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Agronomic Crops Network

Ohio State University Extension

CFAES

Sunflowers

In addition to double cropping with forages and double cropping with wheat and soybean, other alternatives may become feasible within the crop system. These demo plots represent current research on double crop and full season sunflower production. Check out below for details about this ongoing work.

In 2022, three field experiments were established to study sunflowers’ viability as a double crop after wheat or barley harvest in Ohio. The study had three Perdue commercial high oleic sunflower varieties:

  • Ultra-early maturity (N4H161 CL)
  • Early maturity (N4H302 E)
  • Mid-early maturity (CP 455 E)

These varieties were studied across three seeding rates: 17,000 seeds per Acre, 22,000 seeds per Acre, and 27,000 seeds per Acre.

All sites were harvested using a small plot combine with corn head; yield results are presented in Table 1. Harvest was delayed at the Wooster site due to equipment availability and weather conditions. At Northwest, 90 lbs of nitrogen per Acre were applied using Urea on August 2nd. At Western Station, 75 lbs of nitrogen per Acre were applied as side dress of 28-0-0 on August 1st — no nitrogen application at the Wooster site. Weeds were managed with pre and post-emergence applications as needed.

Table 1. Study locations, planting dates, harvest dates, and double crop sunflower yields expressed in pounds per Acre (lbs/Ac) at 10% moisture.

Location

Planting Date

Harvest Date

Min. Yield

Average Yield

Max. Yield

Northwest,
Wood County

6/29/2022

11/18/2022

1,296 lbs/Ac

1,867 lbs/Ac

2,599 lbs/Ac

Western,
Clark County

7/11/2022

11/10/2022

1,012 lbs/Ac

1,967 lbs/Ac

2,740 lbs/Ac

Wooster,
Wayne County

7/15/2022

12/21/2022

1,003 lbs/Ac

1,464 Lbs/Ac

1,897 Lbs/Ac


Preliminary results showed that stand establishment varied across the three varieties and sites; low germination percentages led to lower stand counts and possibly limited crop yields. Other challenges included equipment availability (especially for harvest), harvest losses (due to shattering), bird damage (estimated 10 to 50% in one of the sites), and plant lodging in some plots. Additionally, there was evidence of a “head rot” disease at the Western location. Preliminary work to identify the pathogen suggests it is a fungus in the Alternaria genus known to infect sunflowers in other states.

Future work should address the consistency of results across sites/years as a double crop, variety selection and seeding rates as a full-season crop, low germination concerns, fertility management, bird control, seed/oil quality, pest/disease management, economics, and marketing. 

Questions? Contact Dr. Osler Ortez at ortez.5@osu.edu.