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HelianthNet Sunflower Meeting 2022

Sunflower Field

HelianthNet Sunflower Networking Event

Tuesday, 13th December, 10:30am - 3:30pm - in person at Wellesbourne Campus Conference Centre, University of Warwick.

In addition to project presentations we are delighted to welcome four industry experts: Selchuk Kurtev from Zest-ICM, Lyndon Mason from The National Cut Flower Centre and LRM Horticultural Services Ltd, Nicholas Watts MBE from Vinehouse Farm, Tom Barker from Limagrain and Sarah Cook from ADAS to discuss each of the key UK sectors, ornamental, birdseed and oilseed. You can find the full provisional agenda here: Agenda

Many thanks to all our presenters and attendees at our recent HelianthNet Sunflower Networking Event.

Please see below presentations from all our speakers, and other relevant literature:

Guy Barker (University of Warwick) - Presentation

John Clarkson & Lauren Chappell (University of Warwick) - Presentation

Lyndon Mason & Selchuk Kurtev (National Cut Flower Centre, LRM Horticultural Services Ltd & Zest-ICM) - Presentation

Tom Barker (Limagrain) - Presentation

Sarah Cook (ADAS) - Presentation

Nicholas Watts (Vinehouse Farm) - Presentation Script

Gary Bending (University of Warwick) - Presentation

Rosemary Collier (University of Warwick) - Presentation

Relevant Literature:

Defra ADAS Sunflower Review (1998) from Sarah Cook - Review

Sunflowers - a growers guide (2009) by Sarah Cook - Weblink

Project Aims:

In consideration of the potential impact on UK agriculture and in particular crop rotations BBSRC are interested in establishing the requirements that such alternative crops might require. Sunflowers as illustrated by its success in other countries is considered a possibility. Our aim is to work with industrial partners across the supply chain to build a business case for sunflower as an alternative oilseed crop when grown in rotation with cereals, as well as to understand the barriers which currently prevent sunflower becoming a viable crop for wide scale use in the UK.

As well as discussing the well established ornamental and birdseed sunflower markets and the challenges they currently face this project will seek inputs from across the supply chain to help determine what would be required to allow sunflowers to become a serious contender for crop rotations and what areas would benefit from research or development.

We welcome input from all sectors of the sunflower industry including growers, breeders, agronomists and crushers. We hope this meeting will enable the following:

1) Build a network of partners associated with sunflower and exchange knowledge on best practice

2) Identify pests and pathogens that threaten sunflower growers in the UK, and determine future risks

3) Discuss traits for genetic improvement that currently prohibit wide scale growth of sunflower

4) Determine downscale processes and identify limitations that inhibit market growth

If you have any questions regarding the project please do not hesitate to contact either Lauren ( or Project Lead Guy Barker (

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