MULTAN : Agriculture experts have urged growers to harvest sunflower in time for better yield and warned them against birds particularly parrots. The crop is ready for harvest when flowers’ back turns golden, yellow petals drop after dryness, almost half of the green leaf becomes brown and seeds get hard after attaining full maturity, said a release issued by the media liaison unit of Punjab agriculture department here Monday. The oilseed crop has reached or is close to the stage of maturity.

 and growers must adopt measures to keep birds including parrots away from their fields. Parrots eat the crop and growers can scare them away by beating drum or using crackers.

Preferably the growers should harvest the crop with combined harvester some five to six days after the crop shows above mentioned signs.

In the absence of combined harvester, growers can also opt for traditional harvesting techniques.

Growers should cut the flowers and dry them up for three to six days. Avoid keeping sunflower in shape of heaps for it can lessen the oil content. Then the growers should separate seed from flowers by thresher. Growers can also separate them by beating the stock covered in piece of cloth by sticks.

The growers then remove trash from the seed stock and keep it exposed before sunlight for dryness. The seeds having 8 percent moisture can get the best price. Trash should not be more than 2 percent, the release added.

It may be noted that sunflower is an important oilseed crop containing 40 percent oil content besides Vitamin A, B and K. Pakistan was producing edible oil that is sufficient to meet 30 percent of its domestic requirements. For rest of the 70 per cent country has to import edible oil at heavy cost.

Experts have urged the growers to expand the area under oilseed crop cultivation to reduce country’s dependence on imported edible oil.