Sunflower – Helianthus annus

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Crop: Sunflower
Result: Increased plant height, head and leaf diameter as well as 27.67% increase in yield
Location: Mallapur, India

Sunflower has become widely cultivated in India as a source of low cost vegetable oil and protein. Sunflower is highly valued for its anti-cholesterol properties. Commercial scale cultivation of sunflower was initiated in 1972 throughout India, especially in Karnataka, Tamil nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. In Andhra Pradesh, principal cultivation areas include Kurnool, Chittoor, Ananthapur, Mehaboobnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, and Karimnagar. Generally, all sunflower cultivation is carried out via rainfed environmental conditions.

With previous commercial scale and highly positive Agrostim Indian studies on tomatoes, sorghum, and roses, sunflower was chosen for study because of its commercial importance to the vegetable oil industry.

Expanded Agrostim Sunflower studies were conducted in India using the following “experimental design”:

Species: Helianthus annus
Cultivar: Modern, National Seeds Corporation
Location: APC R&D Center, Mallapur, India
Dates: August-December 1996
R&D Site: The site was >4,300 ft2 of sandy loam soil with slight alkaline pH and good drainage. The water utilized in the study was highly saline with low sodium.

Experimental Design: 13 Separate Treatment Sets

Organic fertilizer1 – Farm manure (3,500 kg/ha)
NPK Fertilizer2 – Synthetic (80:50:30)
Agrostim3 – soil applied – rate 20 liters/ha/yr.
Agrostim3 – soil applied – rate 15 liters/ha/yr.
Agrostim3 – soil applied – rate 10 liters/ha/yr.
Agrostim4 – foliar applied – rate 20 liters/ha/yr.
Agrostim4 – foliar applied – rate 15 liters/ha/yr.
Agrostim4 – foliar applied – rate 10 liters/ha/yr.
Organic Fertilizer + Synthetic NPK5 (Current Standard)
Agrostim6 – soil + foliar applied – rate 20 liters/ha/yr.
Agrostim6 – soil + foliar applied – rate 15 liters/ha/yr.
Agrostim6 – soil + foliar applied – rate 10 liters/ha/yr.
Negative Control (No fertilizers)
Application Notes:

1 Farm manure and neem cake powder were applied on days 30, 45, & 60.
2 NPK was applied on days 30 & 45 as urea, super phosphate, and murate
of potash.
3 Agrostim soil application at days 15, 30, & 45.
4 Agrostim foliar application at days 30, 45, & 60.
5 Neem cake and NPK as above in items 1 & 2, at days 30 & 45.
6 Agrostim soil & foliar application at days 15, 30, 45, & 60.

Results:

Table I.
Average Plant Height (Centimeters), Average Flower Head Diameter, and Average Total Leaf Area in Square Centimeters for Agrostim expanded field studies. In all cases, Agrostim foliar and/or soil applied organic based fertilizer was “significantly greater and better” than the standard Indian regimes of Organic Manures and/or Synthetic Chemical Fertilizers at the P>0.01 levels (ANOVA).

Treatment Set Plant Height (CM) Flower Head Diameter (CM) Leaf Area (CM2)
1. Organic fertilizer 56.6 10.6 92.81
2. NPK Fertilizer 58.6 11.5 178.90
3. Agrostim-soil 20 l 57.6 13.7 145.07
4. Agrostim-soil 15 l 58.2 15.0 195.64
5. Agrostim-soil 10 l 62.2 15.2 231.85
6. Agrostim-foliar 20 l 75.8 18.5 373.24
7. Agrostim-foliar 15 l 78.6 19.5 336.91
8. Agrostim-foliar 10 l 66.0 14.9 299.99
9. Organic+Synthetic 68.0 14.4 218.21
10. Agrostim-soil+foliar 20 l 55.4 14.3 266.96
11. Agrostim-soil+foliar 15 l 50.8 13.8 145.44
12. Agrostim-soil+foliar 10 l 46.6 11.0 99.71
13. No Fertilizer 46.0 7.2 98.34
Table II.
Average Number of Flowers Harvested, Average Yield of Sunflower Seeds in Kilograms/Hectare, and Average Number of Sunflower Seeds per Flower for Agrostim expanded field studies. In all cases, Agrostim foliar and/or soil applied organic based fertilizer was “significantly greater and better” than the standard Indian regimes of Organic Manures and/or Synthetic Chemical Fertilizers at the P>0.01 levels (ANOVA).

Treatment Set No. Flower Harvested Yield (KGS/HA) No. Seeds Per Flower
Organic fertilizer 47 209.25 449
NPK Fertilizer 27 220.37 541
Agrostim-soil 20 l 48 588.89 399
Agrostim-soil 15 l 40 675.93 406
Agrostim-soil 10 l 37 434.26 390
Agrostim-foliar 20 l 43 663.89 880
Agrostim-foliar 15 l 50 807.41 600
Agrostim-foliar 10 l 29 406.48 718
Organic+Synthetic 38 632.41 521
Agrostim-soil+foliar 20 l 44 451.85 362
Agrostim-soil+foliar 15 l 37 510.19 556
Agrostim-soil+foliar 10 l 39 321.30 140
No Fertilizer 22 135.19 264
Table III.
Average Seedling Number at 10 days, Average Oil Content (%), and Average Sunflower Seed Weight per 1,000 Seeds for Agrostim expanded field studies. In all cases, Agrostim foliar and/or soil applied organic based fertilizer was

“significantly greater and better” than the standard Indian regimes of Organic Manures and/or Synthetic Chemical Fertilizers at the P>0.01 levels (ANOVA).

Treatment Set No. Seedlings 10 Days Oil Content (%) Seed Weight Per 1,000 (in gms)
1. Organic fertilizer 59 35.35 54
2. NPK Fertilizer 45 34.44 49
3. Agrostim-soil 20 l 76 34.95 58
4. Agrostim-soil 15 l 63 35.59 60
5. Agrostim-soil 10 l 57 37.47 53
6. Agrostim-foliar 20 l 60 40.68 56
7. Agrostim-foliar 15 l 70 37.88 67
8. Agrostim-foliar 10 l 54 41.25 54
9. Organic+Synthetic 51 38.37 53
10. Agrostim-soil+foliar 20 l 62 37.45 50
11. Agrostim-soil+foliar 15 l 55 39.65 45
12. Agrostim-soil+foliar 10 59 34.15 52
13. No Fertilizer 43 37.03 47

Fig. 1. Sunflower Growth at day 15. Standard Indian fertilizer regime in foreground with Agrostim foliar applications in the background.

Fig.2. Sunflower grown using Indian standard Organic fertilizer manures at day 45. Flower size can be judged by technicians arm in picture.

Fig.3. Sunflower grown using Agrostim foliar application at day 45. Flower size can be judged by technicians arm in picture.

Fig.4. Sunflower grown using Agrostim soil application at day 45. Flower size can be judged by technicians arm in picture.

Fig. 5. General Treatment Sample Size for the Agrostim expanded Sunflower field study.

In summary, the report clearly indicates that Agrostim:

Increased yield overall by 27.67%
Improved growth & spread of roots
Increased oil content of seeds by 16.51%
Provided excellent response in Saline soil & water
Eliminated “flower drop”
Improved seed filling of flower heads
Significantly reduced of any phytotoxic effects