[Crops 101] How to Sow & Harvest Sunflowers

Welcome to your next "Crops 101" lesson in the Farming Simulator Academy! We’re focusing on sunflowers. We’ll show you how to plant, harvest and sell those sunny flowers. 

What's special about sunflowers?

  • You can harvest sunflowers with header for sunflowers or with the corn header
  • Sunflowers can be fed to pigs or turned into oil at the oil refinery

What you need for sunflowers

Let’s take a look at everything you need to plant and harvest sunflowers. Please note, you need special equipment.

  • You need a cultivator to loosen the soil and prepare the field.
  • You need a planter and a Bigbag of crop seeds.
    • Tip! Some cultivators have an in-built seeder and/or fertilizer spreader. That allows you to carry out multiple tasks in one go!
  • You need a fertilizer spreader, fertilizer and lime. Without, the income from your harvested crops will be lower. For beginners, artificial fertilizers are the best choice. You find both lime and fertilizer in the BigBag section of the shop. A fertilizer spreader is found in the fertilizing technology category.
    • Tip! If your field needs lime, it will be shown in the right corner box if you’re standing on the field and on the map in the menu.
  • You need a weeder to get rid of the weeds that will soon pop up. Otherwise, the income from your crops will be reduced when you sell it.
  • You need a harvester with a special Header to harvest your crops. For sunflowers, you need a special header attached to your harvester. You find it in the header section of the shop indicated by the sunflower icon.
  • You also need a trailer to transport and sell the sunflowers.

Equipment Selection (recommendation) 

We chose the following equipment. This should be a well-balanced selection for beginners. Of course, you’re allowed to make your own choices. But mind your account balance. Depending on the game mode, some machines are already available at your farm.   

  • Tractor: John Deere 7810
  • Cultivator: RABE MR 250
  • Planter: Agromasz Falcon
  • Harvester: Topliner 4090 HTS + Capello Helianthus 5700
  • Weeder: Einböck Aerostar-Exact 600
  • Fertilizer: BREDAL K105 
  • Trailer: WELGER DK 115

Tip! You can rent machines like the harvester. It's especially cost-efficient if you're playing with seasonal growth on higher difficulty and don't need it too often.

Let’s go to work!

Got everything you need? Then let’s start on your assignment and plant some crops. Note, that you can only plant sunflowers between the beginning of March and the end of April if seasonal growth is enabled. ​​​​​​​

Step 1: Cultivating the field

For grains, it’s usually enough to cultivate instead of plowing. Unless the game tells you to plow the field, we’ll use a cultivator. Get to the field, lower the cultivator into the ground and start cultivating.

More about plowing and cultivating

Step 2: Planting sunflowers

Get the planter of your choice attached to your tractor and head over to the field. Position yourself at one corner of the field, lower the planter and turn it on. Now, plant away! But, don't forget to choose the sunflower, first - as a bigbag of seed contains seeds for all crops. You have to tell your planter/seeder what you want to plant.

Tip! Do yourself a favor and don’t speed up the time while doing this, or the crops may grow unevenly later

Tip! Beehives in proximity to the field increase the yield of sunflowers!

Optional: After you're done with planting, you can also use a soil roller to condense the soil and increase the yield by additional 2,5%. You don't have to, though. If small stones are left on the field, they get pushed back into the soil, so they don't damage your harvester, later. Big stones have to be picked up by a stone collector, though.

More about seeding & planting

More about soil rollers

More about field stones

Step 3: Apply fertilizer and lime

Fertilizer will improve the yield. Click on the bigbag category and buy the Solid Fertilizer Bigbag. Then, hook up your spreader to your tractor, position it right next to the BigBag and click the button to refill. 

Back on the field, you turn it on and cover the whole field in fertilizer. It should now be fertilized to 50%, look at the right corner box while standing on the field. It’s okay if there are some tiny spots still not covered.

Does the field tell you it also needs lime? Then head back to the shop, buy lime and repeat the same procedure. If you have fertilizer left, you can unload it first at your farm.

Tip! Repeat the fertilizing process after the first stage of growth to increase the fertilization to 100%. The yield will be even higher.

Step 4: Getting rid of weeds

Soon, the first weeds spawn on the field. Take your weeder to get rid of it before the crops grow past the first stage. In the first stage, you can still use the weeder to remove weeds. After that, you’d need a field sprayer, but let’s try to avoid that in favor of our finances.

Tip! You can speed up a bit until the weeds start to grow.

If you play with crop destruction, use a tractor with narrow tires, otherwise a lot of plants get destroyed. Got rid of it? Good, now we wait again, until the crops are fully grown.

More about weed control

Step 5: Harvest the sunflowers

With seasonal growth enabled, sunflowers have to be harvested between October and November. Take your harvester and attach the special header used for sunflowers. On the field, lower the header, start the engine and proceed to harvest.

Step 6: Selling the sunflowers

We sell the sunflowers right away as soon as the trailer is filled up. Look for the best selling point on the prices screen and unload the trailer in the designated area.

Tip! Sunflowers can be stored in a silo. If you want to sell it later, you have to unload it into a silo or leave it in trailers for the time being.

Tip! If you deliver the sunflowers to the oil refinery, they can be processed into oil - sell it for even more money.

Well done!

Congratulations, you harvested and sold sunflowers. Take your time and start on the next lesson, when you’re ready. And don’t forget to clean up your machines once in a while. Stay with the Farming Simulator Academy and you become a virtual farmer in no time!


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