In starting a sunflower farming business, the primary requirement is land. In India, the sunflower is often called a commercial cash crop. Growing sunflower for oilseed with maintaining the right process is a viable business opportunity. An entrepreneur passionate about agriculture and having own land can start sunflower farming business.
Why Sunflower Farming
- Sunflower is a highly profitable crop in oilseed production
- Sunflower takes very short duration 80-115 days to grow
- It’s also suitable to grow in rainfed conditions
- Sunflower has the ability to perform in diverse agro-climatic and soil conditions
- The incidence of pests and diseases on sunflower crop is also easily manageable with timely preventive and curative measures
- Being a commercial cash crop, sunflower offers an attractive price for the produce
- Sunflower oil is considered a premium when compared to other vegetable oils.
- The economics of the sunflower is highly profitable compared to other crops in similar maturity group
Do Study about Sunflower Farming
Before venturing into sunflower farming business you must have adequate knowledge about the crop and farming process. You can gather knowledge from an experienced sunflower farmer or you can attend a workshop at Agriculture University. In India, you may also contact your district agriculture officer to get information about seed, technology, etc.
Sunflower Farming Plan
First, fix the land area where you will grow a sunflower. Calculate the expenses of seed, fertilizer, nutrients, pesticides and labor costs. Also calculate post harvesting cost like storage, bagging, etc. Fix your sunflower farming budget. Contact with the potential buyer of sunflower seed in your locality. Determine the best one whom you will supply the sunflower seed.
Ideal Soil for Sunflower Farming
Soil characteristics are particularly important for sunflower production and seed yields. Sunflowers are best adapted to moderate- to well-drained soil types, such as loams and “sandy” soils. Whereas sunflowers can be grown on other soil types, their growth rates and seed yields on less suitable soils are often less than when grown on ideal soils. Also, sunflowers do not tolerate prolonged wet conditions and should not be planted on low-lying flood-prone sites
Fix the Seed variety you want to grow
The most important factor in sunflower farming is the selection of the right sunflower hybrid seed because the final income is dependent on both grain and oil yields. You will need to choose a hybrid variety of seed that will give a high yield. So many brands are available in the market for oilseed production. You will need to select one which is high yielding hybrids with high oil percentage and has the tolerance to biotic & abiotic stresses.
Gather supplies for Sunflower Farming
Other than seed you will need to concentrate on fertilizer and nutrients – micro and secondary. Soil tests make it possible to classify the soil’s ability to supply nutrients as very low (VL), low (L), medium (M), high (H) or very high (VH). Fertilizer recommendations are based on the level of available nutrients and a realistic yield goal. Better yields in sunflower farming can only be realized by applying the recommended dosage of fertilizers. Application of phosphorus, potash, and micronutrients like sulphur and boron is important in sunflower farming.
Pest and Disease Management in Sunflower Farming
Recommended preventive measures provide protection to some of the common pests and diseases in sunflower farming. Preventive sprays of pesticides before the first 50 days prevent attack by Heliothes and infestation of Alternaria. You can also prevent some viral diseases by sowing the crop after July and by controlling sucking pests with a timely spray of systematic insecticide in the first 40 days. It is also important to follow the recommendation of local agricultural universities regarding pest and disease management in sunflower farming.
Harvesting in Sunflower Farming
Timely harvesting is important to avoid having a loss to late seasons diseases. Harvesting sunflower may sometimes be viewed as a delicate balancing act. Harvest too early and you’ll end up with an immature, high-moisture crop, predisposed to diminished yield, lower quality and the likelihood of additional grain drying expenses. Harvest too late, and you’ll expose the crop to weathering that degrades seed quality and lowers economic value, as well as seed yield losses from lodging, shattering and pests.
Post Harvesting Storage and Selling
Consider cleaning sunflower before putting it in storage to maintain quality. Dry sunflower seeds before storage if it is harvested wetter than 10%. Monitor the moisture and temperature of seed in storage. Supply the seeds in fresh condition to the buyer. Sunflower seed also has an export opportunity. You can also consider to get registered with Indian Oilseeds and Produce Export Promotion Council.
For further reading on sunflower farming, you can consider buying the book Factors Contributing to Adoption of Sunflower Farming Innovations