Purdue University

Cooperative Extension Service

West Lafayette, IN 47907

Sunflower Production in Indiana--
Questions and Answers

Marvin L. Swearingin, Department of Agronomy

1. What types of sunflower are grown in the U.S.?

The two basic types of sunflower varieties grown are: 1) the oil seed type and 2) non-oil types, which supply the birdfood and confectionery market.

The oil seed type generally has small black seeds with a thin hull which tends to adhere to the kernel. The seed contains 38 to 50 percent oil and about 20 percent protein. Thus, sun oil is the primary-product and sun meal is a secondary product. Bushel weight of the oil seed type is 28 to 30 pounds. Purchasers and processors usually pay a premium over 40 percent oil and discount seed lots under 40 percent. An analysis for oil content is made of each sale before payment is made.

The non-oil or confectionary types of sunflower has larger seed with a thicker hull that is loosely attached to the kernel and more easily removed. They have a lower oil content and test weight.

2. Where is sunflower produced?

Sunflower is widely grown in the world where the climate is not favorable for soybean production. Russia, Romania, and Argentina are large producers. Sunflower is the most important oil seed crop in Europe and second only to soybean as an oil seed crop worldwide.

In the United States, the crop traditionally has been grown on the northern and western fringes of the Corn Belt where corn and soybeans have not performed well because of either a short growing season or lack of rainfall. The four states, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Texas, account for virtually all the U.S. sunflower production.

Figure 1. Sunflower production has Increased rapidly in the U.S., with 1982 total acreage estimated at 4,724,000 acres. It fits Indiana's soil and climatic conditions, but so far has not been consistently competitive with corn and soybeans. Future profitability will depend largely on the market price of sun oil.

Sunflower has gained in importance in the U.S. oil seed economy in recent years. Total acreage in the four states mentioned was 2.9 million in 1983 and 4.5 million in 1982 (Table 1). These figures do not include the non-oil sunflower production which ranged from 124,000 acres in 1983 to 315,000 acres in 1981 for the four major producing states.

Table 1. Production of Oil Seed Type Sunflower in the Four Major Producing States, 1981-83.

                         Acres planted                   Seed yield
   State         1981       1982        1983        1981       1982       1983
                       thousands of acres                     lb./acre
North Dakota    2,400       3,140      2,200       1,200       1,100      1,040
South Dakota      440         619        470       1,070       1,060      1,010
Minnesota         631         475        230       1,170       1,350      1,100
Texas              25         245         34       1,180       1,200      1,100

U.S.            3,496       4,479      2,934       1,178       1,126      1,041
Source: USDA crop Reporting Service.

Indiana and Ohio each produced around 15,000 - 20,000 acres of commercial sunflower in the late 1970's, but the acreage has since declined. Most of the sunflower grown recently in the more humid areas of the Midwest has been as a double crop after wheat.

The use of sunflower oil as a premium quality vegetable oil has increased rapidly in the U.S. Several new processing plants designed for crushing sunflower have been built in the North Dakota and Minnesota area.

3. Is hybrid sunflower available?

Yes. Hybrid sunflower was made possible by the discovery of cytoplasmic male sterility in 1968 and the restorer gene in 1970. The switch to hybrids was rapid in the `70's. Most sunflower varieties grown now are hybrids.

4. What are the advantages of hybrids?

Hybrids have four principal advantages over open pollinated varieties: 1) they have approximately a 20 percent greater yield potential; 2) they have better disease resistance, especially to rust, downy mildew, and verticillium wilt; 3) they have a high degree of self compatibility which reduces the need for bees for cross pollination; and 4) they are more uniform in height and moisture content at maturity which facilitates harvest.

5. Is sunflower adapted to Indiana soils and climatic conditions?

Yes, there is ample evidence of good agronomic adaptation.

6. Then why haven't we grown sunflower in Indiana?

We actually have had small commercial acreages in the state from time to time. The problem has generally been profitability relative to alternative crops (principally corn and soybeans) and marketing. If we can solve the former, profitability, the markets will develop.

Our last cycle of interest in sunflower production was in 1979-81 when sunflowers were promoted for Indiana production by several seed firms.

7. Is sunflower production profitable in Indiana?

It may be, but the real question is: Is it as profitable as corn and soybeans in a given environment? There is no doubt that sunflower yields have increased more rapidly than corn or soybean yields in the last decade and that the gap in profitability has narrowed. Relative profitability depends largely upon the assumed yield relative to corn and soybeans in a given environment.

The U.S. average sunflower yield in 1983 was 1,041 pounds per acre; the record U.S. average yield has been around 1,350 pounds. In the humid midwest we can do better than this. Considering our inexperience with the crop, however, it's doubtful that we can expect to average more than 1,800 to 2,000 pounds per acre at the outset as a full season crop.

8. What about Purdue yield trials with sunflower?

Several yield trials were conducted around the state during 1979-80 with hybrid sunflower varieties, comparing them to an equal number of soybean varieties in the same environment, both as a full-season crop and as a double crop planted after winter wheat. The results of full-season trials are summarized in Table 2, and of double-crop trials in Table 3. The full-season trials were planted with a conventional tillage system. The double-crop trials were all planted directly into wheat stubble without tillage. The four full-season trials averaged 1,640 pounds per acre. The six double-crop trials averaged 1,114 pounds per acre. These were harvested yields. In addition, most of these trials sustained 10-20 percent bird damage, with the Randolph County trial suffering an estimated 50 percent yield reduction due to bird damage. In small, isolated blocks of sunflower birds can harvest and shatter one-third to one-half of the seed in a matter of days after the seeds begin to loosen in the head.

Table 2. Full-Season Sunflower and Soybean Yields Obtained in Indiana Trials, 1979-80.

                                         Sunflower yields      Soybean yields
                      Variety   Date      --------------------------------------
 Location      Year comparisons planted  High  Low      Av    High  Low     Av
 County                                        lb./acre             bu/acre
Tippecanoe1     1979    6        May 11  2417   1921   2128   63.1
Tippecanoe      1980    6        May 9   2313   2014   2180   56.7   44.2   49.4
Jennings2       1979    6        May 17  1742   465    1030   --     --     --
DeKalb          1979    3        May 30  1406   977    1216   34.7   30.3   32.7
1Purdue Agronomy Farm; 2Southeastern Purdue Agricultural center.

Table 3. No-Till Double-Crop Sunflower and Soybean Yields Obtained in Indiana Trials, 1979-80.

                                           Sunflower yields      Soybean yields
                      Variety   Date      ------------------------------------
 Location      Year comparisons planted  High  Low      Av    High  Low     Av
 County                                        lb./acre             bu/acre

Tippecanoe2    1979    4        July 13  1458   1236   1316   21.8   17.5   20.2
Tippecanoe     1980    6        July 10   911    610    766   30.8   22.2   26.0
Porter3        1980    4        July7    1267    917   1078   12.5   10.0   11.1
Lawrence4      1980    6        July 2   2215   1637   2000   44.5   38.2   40.6
Posey          1980    4        July 1    941    805    865    9.8    7.3    8.5
Randolph5      1980    4        July9    1004    415    660   23.3   13.7   17.3
1Near West Point, IN. 2Purdue Agronomy Farm, Lafayette, IN.
3Pinney-Purdue Agricultural Center, Wanatah, IN.  4Feldun-Purdue
Agricultural Center. 5Davis-Purdue Agricultural Center.

Based on these trials, with some experience and good management, it is believed that full-season commercial sunflower yields of 2,000 pounds per acre are feasible in an average Indiana environment with 3,000 pound yields possible in the more productive environments (Table 4). Double-crop sunflower yields should approach two-thirds of the full-season yield for the same environment. When planted in May, sunflower matures in mid-August in Indiana. Stalk quality deteriorates rapidly under high ambient temperatures, and lodging can be a serious problem if the seed is not harvested promptly.

Table 4. Estimated Relative Yields and Gross Returns for Corn, Soybeans, and Sunflower in Indiana.

 Environment              Corn                Soybeans              Sunflower
and management       ---------------------------------------------------------
 level                       Gross       Gross      Gross                 Gross
                   Yield     return1      Yield     return1       Yield   return1
                    bu.                   bu.                    lb.
Top                180        $540        65        $488       3600       $432
Productive         150         450        50         375       2900        348
Average            115         345        40         300       2000        240
Low                 80         240        25         188       1200        144
Based on a price relationship of $3.00 corn. $7.50 soybeans. and 12 cents sunflower.

9. Are there specific environments where sunflower might have a relative advantage over soybeans?

The sunflower has an extensive taproot system which appears to do relatively well under drought stress and/or low fertility conditions. It also has potential for double cropping after winter wheat, which we will discuss later.

10. Are weeds difficult to control in sunflower plantings?

The following herbicides are labeled for use with sunflower in Indiana: Amiben, Lasso, Prowl, and Treflan. Amiben and Lasso are labeled for both preplant incorporation and pre-emergence use. Prowl and Treflan are labeled for preplant incorporation only. Amiben is labeled for tank mix combinations with Prowl, Treflan, and Lasso. Paraquat/Gramoxone is labeled for knock-down of existing annual weeds in reduced tillage situations. Excellent weed control was obtained with several of these combinations in recent trials. About three weeks after emergence, sunflower plants form a dense canopy and become very competitive with late emerging weeds.

11. How would sunflower fit in Corn Belt rotations?

There appear to be three major considerations for determining crop sequence with sunflower: 1) control of volunteer sunflower, 2) control of insects and diseases, and 3) effect of sunflower on the following crop.

Crops following sunflower are often infested with volunteer sunflower plants. In corn they may be controlled with and are sensitive to applied or residual Atrazine. They may also be controlled with 2,4-D or Banvel type materials. In soybeans they may be controlled with Basagran applied post-emergence at the normal labeled rate. Sunflower seed, with its high oil content, will not persist for long periods in the soil.

The extent of the problem with sunflower insects and diseases is not well known. Commercial acreage has not been extensive enough or persisted long enough for diseases to become a serious problem. In areas where large sunflower acreages are produced, most of the serious diseases have been controlled by incorporating resistance in the newer hybrids. There is an extensive list of diseases and insects which infect sunflower. How serious these might be during the first few years of production is not known. The sunflower headmoth has been reported in northwestern Ohio where a small acreage of non-oil sunflower is produced.

Sunflower has been considered to be a crop that is "hard" on the soil. Research tests have not supported this claim. Where it is grown sunflower is a deep-rooted, full-season crop that tends to remove moisture from the soil later in the season than shallower-rooted, short-season crops, such as small grain. This may have contributed to lower yields following sunflower in dry land areas. In Indiana, however, subsoil moisture is virtually always completely replenished over the winter and this should not be a problem. Sunflower stalks are easily broken up and incorporated into the soil after harvest. They usually amount to less than 2 tons of dry matter per acre compared with about 4 tons for corn.

12. What are the fertility requirements for sunflower?

The sunflower will grow on most soil types that are suitable for corn or soybeans. They will produce better yields on fields with high fertility levels and adequate moisture. They are not well adapted to poorly drained soils which have water standing on them for extended periods.

For phosphorus and potassium, fertility requirements are similar to those for soybeans. The extensive taproot system of sunflower may help utilize residual soil nutrients and aid in nutrient uptake. Sunflower does remove as many nutrients as most other crops, and these must be replaced somewhere in the rotation.

As far as nitrogen is concerned, farmers generally apply half to two-thirds of that normally applied to corn-e.g., about 80-100 pounds per acre. One ton of sunflower requires 100 pounds of nitrogen (soil and fertilizer) in the top 2 feet of soil. A 3,000-pound yield requires 170 pounds of N. Micronutrients have not been shown to give profitable responses. Sunflower seeds are sensitive to fertilizer salts applied in the row.

13. What population is recommended?

Population rate is about the same as for corn-i.e., 20-25 thousand plants per acre on silt loam and clay loam soils and about 15-20 thousand plants per acre on sandy or sandy loam soils. The sunflower adjusts to thin populations by increasing head and seed size and to excessive population by decreasing head and seed size.

For non-oil varieties it may pay to plant at a lower rate to qualify for the higher price per pound paid for large seed. A 5,000-plant reduction in population may not appreciably affect yield but will significantly increase seed size.

For oil seed types the objective is to get maximum yield with no regard to seed size. Medium to high populations produce seed of higher oil percentage and bushel weight than low populations. Also, high populations with smaller heads remain more upright and dry faster than large heads. Low populations with larger heads usually lodge less than high populations.

14. What is the optimum row width?

There seems to be a limited advantage to planting in narrow rows. Minnesota reports that sunflower in rows 20-30 inches apart out yielded those planted in rows 30-36 inches apart by about 10 percent. On the other hand, Tennessee reports little advantage to sunflower in narrow rows.

It appears that sunflower behaves more nearly like corn than soybeans in close configuration systems. Population is generally held constant regardless of row widths. The favored row width is 20-30 inches, although rows as wide as 40 inches and as narrow as 14 inches are grown.

15. What about planting depth?

Sunflower often takes longer to emerge than grain crops because of the slow penetration of soil moisture through the hulls. The seedlings, however, are vigorous and will germinate and emerge under slightly cooler conditions than corn. The large seeded types can emerge from rather deep placement of up to 3 inches in warm sandy soils. Recommended planting depth for the oil seed types is 1-2 inches. The shallower depth should be used with cold, wet, and fine-textured soils.

Sunflower can be planted with plate-type planters and suitable plates (generally small, flat corn plates) or the finger pick up on plateless planters or with air-type planters.

16. When should sunflower be planted?

A wide range of planting dates can be used for sunflower, but highest yields are likely to be obtained when they are planted between mid-April and mid-May in Indiana. The minimum temperature reported for sunflower germination is 41 F. Temperature requirements for sunflower germination and growth lie between those of small grains and corn. Soil temperatures should be at least 45 before planting. Sunflower seedlings have some frost tolerance until about the 6-leaf stage. Sunflower also yields very well when planted in June or even early July. In recent Indiana trials double-crop sunflower yields were reduced by only one-third compared to May planting. This yield reduction is comparable to soybeans and less than usually experienced with corn or grain sorghum.

Remember that most breeding work has been done on hybrids adapted to the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota. These are short-season hybrids. Planting them late may actually assist harvesting and drying since we would normally have a frost to aid in plant desiccation.

17. What about seedbed preparation?

For full-season production seedbed requirements are comparable to soybeans. The seedbed for sunflower should be moist, firm, and free of weeds. Planting should occur immediately after the final secondary tillage operation is performed.

18. What cultural weed control techniques are used?

Two methods of cultural weed control are commonly employed with sunflower. Sunflower seedlings are strongly rooted and can be harrowed several times, if necessary, during the 4-6 leaf stage. Post-emergence harrowing should be done across rows and preferably on a warm, clear day to assure the best weed kill and that the sunflower plants are less turgid. The row cultivator is also commonly used as necessary depending on the weed situation in the field.

Lateral sunflower roots are shallow and can easily be damaged by cultivating too deep and too close to the plants. It is generally suggested that sunflower not be cultivated after the plants are 12 inches tall. Hilling at the last cultivation covers small weeds in the row and may help reduce root lodging. In general, cultivation should be no closer to the row center than the leaf spread of the plants.

19. Are birds a problem?

Sunflower, owing to its head structure, is easily damaged by birds. The seeds are exposed and the head serves as a perch during feeding. Birds are often a problem when only small acreages of sunflower are present in a given area. Greatest losses are from flocks of starlings and red winged blackbirds.

Control is difficult. Various scaring devices such as the gas exploder may be effective if employed early. Field application of Avitrol, a fright-producing repellent, is registered for use in sunflower and field corn.

20. What special equipment is required for sunflower production?

Sunflower is produced with conventional corn and soybean equipment, except that a sunflower head attachment Is added to the grain platform on the combine for harvesting. In lieu of a sunhead, a John Deere soybean row header may be used.

A corn head or conventional grain table are not considered suitable because of excessive harvest losses. Tennessee reports harvest losses at the header and reel with the conventional small grain platform of 46 percent, but only 5 percent with the Willmar sunhead attachment. Processing losses within the combine were only 2 percent.

21. How is sunflower harvested?

It is harvested with a conventional combine, grain platform, and a sunhead attachment.

The sunflower is physiologically mature when the back of the head has turned from green to a light lemon yellow and the bracts are turning brown. This usually occurs 30-45 days after bloom depending on temperature during the maturation period. Desiccants, if used, are applied at physiological maturity (25-30 percent seed moisture) and may allow an earlier harvest by permitting the head, stalk, and leaves to dry more rapidly. A killing frost will also facilitate drying in the northern areas.

The sunflower stalk tends to deteriorate rapidly, and lodging as well as birdfeeding may be a problem if the sunflower must remain in the field long after maturity.

Combining usually begins at 18-20 percent moisture. Most electric testers won't check sunflower; however, Dickey-John offers for their tester a special chart and ring adapter (for weight) for sunflower that is reasonably accurate.

Sunflower thrashes relatively easily. The better sunheads have a stalk-walker which pulls the sunflower stalks and weeds down so that only the head is fed into the combine. This is important to keep trash levels low. The cylinder speed should be as low as possible (generally 300-450 RPM) and still thrash the seeds out of the head. Excessive speed causes considerable dehulling.

When the crop is dry (10 percent or less), the concave should be set wide open. It is usually possible to set the cylinder concaves and cleaning shoe to obtain less than 5 percent trash dockage. Under wet conditions, it may be necessary to use higher cylinder speeds and closer concave settings even though foreign material in the seed increases. The long gathering pans extending ahead of the cutter bar are used to salvage shattered seed. The width of the gathering pan varies. Narrow 9-inch pans spaced on 12-inch centers can operate on any desired row spacing, while wider and more efficient 30-40-inch spaced pans are limited to a fixed row width.

For estimating harvest losses, a count of 10 seeds per square foot on the ground means that the grower is losing about 100 pounds of seed per acre.

22. Is drying required for sunflower?

Generally, yes. Seed should be below 12 percent moisture for temporary storage and down to 9 percent for longtime storage. Minnesota grade standards allow a maximum moisture content of 10 percent for grade 1 for both oil seed and non-oil seed types.

Harvesting sunflower with high moisture content normally results in high yields, less bird damage, and less head dropping and shattering. In a wet fall, drying would be mandatory in Indiana where moisture content could remain over 20 percent until very late in the season. Sunflower dries very easily compared to corn and soybeans; and operators accustomed to drying these crops may tend to overdry sunflower. The large seed allows air to pass easily. Because of the low bushel weight, relatively small quantities of moisture are removed.

Most dryers are designed for corn and small grains which require higher moisture removal. For example, drying corn from 25 percent to 15 percent moisture will remove 6.6 pounds of moisture per bushel of volume. Drying sunflower from 20 percent to 10 percent moisture removes only about 3.0 pounds of moisture per bushel. Unheated air is often adequate for drying sunflower.

Drying temperatures of 160 up to 220 F. do not seem to adversely affect oil yield or fatty acid composition. Sunflower for seed should not be dried over 110 F.

The threat of fire is of high concern during the drying process. An oily fuzz rubs off sunflower hulls as the seed is moved. These hairs or fibers ignite when drawn through the drying fan in open flame. Unless they burn themselves out before hitting the hot sunflower seed, a fire hazard is present. Drying equipment should not be left unattended with sunflower.

Seed should be cleaned for storage and large pieces of head and stalk removed as this is often the highest moisture fraction. Sunflower should be cooled down for over-winter storage to prevent moisture migration the same as with shelled corn.

23. Can sunflower be double-cropped successfully after winter wheat in Indiana?

Yes, the no-till double-crop trials conducted recently indicate that sunflower can be successfully grown as a second crop after winter wheat in virtually all areas of Indiana. The ability to plant later and still mature before frost is a key advantage of double-cropped sunflower over soybeans. Currently, we have no viable wheat-soybean double-crop System for the northern third of Indiana. In this area wheat matures later, after July 1, and the first fall frost is earlier, around October 1-5 on average. Double-crop soybeans are usually high risk when there are less than 90 frost-free days after wheat harvest.

As mentioned, sunflower suffers no greater yield reduction than soybeans for delayed planting. If sunflower has a unique niche in the state it is probably for double cropping in the northern half of Indiana. Planting can be as late as about July 15 and still produce a reasonable yield. The frost tolerance of sunflower makes it the preferred candidate for double cropping under short season or delayed planting conditions. A fall temperature of about 24 F. is required to kill sunflower, whereas soybeans are usually killed at temperatures of 29 to 31 F.

The field research with double-crop sunflower to date suggests the following observations:

1) Sunflower can be safely planted 10 to 14 days later than soybeans as a double crop.

2) The no-till management System utilized for producing soybeans after wheat is adaptable to sunflower. The only difference noted is that sunflower requires slightly more residual soil moisture for prompt germination. Once established, sunflower has drought tolerance that is equal to or better than soybeans.

3) Weed control in no-till double-crop sunflower presented no serious problem with approved herbicides. The sunflower produces a vigorous, fast-growing seedling which rapidly produces a dense shade.

4) Optimum row spacing appears to be about 20 inches with a desired plant population of around 25,000 plants per acre.

5) Double-crop sunflower plants are shorter (4-6 feet) and produce smaller heads than full-season sunflower. These smaller plants mature under cooler growing conditions, stand better, and maintain stalk quality longer than May-planted sunflower.

6) The normal yield range for double-crop sunflower should be 1,000 to 1,500 pounds per acre with good management. Yields of a ton or more can be produced on occasion after winter wheat in southern Indiana with good stands, moisture, fertility, and weed control.

24. How do you go about marketing sunflower in Indiana?

Local markets currently are very limited but would develop if a commercial sunflower acreage persists and grows to produce enough volume to interest exporters. A logical market would be through the Great Lakes or the Ohio River for the export market. The Pillsbury Company at Cincinnati, Ohio, has purchased oil-type sunflower for barge shipment to New Orleans.

The nearest major market for the oil-type sunflower is Duluth, Minnesota. The Cargill Terminal at Tipton has purchased sunflower for a backhaul to Duluth, paying about 2 cents under the Duluth market. Several local elevators in northern Indiana have also expressed interest in buying sunflower, but this should be verified locally.

If sunflower is grown without a commitment from a local market, then a producer should be prepared to deliver sunflower over rather long distances to find a suitable market. Remember, because of the low bushel weight, sunflower is hauled in semi's with higher-than-normal cargo boxes in order to obtain a normal weight load.

A limited market for the non-oil type exist in northwestern Ohio and north central Illinois. There are special requirements, however, for producing and cleaning the non-oil type, and these should be verified before planting.

25. Is sunflower competitive with corn and soybeans under Indiana conditions at this time?

In my opinion, generally not as a full-season crop in most Indiana environments, but they may still be profitable, and the gap in gross return per acre has narrowed substantially in the last decade. Sunflower double cropped after winter wheat offers the best potential, especially for the northern one-third of Indiana where soybean double cropping is difficult.

26. What's your best guess on comparable yields and returns per acre?

Table 4 shows my estimate of comparable yields and returns for Indiana for full-season sunflower. For double-crop soybeans and sunflower, reduce the estimated yield and returns by about one-third, and add the projected value of the wheat crop.

27. How does the cost of production compare with corn and soybeans?

The cost of growing sunflower would be slightly more than soybeans, but less than corn. As a rule of thumb, consider the cost to be the same as you would have for soybeans plus about $15.00 per acre for nitrogen (100 pounds at 15 cents) plus the amortized cost of a sunhead.

28. What does the future look like for sunflower?

Sunflower produces a valuable product, and sunflower production for both export and domestic use has expanded rapidly in the U.S. in the last decade. Production has been concentrated in the northern areas where sunflower has a relative advantage and alternate crops such as corn, soybeans, and winter wheat are less attractive. Whether sunflower can successfully compete in Corn Belt areas such as Indiana must still be determined.

There is no other crop in the U.S. that produces as many pounds of oil per acre as sunflower. The oil is the most valuable part of the sunflower: it normally sells for a premium of 2-8 cents per pound over soybean oil. Thus, profitability and the price of sunflower depends largely on the market price of sun oil.

New products from sun oil have recently been introduced into the oilseed market. These include Promise margarine, and Puritan, Sunlite, and Sunflo salad and cooking oil. Sun oil is higher in polyunsaturates than any other vegetable oil grown in the U.S. except safflower oil.

Table 5 compares the oil content and the fatty acid content of the major U.S. grown vegetable oils. Sun oil strikes a rather ideal compromise between the polyunsaturated fatty acids and stability for most edible uses. It contains only trace amounts of the undesirable linolenic fatty acid. Because of its stability and high smoke point, it is gaining favor with the fast food industry.

Table 5. Approximate Oil Content of Seed and Fatty Acid Composition of Oils (Source: Ext. Bul. 239, U. of Minn.).

                             Polyunsaturates         Monosaturates
Crop        Seed oil   Linoleic     Linolenic        Oleic or erucic    Saturates

Sunflower2    40         68            0                  20              12
Safflower     38         75            0                  17               8
Corn           4         55            1                  31              13
Soybean       20         50            7                  28              15
Flax          40         16           50                  23              11
Butter        --          4            1                  31              64
1To simplify the table. a single figure is used. where actually a wide
range occurs 

2Refers to oilseed varieties grown in Minnesota, North
Dakota. and Canada. With hulls removed. seed would be over 55 percent

U.S. processors ordinarily do not dehull sunflower during oil extraction; thus the hulls, which account for 22-28 percent of seed weight, remain with the meal. Primarily for this reason. sunflower meal is less valuable than soybean meal. Its crude protein content is lower-only about 30 percent (prepress solvent process) compared to 49 percent for soybeans (dry matter basis). It also has a higher fiber content because of the hulls (26 percent vs. 8 percent).

Sunmeal is also low in the essential amino acid, lysine. Digestibility is good and no toxic compounds have been found in sunmeal. In complete mixed feeds it is usually blended with other oilseed meals. Sunmeal is best suited for ruminant rations because of the high fiber and low lysine content.

The future of sun oil for use in salad and cooking oils, margarine, and shortening appears bright. It competes with soy oil in most end products.

29. Are there any good references on sunflower production?

An excellent reference is available from North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota 58102. Ask for Ext. Bulletin 25 (revised July 1978) entitled Sunflower Production and Marketing. The cost is $3.00.

Reference to products in this publication is not intended to be an endorsement to the exclusion of others which may he similar. Persons using such products assume responsibility for their use in accordance with current directions of the manufacturer.

Rev 11/84

Cooperative Extension work in Agriculture and Home Economics, state of Indiana, Purdue University, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperating; H.A. Wadsworth, Director, West Lafayette, IN. Issued in furtherance of the acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914. The Cooperative Extension Service of Purdue University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution.