× Home News KTN Farmers TV Smart Harvest Farmpedia Value Chain Series Mkulima Expo 2021 Poultry Webinar Agri-directory Digital News Videos Health & Science Lifestyle Opinion Education Columnists Moi Cabinets Arts & Culture Fact Check Podcasts E-Paper Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman Eve Woman Euro2020 TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified Jobs Games Crosswords Sudoku The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS
LOGIN ×
BTV
VAS
DCX
RMS
FARMKENYA

Home / Crop

How to grow and reap from sunflower

Sunflower mature within three to four months depending on the variety. Photo: Alex Wachira, Standard at Simlaw seeds by Kenya Seeds Company.

Sunflowers grow faster than other cash crops and give higher yields.

They give end products like sunflower oil when processed in value addition.

Sunflower oil is one of the major edible vegetable oil used to cook.

The oil is also used as a major component in the manufacture of animal feeds such as sunflower cake, soaps, and cosmetics.

According to kalro.org sunflower grows well where maize and beans are grown.

Sunflower farming is not labour intensive thus easy to practice.

Planting

It thrives well in areas with sparse rainfall and soil should be slightly acidic.

The crop requires 450 mm of rainfall.

Sunflower varieties grown in Kenya according to kalro.org include H-008, H-893, H894, H-8938, H-8998, H-001, H-898, KENSUN 22, KENSUN 33, SUPER 400k, KENYA FEDHA, KENYA SHABA, and REKORD.

Before planting the soil is tilled into a fine tilth.

Sunflower is planted from seeds in which a farmer plants three to five seeds per hole.

It does well in deep fertile and well-drained soils with a PH of 6.0 to 7.5.

The distance between rows is 21/2 feet and the distance between the plant, holes are one foot.

It is recommended to plant after the onset of rains notes kalro.org

A farmer should practice farm practices like adding farmyard manure which is mixed properly with the soil to add soil fertility.

The farmer should practice weeding to keep off weeds manually or by using herbicides.

Pests and Diseases

Common pests that attack sunflower as highlighted by kalro.org include cutworms, semi loopers, and African bollworms that are controlled using the appropriate pesticides.

Birds also are known to attack sunflower eating seeds and causing big loses and can be controlled using bird scaring devices like scarecrows.

Diseases that invade sunflower according to kalro.org include sunflower rust, Downey mildew, charcoal rot, sclerotinia wilt and are controlled by practicing crop rotation, using certified seeds, burning infected plants, and applying appropriate fungicides.

Harvesting

Sunflower mature within three to four months depending on the variety.

Harvesting is done when the heads turn yellow or brown at the back, by hand through cutting the head, spiking it upside down on the stalk or thresh and sun-drying which prevents rotting and birds damage.

A farmer is advised by kalro.org experts to not wait until the leaves dry up to reduce bird damage.

The seeds must be properly dried and cleaned thoroughly before value-adding by milling which removes the husks and as a thick paste put in an oil extractor which does final extraction by crushing the seeds letting the oil seeps through taps.

Sunflower oil fetches more in the market as it is considered cleaner and healthier according to media reports.

Sunflower oil is rich in Vitamin E and low in saturated fat, unlike other cooking oils.


Want to get latest farming tips and videos?
Join Us
Share this story
.
RECOMMENDED NEWS
.
LATEST JOB OPPORTUNITIES ON STANDARDJOBS
.
OUR PARTNERS
×

Stay Ahead!

Access premium content only available
to our subscribers.

Support independent journalism