Sunflower Seed

Learn more about Canadian sunflower seed production by visiting the National Sunflower Association of Canada website.



The sunflower is the only oilseed native to the northern Great Plains of North America.  Sunflowers have been grown commercially in Canada since the early 1940s.  Production has expanded with the development of higher yielding hybrid varieties, new pesticides and improved crop management techniques.

More and more, sunflowers are becoming a viable alternative to grains in the southern parts of the Canadian Prairies. Canada's sunflowers are grown in southern Manitoba, southwestern Saskatchewan and the irrigated areas of southern Alberta.


Sunflowers are very adaptable to the Canadian climate, capable of withstanding drought and wet conditions because of their deep tap root system. Production is limited in the northern prairies by the heat unit demands of most varieties. Most sunflowers are harvested in late September and October. Fall frosts are often required to dry down the sunflower heads, which are high in moisture. If an early snowfall occurs sunflowers can still be harvested, usually with no reduction in quality.


Most conventional sunflower varieties are hybrids. The two main types grown are: Oilseed Sunflowers, which are black in colour and smaller than the Confection Sunflowers; and Confection Sunflowers, most of which are black or grey in colour with striping. Long, black seeds characterize long type confectionary varieties; round type varieties have shorter and rounder seeds, and are lighter in colour.