Sunflower is grown almost all over the world. His homeland is North America. In Russia, sunflower settled thanks to Peter I. Industrial production of sunflower oil began only in the first half of the 19th century. In addition to sunflower oil, margarine, soap, halva are made, and sunflower seeds are a favorite delicacy of many of our compatriots. In addition, rubber and fuel briquettes are produced from sunflower.
Sunflower grows well on chernozem in an arid climate. The leaders in the cultivation of sunflower in the world are Russia, Ukraine, Argentina and Turkey. The main producers of sunflower in Russia are the Southern, Central and Volga districts. Ideal climatic conditions for this plant exist in the Rostov region, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories. The area under sunflower is steadily increasing, and, according to the calculations of the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia, by 2020 at least 7.5 million hectares will be occupied by sunflower.
Sunflower cultivation is a profitable business, it is the most profitable oilseed in our country. A sunflower crop per hectare can reach up to 20 centners, but in Russia these indicators are lower, since crop rotation and agricultural rules for growing this crop are not respected.
A feature of growing sunflower is its unusually high demand for organic and mineral fertilizers. In its former place, it can be sown only after 6-8 years (although individual hybrids can be returned as early as 4-5 years), otherwise the land will quickly become unsuitable for agriculture, which is happening in some regions of the country due to the dishonest attitude of agronomists.
It is better to use hybrids as seed, because they ripen at the same time and have approximately the same size. The growing season of sunflower lasts from 100 to 120 days, according to the ripening period, 4 groups of hybrids are distinguished: early ripening, mid-early, mid-ripening and mid-late.
The sowing rate per hectare is 60, 000 seeds. Seed quality is easy to determine by weight: 1000 seeds should weigh at least 50 grams. The cost of sunflower seeds is from 180 to 250 rubles per kilogram.
The best predecessors of sunflower - silage corn, grain, castor oil. Do not sow after perennial herbs and sugar beets, as they deplete the soil. Soil preparation should begin in the fall: disking and plowing. Harrowing is done in early spring, and then pre-sowing cultivation. To ensure minimal damage to plants during subsequent harrowing, it is necessary to level the surface of the field before planting.
Sunflower can be sown when the temperature reaches 10-12 degrees at a depth of 8-10 cm. Under these conditions, the seeds will germinate quickly and simultaneously. Early sowing leads to a partial loss of germination and long germination.
The density of sowing depends on the climate and variety. For example, in a semi-arid steppe, the norm of adult plants per hectare is 35-45 thousand plants, and in the forest-steppe and steppe regions with high humidity - 40-50 thousand. The standing density of the early hybrid can be increased to 55-60 thousand plants per hectare.
In the calculations, the following amendments should be made: field germination 10-15% lower than laboratory; death of plants during harrowing is 8-10%; natural waste of plants - up to 5%. In this regard, when sowing, the number of seeds is increased by 15-25% if the weeds are planned to be destroyed by harrowing, and by 10-15% if the use of herbicides is planned.
Thus, on one hectare, on average, as we already noted above, 60 thousand sunflower seeds (4-6 kg) are sown.
Sowing should be carried out within one to two days to the optimum depth, this will ensure simultaneous emergence and minimal damage during harrowing. For sowing, 2-5 people, a tractor, a seeder and a truck for transporting seeds and fertilizers are involved.
Sunflower should receive 4-4.5 kg of nitrogen per centner of marketable products. In case of excess or lack of fertilizer, crop losses cannot be avoided.
Rowing should be done regularly throughout the entire period of sunflower growth in order to control weeds. When using herbicides, a single treatment is enough when the plants reach a height of 30-40 cm.
The main sunflower disease is verticillosis. Losses in the defeat of this disease can reach 50%. To avoid damage, crop rotation should be observed and seeds treated with fungicides should be used.
The increase in sunflower yield by 4-5 kg / ha and the quality of seeds contributes to the cultivation of sunflower under irrigation. But it must be borne in mind that irrigation will also lead to a significant increase in the number of weeds, and therefore additional treatment with herbicides will be required.
You can start harvesting when 12-15% of plants with yellow and yellow-brown baskets remain on the field, and the rest are brown and dry. The cleaning period should last no more than a week.
When harvesting, crop losses cannot be avoided; their important task is to minimize them. Under production conditions, you can lose up to 3 centners of crop per hectare. To reduce losses, you need to start and finish cleaning on time, in favorable weather conditions. Harvesting of sunflower at a moisture content of 18-20% contributes to the reduction of losses, this allows you to win up to 1.5 kg / ha. The collected heap must be dried immediately to 12% moisture.
Losses behind the combine should not exceed 3%. Usually every 2 hours during cleaning the equipment is stopped and quality control of the cleaning is carried out. The harvester performs shearing, threshing, separation, grain cleaning and grain accumulation in the hopper, as well as subsequent unloading into vehicles.
The profitability of growing sunflower is the higher, the larger the area occupied by the crop. When sowing an area of at least 100 hectares, the cost of growing one hectare will be about 3-3.5 thousand rubles, depending on the size of the rent, favorable weather conditions, absence or presence of diseases. Profit per hectare with a crop of 20 centners will be about 6 thousand rubles.