Colorado’s sunflower production wilting

February 26, 2014
Photo: Sunflower 1(Photo: Courtesy of CSU-Extension)
Colorado's sunflower crop produces oil seeds for producing cooking oil and confection seeds used as snacks and in birdseed mix.
Unlike many other crops, sunflowers aren't genetically modified in Colorado and they've become less economically viable. Some growers are increasingly choosing to plant higher-yeilding, genetically-modified versions of wheat and corn.
Ron Meyer is a Colorado State University Extension agronomist in Burlington, Colo. He says it's tough to stay competitive.  
“The sunflower crop has to compete with wheat and corn economically," Meyer says. "When wheat and corn prices are high, it causes many producers to shift acres over to those crops."
This spring, Colorado's sunflower growers will be asked if they want to increase the fee they pay for research and development, called an assessment. Additional research and development could help reverse the trend of decreasing sunflower production by expanding yields, for example.