in a group method. Simultaneously, post-harvest treatment of seeds was carried out.

The economic evaluation of the technology showed a decrease in labor costs for the production of 100 kg of achenes by 12-15% and a decrease in total energy consumption by 8-10%.

Sunflower varieties


Varieties and hybrids of sunflower, depending on the size of the seeds, their oil content and huskness, are divided into three groups:

  • oilseeds;
  • gnawing;
  • mezheumki.

Oilseed varieties and hydrides are distinguished by a thin stem, 1.5-2.5 m high, a basket 15-20 cm in diameter, small achenes (7) 8-13 (14) mm long and weighing 1000 pieces from 35 to 75 (85) g, low huskiness (22) 25-30 (36)%, large and densely filling the cavity with a core containing (38) 53-56 (63)% oil, which is 40-56% of the weight of the achene. They are of the greatest production importance for the production of vegetable oil. Also more resistant to sunflower moth and broomrape (Orobanche).

Gnawing varieties and hybrids are distinguished by a thick stem up to 4 m tall, a basket 25-40 cm in diameter, large achenes (11) 15-23 (25) mm long, weighing 1000 pieces from 100 to 170 g, with a thick ribbed pericarp, high huskiness 42-56%, the core does not densely fill the cavity (half), oil content 20-35%. Plants of these varieties and hybrids are usually large and tall, so their main purpose is for silage and for obtaining green mass, sometimes for obtaining seeds. Planted in small areas.

Varieties and hybrids of mezheumka occupy an intermediate position according to morphological characteristics. According to the completion of achenes, mezheumki are closer to oil-bearing varieties and hybrids, according to other signs – to gnats.

Armored breeding varieties and hybrids of sunflower – varieties and hybrids, in the peel of the seeds of which there is a black layer of phytomelan, which protects the fruits from sunflower moths and some other pests.

Depending on the length of the growing season, sunflower varieties and hybrids are divided into:

  • mid-season (120-140 days, Vavilov, 1986; according to other sources, 100-110 days, Kolomeichenko, 2007);
  • early ripening (100-120 days, Vavilov, 1986; according to other sources, 90-100 days (mid-early), Kolomeichenko, 2007);
  • super-early ripening (80-100 days, Vavilov, 1986; according to other sources, 80-90 days (early ripening), Kolomeichenko, 2007).

The length of the growing season varies considerably depending on the soil-climatic and weather conditions, however, differences between varieties and hybrids of different groups remain.

Mid-season hybrids and varieties are characterized by the highest yield: sunflower can produce up to 3-4 t/ha in variety plots, 2.5-3.5 t/ha in farms, their oil content is 50-54%, husk content is 19-22%, armor – 98-100%, weight of 1000 seeds from 65 to 85 g, color black-gray, striped. The collection of oil reaches these varieties and hybrids reaches 1.5-2 t/ha.

Mid-early hybrids and sunflower varieties ripen 5-9 days earlier than mid-season ones. Their yield is 2-3 t/ha, oil content is 48-52%.

Early ripe hybrids and varieties of sunflower yield 8-12 days earlier than mid-season ones. They are usually cultivated in the northern and eastern regions of Russia (Western Siberia, the Volga region, the Central Black Earth zone). Productivity is 1.5-2.5 t/ha, oil content is 41-53%.

To obtain high and stable yields over the years in farms specializing in sunflower cultivation, it is advisable to sow 2-3 hybrids or varieties with different ripening periods.

In agricultural production, oilseed hybrids or sunflower varieties are often used for fodder purposes, which give low yields of green fodder. However, for fodder purposes, special silage varieties are more suitable, which are distinguished by greater branching and foliage, forming many baskets, and their green mass is more tender. The green mass of such varieties and hybrids contains 12.4% protein, 26.2% fiber, 11.5% ash. In comparison, early maturing sunflower varieties contain 7.0% protein, 32.4% fiber and 8.6% ash.


Crop production / P.P. Vavilov, V.V. Gritsenko, V.S. Kuznetsov and others; Ed. P.P. Vavilov. – 5th ed., revised. and additional – M.: Agropromizdat, 1986. – 512 p.: ill. – (Textbook and textbooks for higher educational institutions).

V.V. Kolomeichenko. Crop production / Textbook. — M.: Agrobusinesscenter, 2007. — 600 p. ISBN 978-5-902792-11-6.

Fundamentals of agricultural production technology. Agriculture and crop production. Ed. V.S. Niklyaev. – M .: “Epic”, 2000. – 555 p.