Sunflower Farming in Kenya does very well in arable semi arable conditions as it requires less rainfall and nutrients than maize. Sunflower will grow well where maize and beans are grown. A good crop requires 450 mm of rainfall. Most Kenyan varieties are grown by farmers in Bungoma, Kakamega and Meru
Open pollinated: Kenya Shaba, Kenya Fedha and Rekord
Hybrid: H8998, PAN 7034, and 7369
Bird feed varieties: Kensun white and Comet
Oil seed varieties: Kenya Shaba, Kenya Fedha, H894, H893, H903 and Kenya almasi
Altitude: 0-2600m above sea level
Rainfall: minimum of 450mm annually
Soils: Deep fertile and well drained
Plough the land well, remove weeds and stumps. Harrow the soil to achieve a fine tilth. Carry out rolling to make the seedbed firm.
Time planting properly so that harvesting coincide with dry weather since wet weather causes rotting of seed heads. Sow 3 seeds per hole at a spacing of 75cm by 30cm. carry out thinning to one plant per hole when the crop reaches 10-20cm height. During planting apply 150kg DAP or TSP per hectare.
Keep the field weed free until when the crop attains a height of roughly 1m (1month after planting), at this stage the crop has enough foliage to suppress the weeds.
Birds (weaver birds and doves): Scaring the birds, avoid isolated planting, plant the black variety which is less susceptible.
African bollworm: Spray with a suitable insecticide eg deltamethrin or cypermethrin
Sunflower rust: Plant rust resistant varieties, destroy crop residue after harvest.
Leaf spot: Plant resistant varieties, destroy crop residue after harvesting.
Root and stem rot: Destroy crop residue after harvesting, practice crop rotation, use healthy planting materials
White blister: Destroy crop residue after harvesting, practice crop rotation
Cut the heads before they are 100% dry. Yield per hectare is roughly 1500kg