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Pub 811: Agronomy Guide> Other Crops

Order OMAFRA Publication 811: Agronomy Guide for Field Crops

Table of Contents

Buckwheat

Buckwheat is a fast-growing summer annual with broad, heart-shaped leaves and white flowers. It takes approximately 10-12 weeks from planting to harvest. Buckwheat is frost sensitive and is usually planted later than other field crops.

Buckwheat is used for human consumption, as an ingredient in livestock feeds and as a source for buckwheat honey. It is also commonly used as a cover crop for weed suppression and green manure see Cover Crops. The grain of buckwheat has an amino acid composition that includes lysine and thus provides a more complete protein compared to other cereals.

The most lucrative market is for the export of quality, large-seeded buckwheat to the Pacific-Rim countries, particularly Japan.

Tillage Options and Seedbed Preparation

Frequently, buckwheat is planted in abandoned fields, old pastures or other land that has been neglected for years. When preparing the seedbed, aim for effective weed control, conservation of moisture and a firm seedbed. If the field was plowed in the fall, disk the soil in early spring, then disk or cultivate it approximately 2 weeks later to kill weeds. Repeat this sequence until seeding time.

Spring plowing is also an option, however, be sure to plow as shallow as possible. To improve the soil condition and destroy weeds, work the soil every 7-10 days until seeding time. Shallow tillage minimizes new weeds coming to the surface and conserves moisture. Harrowing should leave the field ready for seeding.

If a hay or pasture is plowed in late-June or early-July, buckwheat can follow and be used as a cover crop to control weeds or to act as a green manure.

Field Selection

Buckwheat grows best on light-to-medium-textured soils but will grow on a wide range of soil types, producing a better crop on poor soil than any other grain. Buckwheat prefers well-drained soils with a pH of 5.0 to 7.0. It is intolerant of severely dry, saturated or compacted soils.

Buckwheat is adapted to a cool, moist climate but will also grow well during warm weather. It is sensitive to high temperatures and hot, dry winds. If these conditions occur during flowering, seed-set and yield will be reduced. Buckwheat is susceptible to late-spring and early-fall frosts and requires 10-12 weeks to reach maturity.

When growing buckwheat for seed, avoid planting in fields where other grains were previously grown, in order to reduce volunteer grain. This problem can be overcome by tilling in the fall and planting a winter cover crop that is incorporated in the spring before planting the buckwheat.

Weed control options in buckwheat are limited, so best yields will be obtained from clean, weed-free fields.

Avoid fields that contain very high levels of nitrogen, since this can cause crop lodging. Often the lush growth associated with fields high in nitrogen has led to a higher incidence of white mould. White mould is a problem in soybeans, canola, sunflowers and buckwheat. If possible, avoid fields where white mould has been a problem.

Variety Selection

If the crop is being grown for export markets, variety selection becomes important. The Japanese, North American and European markets demand large-seeded varieties for milling and de-hulling purposes. Mancan is one popular variety that has a thick stem and medium height characteristics, which makes it more resistant to lodging.

New varieties tend to have larger seed size, along with increased bushel weight. These large-seeded varieties have larger leaves and, as a result, do not require higher seeding rates than the smaller-seeded types.

For seed sources, see Cover Crop Seed Suppliers on the OMAFRA website.

Planting

Buckwheat will germinate at temperatures anywhere between 7°C and 40.5°C, so the planting date can be any time after the risk of frost has passed.

Yields are highest if buckwheat is planted immediately after the risk of frost has passed. Where possible, try to avoid flowering in the very hot weather of mid-summer. Early plantings help minimize volunteer problems the following year. However, in cold springs, some have experienced more weed problems with early plantings. In a cold spring, planting should be delayed until conditions are morefavourable for crop emergence.

Traditionally, buckwheat was planted in mid-summer and often combined after frost. Although this method avoids flowering during hot weather, dropped seed reduces yield and poses a severe volunteer problem for the following crops.

Planting seeds with a grain drill will produce a more even stand, but satisfactory results can also be obtained with broadcast seeding. Plant seeds at a depth of 4-6 cm (1 1/2-2 1/2 in.), into moist soils. Place seed only deep enough to reach consistently moist soil, to obtain rapid and uniform emergence. Seedlings should emerge in 2-5 days.

Recommended seeding rates for seed production are 50-65 kg/ha (45-60 lb/acre), which is equivalent to 1-1.25 bu/acre. This will achieve the ideal plant stand of 140-183 plants/m2 (13-17 plants/ft2).

When planting buckwheat for a green manure crop, the optimum seeding rate ranges from 54-108 kg/ha (1-2 bu/acre). Higher seeding rates result in higher plant populations, producing a smothering effect for weed control. However, even if the stand is thin, the plant's ability to branch out will often compensate for the thinner stand and will still result in good weed control. When using the higher seeding rate, divide the seed in half and cross-plant the field with the grain drill. This appears to give better spacing of plants with fewer tall, thin stems and subsequent lodging problems.

Flowering begins 5-6 weeks after sowing and continues for at least 1 month. There are three flower sets with buckwheat. Insects, honeybees and leafcutter bees are the main pollinating agents and are essential for good seed set. An arrangement with an apiarist will be of mutual benefit.

As a Green Manure

Buckwheat has the reputation of using phosphate unavailable to other crops, thereby increasing the amount of phosphorus available to following crops. To take advantage of its large biomass, buckwheat is incorporated between 4 and 7 weeks after planting, before the first seeds have set. It is disked down at 10% bloom and left on the surface for a few days to dry. When plants start to crinkle when stepped on, it is time to disk them into the soil. If the field is left until full bloom, there is more likelihood of volunteer problems the following year. A second or even third planting may be possible in long growing seasons.

Fertility Management

Fertility requirements for buckwheat are similar to oat. Table 7-1, Nitrogen Requirements for Buckwheat, and Table 7-2, Phosphate and Potash Recommendations for Buckwheat and Flax Based on OMAFRA-Accredited Soil Tests, display the recommended rates of nitrogen, phosphate and potash based on OMAFRA-accredited soil tests.

Table 7-1. Nitrogen Requirements for Buckwheat
Growing Region Maximum Rate of Nitrogen
for Buckwheat (kg/ha)
Southern Ontario
35
Northern Ontario
55

Caution: Buckwheat is prone to lodging with high soil nitrogen.


Harvest and Storage

Harvest

Buckwheat is an indeterminate plant. Flowers, green seed and mature seed are present on the plant at the same time. Harvest must occur prior to the development of overripe seed. This will be approximately 10 weeks after planting. At this time, the crop is still growing and flowering. However 70%-75% of the seeds should be brown and mature and not yet dropping from the bottom of the bloom spike. If harvest is delayed until the seeds nearest the ground begin to fall, yields will be decreased due to seed dropping, and the volunteer population will cause problems for the next crop. Yields will vary depending on pollination and weather conditions. Yields of 2.2 t/ha (40 bu/acre) are possible, but 1.1-1.6 t/ha (20-30 bu/acre) are more commonly reported.

Desiccation weakens the stem and causes lodging. Do not desiccate buckwheat. Swathing should be done before combining if the crop has not been killed by frost. Swathing is best done early in the morning when the dew is present or in damp weather to help minimize losses due to shattered seed. Cut the buckwheat, leaving a high stubble to facilitate drying. Leave it to dry until moisture in the seed head reaches 16%.

When combining, reduce the pick-up speed to match the ground speed to minimize shattering. The draper-type of pick-up causes less shattering than the drum-type. To minimize breakage, reduce the cylinder speed to one-third (600-800 rpm) of that used for cereal grains and set the concaves to approximately 13-16 cm (51/4-61/2 in.) in the front and 9 mm (3/8 in.) in the rear. The upper sieve is set at 16 mm (5/8 in.) and the lower sieve at 8 mm (5/16 in.). If seed is dehulling, increase the concave size or lower the cylinder speed. The lower sieve can then be opened gradually to the setting that does not allow excess foreign material to pass through. Check that the wind blast is strong enough to remove the maximum amount of trash without blowing out clean grain.

Storage

A moisture content of less than 16% is needed for safe storage. The Japanese market buys only freshly harvested buckwheat, so do not store seed to sell the following year and do not mix old and new crops. It is easy to detect the difference between previously stored and newly harvested buckwheat by the colour of the grain just under the hull. Old seed oxidizes, and the light green layer just under the hull in new seed gradually changes to reddish-brown during storage.

Livestock Feed

Buckwheat grain can be used for livestock feed on a limited inclusion in the ration. Buckwheat grain can be up to one-third of the grain concentrate portion of the beef or dairy ration. More recent swine feeding research with newer varieties of buckwheat found that the overall performance of growing-finishing pigs was comparable to pigs fed cereal grains. However, the price of buckwheat makes this less economical compared to feeding cereals.


Caution: Feeding buckwheat fodder, whether fresh or dried, can have toxic effects. The primary effect is a photosensitization in animals with light-coloured skin (this includes cattle, goats, sheep, swine and turkey) exposed to the sun. Jaundice is a secondary toxic effect.


Weed Control

Weed control in buckwheat can be difficult and requires planning, since there are few herbicides available, particularly for broadleaf weed control. Since buckwheat is sown late, there is ample opportunity to control problem weeds with herbicides or cultivation before seeding. Do not use residual herbicides (i.e., residues from the triazine, sulfonylurea and trifluralin herbicides) before seeding.

Insects and Diseases

Buckwheat seldom has insect or disease concerns.

Flax

Flaxseed has many uses. Its major use has traditionally been in oil-based paints and other protective coatings but it is also used in such things as linoleum, printer's ink, soaps, putty, industrial lubricant and as a salt-resistant coating for concrete highways and sidewalks. Flaxseed contains 35%-40% linseed oil. After oil extraction, the remaining linseed meal is used as a livestock protein supplement, averaging approximately 35% protein content. The addition of flax or flax byproducts in a variety of foods has diversified this market.

In recent years, the acreage of flax grown for oilseed markets has been quite limited in Ontario due to a lack of local crushing facilities. In the early 1950s, Ontario grew over 30,000 ha (74,100 acres) of flax but this has been reduced to less than 1,000 ha (2,470 acres) during the last decade. More recent promotion of the health benefits of flaxseed and of potential export markets for fibre flax may allow for a resurgence of this crop in Ontario in some areas. More information on this crop in Canada is available from the Flax Council of Canada.

Unless otherwise stated, the recommendations given here refer to oilseed-type flax. Recommendations for fibre flax may be different, and more research may be needed for that crop.

Tillage

Conventional tillage is preferred. In most cases, this has been fall primary tillage followed by early spring tillage and planting. Secondary tillage should be shallow to set up a firm level seedbed. Packing either before or after planting is recommended. Crop success to date has been better where surface crop residues are low. Some growers have experimented with no-till planting with some success. Use rotations similar to those for cereals or legume forages.

Variety Selection

Variety selection will be different for oilseed markets than for fibre purposes. Until now, oilseed varieties have been the only commercially produced flax grown in Canada. Oilseed varieties are grown specifically for the oil extracted from the seed.

Solin is a new oilseed developed from flax using advanced crop-breeding techniques. Solin oil contains less than 5% linolenic acid (compared to the more than 50% contained in flaxseed oil), producing a light oil suitable for cooking. Canadian Grain Commission Standards specify that Solin varieties must have a yellow seedcoat.

Currently there are no organized flax variety trials in Ontario, however flax and Solin variety-trial results from Western Canada are available from the Flax Council of Canada.

Planting

Flax is planted using similar equipment to cereals, in narrow rows (15-20 cm or 6-8 in. apart). Using a grain drill usually results in a more even seeding depth and plant emergence than broadcast seeding. Seed to a maximum depth of 2.5 cm (1 in.), as there will typically be more than enough soil moisture to stimulate germination in the spring. Deep seeding can significantly delay emergence, particularly during cool, wet springs. Optimum seeding rates are 35-50 kg/ha (31-45 lb/acre). Seeding rates higher than 50 kg/ha (45 lb/acre), along with high nitrogen rates, can lead to excessive lodging, making harvest difficult.

Sow as early as possible in the spring on a dry, firm seedbed. Early planting results in higher yields and makes the crop easier to harvest. Well-drained loam, silt loam or clay loam soils are preferred. Performance has been found to be poorer on sandy soils due to a limited root system that is susceptible to moisture stress during dry conditions because of a relatively short taproot. Generally, seedlings can withstand moderate frost.

Crop Development

Flax is an annual plant with a short taproot from which fibrous roots grow to depths of approximately 1.2 m (4 ft) in light soil. The height of the crop varies from 45-91 cm (18-36 in.), depending on growing conditions. In thick stands, only a main stem develops but in thin stands four or more tillers can be produced. Flowers may be white, blue, pink or violet, depending on variety. Flowers open late in the morning and drop by early afternoon. Flax flowers for 3 weeks or more if sufficient nutrients are present. Its flowers can self-pollinate, but insects can cross-pollinate between varieties. A seed capsule produces up to 10 seeds ranging in colour between reddish or deep brown to smoky yellow. The seed has mucilaginous material, giving it a sticky texture when wet.

Fertility Management

Flax recommendations for nitrogen are the same as for mixed grain (45 kg/ha or 40 lb/acre in Southern Ontario and 70 kg/ha or 62 lb/acre in Northern Ontario). Excessive nitrogen will make the crop lodge. A soil test is the best method of determining fertilizer requirements. See Table 7-2, Phosphate and Potash Recommendations for Buckwheat and Flax Based on OMAFRA-Accredited Soil Tests, Flaxseed is susceptible to fertilizer burn, so all fertilizer should be broadcast.

Harvesting and Storage

Table 7-2. Phosphate and Potash Recommendations
for Buckwheat and Flax Based on OMAFRA-Accredited Soil Tests
Sodium Bicarbonate
Phosphorus Soil Test
(ppm)
Rating1 Phosphate (P2O5)2
Required
(kg/ha)
Ammonium Acetate
Potassium Soil Test
(ppm)
Rating1 Potash (K2O)2
Required
(kg/ha)
0-3
HR
70
0-15
HR
70
4-5
60
16-30
50
6-7
50
31-45
40
8-9
30
46-60
30
10-12
MR
20
61-80
MR
20
13-15
20
81-100
20
16-30
LR
0
101-120
LR
0
31-60
RR
0
121-250
RR
0
61+
NR2
0
251+
NR2
0
100 kg/ha = 90 lb/acre

1 HR, MR, LR, RR and NR denote, respectively, high, medium, low, rare and no probabilities of profitable crop response to applied nutrients. Profitable response to applied nutrients occurs when the increase in crop value, from increased yield or quality, is greater than the cost of the applied nutrient.

2 No expected agronomic response from additional application of nutrients. Ratings of "NR" may result in reduced yield or affect nutrient balance in crops. For example, additional phosphorus application to a soil >60 ppm phosphorus could induce a zinc deficiency on soils low in zinc and might also increase the risk of phosphorus movement to surface water, while additional potash application to a field already >250 ppm K soil test could induce magnesium deficiency on soils low in magnesium.

When using a summer planting system, wait until 7-10 days after a light fall frost before direct combining. Keep the cut as high as possible and ground speed low to prevent overloading the combine. To reduce breakage, pay attention to the amount of coarse material that is allowed to pass through so that only a minimum of seed enters the return.

Harvest

Flax typically yields about 1,200-2,000 kg/ha (1,100-1,800 lb/acre). Flaxseed can be harvested by either direct combining or by swathing prior to combining. Since flaxseed will continue to produce new vegetation throughout the season, a preharvest dessicant will be needed if the crop is being direct combined. Typically, growers will use glyphosate for this purpose. Consult the product label for specific directions on pre-harvest applications. Swathing, then combining, results in drier seed than direct combining. Swathing should be done when approximately 90% of leaves have fallen off, and the seeds have turned dark brown. Flaxseed doesn't shatter as easily as other grains. Weedy crops should be swathed to allow weeds and straw to dry out before harvest. Leave 15 cm (6 in.) of straw stubble in the field to keep windrows off the ground. Under good drying conditions, the crop can be combined 3-4 days after swathing.

Keep combine and swather cutter bars and guards sharp so as to reduce the accumulation of immature flax straw on the knife. Combine flax when the straw is dry and seeds rattle in the boll. Early-sown flax is easier to thresh than late-sown flax because it has drier conditions to dry in before being harvested. Batt reels should be used when direct combining, because the pick-up reels cause problems with wrapping.

The general recommendation for combine adjustment is to close up the clearance between the cylinders and concave to about half that of cereal grains and slow down the cylinder. Fan speed settings should be fairly low as seed is easily blown out the back of the combine. A clean-looking sample in the bin is an indication that too much seed is being blown out. It is not unusual to have dockage levels of 5%-10%. Be sure to plug any holes in the grain tank, augers and elevators, because flax seed is extremely slippery and will flow through small holes.

Storage

Flax is not normally stored on the farm but is shipped immediately after harvest. Optimum moisture is 10.5%. Higher moisture percentages will incur a drying and shrinkage charge. Proper storage is critical, since flax can spoil quickly. Storage bins must have all holes repaired, because flax can leak through very small openings. Remove green weeds and weed seeds to reduce the amount of dockage.

Straw Removal

Oilseed varieties of flax straw are not suitable for linen production because of the short fibres in the stem. The flax straw is slow to rot in the soil and is usually a problem for tillage operations following harvest or in the following crop season. Make every effort to find a use for the straw so that it can be taken off the field. Flax straw is sometimes used in feedlots as bedding. The straw has also been used as a heat fuel source when burned in large furnaces.

Weed Control

Flax is a poor competitor with weeds. Flax does not form a dense canopy to shade the ground, so weeds have a chance to establish. Plant flax in relatively weed-free fields whenever possible. Do not plant flax in fields with tremendous perennial and "problem" weeds, as herbicide options to control such species are limited.

For herbicide options and recommendations, see OMAFRA Publication 75, Guide to Weed Control.

Insects and Diseases

Insects and diseases are typically not a concern in flax production.

Sunflower

Sunflowers have been grown in Ontario for several decades. The main market for Ontario sunflowers has been the birdseed and confectionery markets. Both black seeded and striped sunflower seeds are sold into the birdseed markets. There are no sunflower oilseed crushing markets in Ontario. Acreage in Ontario has varied from 500-1,000 ha (1,235-2,470 acres) per year during the past 10 years.

Tillage

Sunflowers require a firm, moist seedbed that is weed free. Conventional tillage is usually preferred over no-till, as the tillage is beneficial to control weeds.

The best crop performance is usually on medium-textured soils that are naturally well drained: loam, silty loam or silty clay loam. Sunflowers can also grow well on sandy soils, but yield will be reduced under moisture stress during dry conditions. Avoid poorly drained soils as they will delay planting, slow the rate of growth and cause a higher risk of disease.

Table 7-3. Phosphate and Potash Recommendations for Sunflowers Based on OMAFRA-Accredited Soil Tests
Sodium Bicarbonate
Phosphorus Soil Test
(ppm)
Rating1 Phosphate (P2O5)2
Required
(kg/ha)
Ammonium Acetate
PotassiumSoil Test
(ppm)
Rating1
Potash (K2O)2
Required
(kg/ha)
0-3
HR
 
110
0-15
HR
170
4-5
100
16-30
160
6-7
90
31-45
140
8-9
70
46-60
110
10-12
MR
50
61-80
MR
80
13-15
20
81-100
50
16-30
LR
20
101-120
LR
30
31-60
RR
0
121-250
RR
0
61+
 NR2
0
251+
 NR2
0
100 kg/ha = 90 lb/acre

1 HR, MR, LR, RR and NR denote, respectively, high, medium, low, rare and no probabilities of profitable crop response to applied nutrient. Profitable response to applied nutrients occurs when the increase in crop value, from increased yield or quality, is greater than the cost of the applied nutrient.

2 No expected agronomic response from additional application of nutrients. Ratings of "NR" may result in reduced yield or affect nutrient balance in crops. For example, additional phosphorus application to a soil >60 ppm phosphorus could induce a zinc deficiency on soils low in zinc and might also increase the risk of phosphorus movement to surface water, while additional potash application to a field already >250 ppm K soil test could induce magnesium deficiency on soils low in magnesium.

Variety Selection

There are no sunflower variety trials conducted in Ontario. Variety testing is conducted through the National Sunflower Association of Canada.

Sunflowers can be classified as either oil or confectionery. Oil-type sunflowers have black hulls and can be conventional hybrids, dwarf hybrids, mid-oleic or open pollinated varieties. Dwarf hybrids mature 6-13 days earlier than conventional hybrids. Open pollinated sunflower (Sunola) varieties are shorter and require less heat to mature than normal sunflowers, but they do not have good disease resistance.

Non-oil-type sunflowers have striped hulls and are grown for the human food market. Only the largest of the confection sunflowers are used for human consumption, but these varieties have little tolerance for bird or insect damage.

Hybrids have many advantages over open-pollinated varieties. Hybrids have approximately 20% greater yield, better disease resistance (especially downy mildew, rust and verticillium wilt), a high degree of self-compatibility, which reduces the need for bees to pollinate, and more uniform height and moisture content at harvest.

Sunflowers are tall, broad-leafed, usually single-stemmed plants, with one head per plant. The stem is hairy and becomes fibrous as the plant matures. Plants are heliotropic, which means that the heads face east by morning and west by evening, following the day's sun. They have a deep taproot system, which allows them access to deep water and nutrient supply that is generally unavailable for many other annual crops. As a result, sunflowers can handle dry soil conditions better than most crops.

Planting

Sunflowers are usually planted in early May, similar to corn, and usually bloom in late July. They require approximately 100-120 days to mature. Seedlings are relatively tolerant to frost up to the four-leaf stage. A delay in planting beyond May 15 will increase the risk of frost damage prior to maturity in the fall. When delays in planting are unavoidable, use early-season hybrids/varieties.

Optimum planting depth is 3-5 cm (11/4-2 in.) and not more than 8 cm (31/4 in.), in moist soil. Shallow planting is suited to cold, wet, fine-textured soil. Sunflowers are prone to lodging in heavier soils or where there is heavy rain and wind.

The ideal row width is 60-90 cm (24-36 in.). Use a corn planter with appropriate seed adjustments or a grain drill with some of the runs plugged. Grain drills typically give poorer emergence. The recommended seeding rate is 40,000-60,000 plants/ha (16,000-24,000 plants/acre). Confection sunflowers should not be seeded at a rate greater than 18,000 plants/acre, to help encourage large seed size. Plant 25% more seed than the desired plant population. Narrow row spacing (18-25 cm or 7-10 in.) and solid stands increase the risk of white mould. Less lodging occurs if rows are planted east to west, as sunflower heads face to the east and cause plants to bend toward the east.

Rotation

Do not plant sunflowers in the same field more than once every 4-5 years, due to disease build-up. Canola, dry edible beans, soybeans and buckwheat are all hosts of white mould (Sclerotinia). Monitor rotations with these crops closely or avoid them altogether.

Volunteer sunflowers can also be a problem in some crop rotations. Sunflowers are sensitive to atrazine and other herbicide carryover, such as from some of the sulphonylurea (ALS) herbicides.

Fertility Management

The recommended amount of nitrogen for sunflowers is 90 kg/ha (80 lb/acre). The most efficient use of nitrogen is when most of the nitrogen fertilizer is applied as a side-dress before the plants are 30 cm (12 in.) tall. Test your soil to determine the phosphorous and potash requirements (see Soil Testing, on page 155, and Table 7-3, Phosphate and Potash Recommendations for Sunflowers Based on OMAFRA-Accredited Soil Tests.

Harvest

Typical sunflower yields in Ontario range from 1,500-2,000 kg/ha (1,300-1,800 lb/acre). Plants are ready for harvesting when the back of the heads turn yellow, and bracts around the head are brown, hard and dry. Seeds at this stage have approximately 50% moisture. Harvest is normally in September to mid-October.

In Ontario, if a crop is late maturing, drying will be facilitated by a killing frost. Use of a desiccant is therefore typically not required. However, early frost may reduce yield and oil content. To avoid this, harvest at a higher percentage moisture and dry seeds to reduce shatter loss and exposure to birds. Minimize the period between maturity and harvest to prevent bird damage and head rot.

Sunflowers are harvested with a combine equipped with a small grain head. Most combines are adapted with long seed-gathering pans extending in front of the cutter bar to collect and salvage shattered seed. The reel is typically removed or raised for sunflower harvest. To prevent seed damage, use the slowest cylinder speeds with the largest openings. Reduce air flow to prevent seeds from being blown through the back.

Storage

After harvest, clean seed to remove trash. For proper storage, seed must contain 9.5% moisture or less. Seed at a higher moisture content should be dried immediately after harvest. Sunflowers dry easily in conventional grain dryers. Confection types may wrinkle or be scorched. Allow to cool before storing.


Caution

Dry at a low temperature, because fine hairs and fibres from the seed coat could ignite when put through the drying fan.


In general, bins will hold 70% as much tonnage of sunflower as corn. They can be stored for short periods at up to 12% moistures. Higher moisture or warm seeds may result in spoilage.

Weed Control

Sunflower seedlings suffer from weed competition. If weeds are not controlled early in the season, crop performance is reduced. As sunflowers mature, they become more able to compete with weeds.

The crop can be harrowed before seedling emergence to remove emerging weeds before they become established. A light spring-tooth harrowing can be done when sunflower seedlings are between the four- and six-leaf stage to remove late-emerging weeds. Harrowing is best done under hot, dry conditions to reduce crop damage. Inter-row cultivation is also recommended.

For herbicide recommendations, see OMAFRA Publication 75, Guide to Weed Control.

Insects

Insects are typically not a problem in sunflowers.


Individual descriptions of insects, pests and diseases, scouting and management strategies can be found in Chapter 13, Insects and Pests of Field Crops, and Chapter 14, Diseases of Field Crops.

Recommended treatments to control insects, pests and diseases can be found in OMAFRA Publication 812, Field Crop Protection Guide.


 


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 30 April 2009
Last Reviewed: 30 April 2009