Sunflower is a major source of vegetable oil in the world. Sunflower requires a cool climate during the germination and seedling growth. It requires warm weather from the seedling stage up to flowering stage and warm sunny days during flower to maturity. Sunflower Farm can be developed in a wide range of soils and tolerates a moderate pH range and some salinity. It thrives best on deep loam soils with good drainage and irrigation facilities. The optimum range of soil pH for this crop is 6.5-8.5. Sunflower seeds contain 48 to 53% edible oil. Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra account for major share of Sunflower Production in India. Sunflower should be harvested when the plant attains physiological maturity i.e. when the back of the head turns from green to lemon yellow colour and the bottom leaves starts drying and withering. The oil must be extracted within 90 days of harvesting otherwise it becomes bitter in taste especially when stored under damp conditions. Sunflower is a drought tolerant crop due to its deep tap root therefore it is the best substitute to all rainfed commercial crops. Ideal land for sunflower planting is loose enough for water to drain, but compact enough to hold the plant stalks against the wind.
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