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Senior Contributor

Do you plant canola, safflower or sunflower?




I'm working on a story about the potential, planting limitations, and the market for some oilseeds. I'm wondering if someone here can tell his/her the experiences. Let me know. Especially in the case of safflower, I did not find so much on the farmer's view. It will be interesting to add all of what you say.





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4 Replies
Senior Advisor

Re: Do you plant canola, safflower or sunflower?

I'll take a stab at sunflowers.  There are two kinds, "oil" and "confection".  Confection is the ones used in the food industry, from sunflower

seeds to be used in mixes or ate that way, and now they make a butter out of it.  These are gray colored and have a black strip.

You usually don't plant as many seeds per acre to allow the head to get larger, and thus let the seeds get bigger.

The other is oil.  the different numbers have various oil concentrations.  These are usually crushed and oil extracted, and not used

for human consumption.  Plant population is higher than the confection.

The problem with sunflower production, is the cost of the seed, which has made a dramatic rise the last couple of years.  Last

time it was around the $300 a bag.  The other problem was insects.  There are a number of insects that attack, but you may not have

them there.  Also there are a few diseases.....again, the same thing.

I would say the biggest challenge would be if there is processing available....also, on the oil, we have found that moisture of the

seed is critical, those black seeds if cut wet, have a very bad habit of becoming moldly very quickly.

yields is about 2,000 lbs/ac for oil, maybe a little more or less, and somewhat less for the conventional.


Honored Advisor

Re: Do you plant canola, safflower or sunflower?

There is very little profit margin in them........ They take moisture from deep in the soil, which is hard to replenish.


Few herbicides work well so weeds are a problem...................... since sunflowers are a broadleaf "weed" relatively.


They are occasionally used as a second crop in southern US. since they have a very short growing season and can provide some extra income and beat frost dates......... questionably worth the investment.


Freight to processing can be 250 miles.  Not impressive for brazil but sizeable on a crop with limited profit.


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Senior Contributor

Re: Do you plant canola, safflower or sunflower?

we plant canola and lots of it! my county in NE ND plants more canola than any other county in ND and probably the US. Its an expensive crop at $500-700 per 50 lb bag which plants 20 acres. There are two types of seed Liberty link and roundup ready and clearfield but the vast majority are the first two. Canola is a cool season broadleaf crop well suited for northern ND, Minnesota, and Canada where summer temps seldon hit 100. in fact it only hit 90 twice this summer. Canola also requires very good fertilization of N,P and lots of sulfer! It is suseptible to sclerotinia and a seedling disease called blacleg.  The slerotinia can be controlled very well with a fungicde at blooming but uts another$20 an acre.  as far as yield goes a 2000 pound crop or more is a target yield with 2500 lbs a very good crop. At 50 lbs to the bushel 40 is good 50 is really good and 60 is exceptional!!

Soys are coming on strong here because of the reduced inputs namely fertilizers. altho our GDD's are marginal we can grow aprox 30 bu. an acre. last year was great most growers hit 40-50 but then a few years ago we experienced an early frost an killed them all!  such is farming.

Safflower is a very special minor oilseed adapted to western ND because it is a lot drier. Safflower doesnt like excessive water but loves warmer season temps.

Senior Contributor

Re: Do you plant canola, safflower or sunflower?

Hello boys,


There you are:


For all of you: many thanks!

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