How to sow Sunflower?

Sunflower spacing, seeding rate, plants density per hectare / acre, sowing (planting) unit of sunflower and sunflower spacing for optimal yield!

These questions are answered by a sunflower expert, author of Sunflower Book
PhD in Agriculture
Dr. Oleksii Orlov

In this photo was made in time of our survey of oil sunflower fields in Ukraine. Ukraine now it is country that leads by sunflower growing efficiency and sunflower yield per acre in World! Sunflower give excellent yield only in case of good sowing and sunflower seeds spacing in row and also in case of good care from seeds to harvest!
Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov 

The main condition for obtaining high sunflower yields is the observance of the density of plants that standing in field before harvesting. It is right for all varieties that recommended by sunflower breeding companies - originators.

The density for each type of sunflower variety is different.

In addition, different sunflower varieties react differently to growing of plants density or changes in the seeding rate, since they have a different genetic nature, and react differently to environmental conditions.

Sunflower is very sensitive to mistakes in time of sowing!

Bed sowing and not right sunflower seeds spacing as it photo will be significant reducing of yield! Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov 

In the photo is a good distribution of seeds in a row, such a sowing of sunflower will give a high yield! Good sunflower seeds spacing it is sufficient additional yield! Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov 

To get a good and profitable yield of sunflower, you need good sowing and to regularly survey the fields and correctly apply pesticides and agrochemistry and fertilizers. And not only it... 

Contact us for advising for excellent sunflower yield!

Sunflower is a crop that significantly reduces yield with an uneven distribution of seeds across the field and with an increase in plant density!

Typical sunflower spacing is 70 cm (27,6 in) between rows and 20 cm (7,9 in) between plants/ seeds in row. For drought conditions this destination is more - 25-40 cm (9,8-15,7 in) depends of climate conditions.

The effect of placing seeds in a row for the yield of sunflower. If the seeds in the row are not evenly distributed, yield will decreases. Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov 

In most cases, the seed rate of sunflower crop is: 40-80 thousand seeds / ha (16,2-32,4 thousand seeds per acre).

Seeding rate for sunflower depending from:

  • Type of variety
  • Soil and the climatic zone
  • Using technology of growing
  • Quality and germination energy of seeds
  • From other factors and conditions

For good conditions typical sunflower spacing is 20 cm (7,9 in) between plants/ seeds in row. This photo show good destination between sunflower seeds in row. Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov 

The optimum sunflower density at the time of harvesting, depending of the type of variety and soil and the growing zone, should be within 35-60 thousand plants / ha.

The procedure for calculating the density of sunflower plants per hectare is as follows: 

  • Let us calculate, for example, the plants density at the most widespread row spacing of 70 cm (0,7 m) when sowing sunflower seeds
  • Calculate the number of running meters
  • 10,000 m2 (1 ha) / 0,7 m (row spacing) = 14,286 m (i.e. about 14,28 thousand linear meters)
  • To determine the density of plant standing, we calculate the number of plants in a regular row on a destination of 14,28 m. This number of plants corresponds to the number of thousands of plants per hectare
  • For example if will be 60 plants at this destination - in this case sunflower density will be 60 thousands plants per hectare
  • By this type it possible calculate and sunflower density per acre

It must be borne in mind that under field conditions, field germination of sunflower seeds is 10-25% lower than laboratory germination.

Approximately 3-15% of plants die during seedling harrowing, and up to 2-15% during inter-row cultivation or Side Dressing.

Therefore, when sowing, the premium to the recommended seeding rate can be up to 5-40%. Number depends from conditions of field and technology.

Using modern equipment and technologies makes it possible to reduce the cost of sunflower seeds and increase the survival of sunflower plants!

Sunflower Seeding Record Results in Bulgaria. Was using of 12-row planter Vaderstad Tempo, which works in conjunction with a tractor Case IH Magnum 340, crop 3060 acres of sunflowers. But for farmer need optimal speed - optimal speed of planter it good results of yield! 

Video source Titan Machinery Bulgaria

It is recommended to buy seeds only from suppliers that have a good reputation - from official distributors of companies - originators of sunflower varieties. This is the best way to get of quality and good seeds.

And ask your supplier about one fraction of sunflower seeds - it give about 10-20% plus to sunflower yield level. Good sunflower seeds caliber in is significant additional yield! All sunflower seeds in bag must be the same size / same fraction!

Upon receipt of seeds, it is advisable to check in advance, before sowing, the correctness of the indicators of laboratory germination indicated on the labels. For these purposes, test seed germination is carried out in order to determine germination and germination energy.

The following method is used to determine germination and germination energy of sunflower seeds.

Sunflower seeds are germinated in the dark at a temperature of 20-30°C.

Need to take four batches of one hundred seeds, four seed trays with lids (you can cover them with appropriate glass or plastic) and filter paper.

The paper is placed in trays and moistened with water, then the seeds of each batch are carefully laid out on it (100 pcs. in each tray).

From above, the seeds are covered with several more layers of filter paper (water should only wet the paper, but not cover the seeds).

The remaining water is carefully drained. The paper should be wet throughout the germination period.

Germination energy is calculated on the third day.

Germination is counted on the fifth to eighth day.

We count the number of normally germinated seeds in each batch, summarize this number and divide by 4. For example, in the first batch 95 seeds germinated, in the second - 97, in the third - 94, in the fourth - 92. We calculate the germination:
(95 + 97 + 94+ 92) / 4 = 94.5%

If before germination, the last yield seeds will be warmed up at 30 ° C for ten days - it will be more good germination. 

In this photo - good germination of sunflower seeds in field. And also it possible to see the excellent sunflower seeds spacing (in cm) as was using a good planter. Good placement sunflower seeds in row. Need using good calibrated seeds and good planter. This sunflower field located in climatic and soil zone that optimal for sunflower growing. At this field sunflower spacing is 21 cm (8,2 in) between plants / seeds in row. In drought conditions the destination between sunflower seeds will be more. Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov 

In time of sowing sunflower it also recommended to keep and store:

  • Seed documents
  • Seed container / bag / package
  • A small sample of seeds from each batch of purchased seeds until the next season
  • Draw up sowing acts for each field

If it turns out that the seeds are substandard or uneven development of the plants and splitting are observed in the field, then it will be possible to make a complaint to the supplier.

What is sowing rate for sunflower?

When sowing in arid conditions, the seeding rate is reduced. Sowing rate depends from variety and conditions of growing:

  • In many cases sowing rate of sunflower is 24,3 thousand seeds per acre or 60 thousand seeds per hectare
  •  40-80 thousand seeds / ha (16,2-32,4 thousand seeds per acre) are sown in the Steppe / temperate climate prairies   zone
  • In the Forest-Steppe and under irrigation conditions - 80-100 thousand seeds / ha (32,4-40,5 thousand seeds per acre)
  • Early maturity and some sunflower varieties that have not a high grows (less than 1,5 m) are also sown at a higher rate - up to 80 thousand seeds / ha (up to 32,4 thousand seeds per acre)
  • When sowing sunflower in arid conditions, the sowing rate of sunflower seeds is reduced - up to 25-40 thousand / ha (10-16,1 thousand seeds per acre), depending on local conditions

Determination of sunflower plants density, depending on soil and climatic conditions

What is a sowing / planting unit of sunflower?

Most breeding companies - originators of seeds offer seeds that have already been pickled and packaged in bags per sowing units (s.u.) / planting units (p.u.).

One sowing unit of sunflower seeds it is a 150 thousand seeds; it is calculated on average at 2,5 hectares (with a sowing rate of 60 thousand seeds / ha).

In the photo - independent audits and monitoring of sunflower fields allow to determine the real situation, i.e., you can identify what is in reality - it is possible to effective monitor of situation with your investments, and business.
Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov 

© All rights reserved. Copyright protection and site rules
© Agricultural Consulting Service. Technical audit of agribusiness. Agricultural business projects and agricultural companies turnkey. Agribusiness consulting. Increasing the profitability of the agricultural business, obtaining additional profits

© Copyright - Agricultural Consulting Service. All Rights Reserved.