Lack of water, scorching temperatures, the sunflower harvest promises to be early.
At the height of summer, sunflowers offer us their pretty colors. We have all seen them along the holiday roads in the fields. The flowering of the sunflower is coming to an end these days. When the flower head begins to darken, it is maturing. It will then bend more and more. The seeds already have their black color. The achene – the sunflower seed – will grow until it matures. These seeds will be harvested and then transformed into vegetable oil and animal feed. Sunflower meal, rich in protein, is very popular with cattle and laying hens.
Bees and sunflowers go very well together
Our subsidiary MAS Seeds cultivates seed sunflowers, which will provide seed for fields under traditional cultivation the following year. The majority of its plots in France are at the end of flowering or are gradually getting there. To have a beautiful flowering, you need a lot of sun, not too much rain and bees.
They carry pollen from male plants to female plants. The seeds are fertilized by pollinators. by bees and other bumblebees, without the action of pollinating insects attracted by the nectar of these flowers, there would be no seed production. Bees are therefore essential allies in the production of sunflower seeds. Sunflower, one of the only plants in full bloom in July, is very useful to beekeepers who have difficulty feeding their apiaries at this time in plain areas. It is for these reasons that hives are systematically installed near the fields, three to four per hectare on average.
The drought-proof sunflower
The plant with yellow flowers resists drought quite well. If the first heat wave had little impact on the sunflower then at the pre-flowering stage, the subsequent heat waves and the lack of precipitation could penalize the production of sunflower seeds. Beyond 35-40°C, the bees are no longer active in the fields and the pollen is burned by the sun.
For this 2022 campaign, crops are 10 to 15 days ahead of usual. We are looking for one of the earliest sunflower harvests in recent years. On the first plots of MAS Seeds, the harvest could start in mid-August.