/25 May 2022

Foliar fertilization of sunflower

Sunflower cultivation is one of the most profitable areas of agricultural production. Sunflower is one of the main crops in Ukraine, which allows to obtain about 750 kg of oil from 1 hectare of crops. A record 6.5 million hectares were allocated for sunflower nn 2021. The total gross harvest was 16.3 million tons with an average yield of 2.5 t / ha.

Thanks to a strong root system that penetrates the soil to a depth of 3-4 m, and in horizontal direction to 0.8-1.2 m, sunflower plants are able to absorb moisture and nutrients from deep soil layers. For formation of 1 ton of seeds (together with the corresponding amount  amount of by-products), this crop requires a significant amount of nutrients: 40-55 kg of nitrogen, 15-25 – phosphorus, 100-150 kg of potassium. Due to this act, many farmers believe that sunflower is a crop that severely depletes the soil. However, few pay attention to the return of nutrients with lant residues in relation to their economic removal, which is: N – 74%, P2O5 – 54%, K2O – 94%, while, for example, in rape – 60, 36, 71; corn – 51, 34, 98; soybeans – 27, 28, 28; cereals – 24-32, 17-18, 68-72, respectively.

Providing crops with phosphorus plays an important role in formation of generative organs and increase of oil content in seeds. The highest level of potassium absorption is observed during the period of basket formation and flowering. It is difficult to overestimate the role of potassium in the formation of the sunflower crop, as this element directly affects the hydrocarbon metabolism and the process of photosynthesis. In general, sunflower is a typical “potassium-keen” plant, which should be taken into account when drawing up a nutrition system.

Magnesium and sulfur are among the microelements that are extremely important for sunflower, therefore application of magnesium sulfate during foliar fertilization is not just desirable, but compulsory. Deficiency of these elements will negatively affect he absorption of NPK, photosynthesis, synthesis of amino acids, proteins, as well as the percentage of oil in seeds.

If we talk about microelements, boron, zinc and manganese are extremely important for sunflower formation. Boron has direct impact on development of growth points, flowering and pollination. Deficiency of boron, which occurs just before flowering, leads to sterility of pollen, and therefore there is no normal pollination of flowers, which causes weeds, and leads to loss of yield.

In turn, zinc affects absorption of nutrients by the root system of plants, increases drought and heat resistance of the culture, as well as its immunity. With a lack of zinc, sunflower plants lag behind in growth, get sick and become unable to form a crop, and in case of significant deficiency – die. The critical period for zinc deficiency is flowering.

Manganese deficiency inhibits plant development, so this element has a serious impact on sunflower yields. Also, manganese deficiency reduces frost resistance of crop and its resistance to diseases. Fragility of damaged leaves increases too.

The system of sunflower foliar feeding aimed at eliminating  deficiency of nutrients in the critical stages of organogenesis, among which there are phases of 4-6 and 8-10 leaves. In the first of these phases, sunflower plants begin laying the basket.

With an unbalanced feeding and under the influence of stressors, the basket will have fewer flowers than necessary to fully unleash the potential of the hybrid or variety. In addition, plants that are not provided with sufficient amount of micronutrients in an accessible form are not able to form seeds with high oil content and weight. We recommend using the following tank mixture for fertilization of sunflower crops in the phase of 4-6 leaves:

Urea – 7 kg / ha;

Magnesium sulfate Wonder Leaf MgS 16-32 – 5-10 kg / ha or Wonder Leaf MgS 25-50 – 3-4 kg / ha;

Complex water-soluble fertilizer Wonder Leaf Blue – 2-3 kg / ha;

Wonder Leaf Mono B 11 – 1 l / ha.

Wonder Leaf Wonder Micro – 2-3 l / ha.

and seeds yield. We recommend the following tank mixture for sunflower fertilizing in the phase of 8-10 leaves:

Urea – 4 kg / ha;

Magnesium sulfate Wonder Leaf MgS 16-32 – 5-10 kg / ha or Wonder Leaf MgS 25-50 – 3-4 kg / ha;

Complex water-soluble fertilizer Wonder Leaf Red – 2-3 kg / ha;

Wonder Leaf Mono B 11 – 1 l / ha.

Wonder Leaf Wonder Micro – 2-3 l / ha.

In order to minimize the effects of herbicide stress and the negative effects of adverse environmental factors, we recommend adding Wonder Leaf Amino 43 to the tank mix in ratio 0.5-1 l / ha. Thanks to the high content of amino acids of vegetable origin (43%), it promotes rapid recovery of the plant body, as well as increases absorptive capacity of crops, so they can use nutrients from soil and fertilizers more efficiently. It is worth noting that amino acids (when applied at early stages of flowering phase of fruits, vegetables and grapes) not only increase the fertility of pollen grains, but also prolong the life of the pistil, which significantly improves pollination.

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N

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K₂O

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B

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