Botanical Name -Carthamus tinctorius
Family -Asteraceae

Safflower is commonly known as “khusambha, kusum” are oldest cultivated oilseed which contain 24-36% oil. Safflower is largely used for cooking purposes. Its decorticated cake is utilized for feeding cattle.

DSH-129, MKH-11, Parbhani Kusuma(PBNS-12), NARI-NH-1 (PH- 6)

Other States Variety

Phulekusum, NARI-6.

 It’s a hybrid formed at Phaltan (Maharashtra), released in 2005 for irrigated areas for the entire country with 28% oil. It is tolerant to aphids.

Soil –

Safflower is grown on maximum variety of soil. It is well grown in drained sandy loam soil and the soil which is rich in organic matter.


Safflower is a cool (rabi) season crop.The optimum temperature for germination is about 15.5oC. The day temperature in the range 24-32oC at flowering are congenial for higher yields. It is cultivated from sea level to an elevation of 1000 m above sea level.


Time of sowing
Optimum time for sowing seeds is last week of October to first week of November.

Seed rate
For sowing, use seed rate of 6 kg for one acre.

Seed Treatment
The seeds must be treated with Captan or Agrosan GN @ 3 gm/kg of seed before sowing. Healthy and disease free seeds must be soaked in water for overnight for better germination.

To bring soil to the fine tilth stage land should be ploughed several times so that all weeds are removed which would be present their previously. Low-lying land must be eluded as water logged situation is liable to destroy by wilts as well as root rots.

Use Plant to Plant spacing of 15 cm and row to row spacing of 45 cm.

Sowing Depth
Sow seeds at depth of 5-7 cm.

Method of sowing

Sowing is done through drilling method.

Safflower follows Kharif crop like mash, fodder, moong, maize etc.

Fertilizer Requirement (kg/acre)

35On soil test resultsOn soil test results


Nutrient Value (kg/acre)



Apply 16 kg N (35 kg urea) per acre. If soil nutrient is low apply phosphorus and all these fertilizers should be drilled before sowing.

Safflower is extremely  vulnerable to weed while rosette phase which ends around 25-30 days in deccan areas as well as two month or even more in other areas with long term winter. The area must be retained weed-free within this crucial period via regular weeding with intercultural 1-2 times 25-30 rather 45-50 days after sowing. Pre-plant use of Trifluralin @ 200 gm/acre or EPTC@200 gm/acre or pre-emergence use of Atrazine @ 800 gm/acre or Alachlor @600 gm/acre is used for efficient weed regulation in safflower.


This crop can be grown even in areas where irrigation is not required if soil is moist as seasonal varies. Water is necessary during the flowering stage so once irrigation is required in 30 days for better yield. For area where soil is less moist, apply one heavy pre- sowing irrigation, it will be beneficial for better growth.

1)Green peach aphid (Myzus persicae): Its appearance is like burnt on the plant.

1)Safflower aphid: These are seen on tender shoot, leaves as well as stem it make the plant look weak and some areas are dried up.

Control: Spray 100 ml Chlorpyriphos 20EC in 100 ltr of water/acre. If required can be repeated even after 15 days.

Safflower matures in 150-180 days. Harvesting should be done in mid-May when the flowers turn in yellow brown in color.

Under rainfed conditions good average yields vary from 2 to 3 ton/ha unshelled nuts under a high Under rainfed conditions yields depend on initial soil water storage and on the rainfall during the growing season. Good rainfed yields are in the range of 1 to 2.5ton/ha; under irrigation in the range of 2 to 4 ton/ha. The water utilization efficiency for harvested yield (Ey) for seed containing 8 to 10 percent moisture varies between 0.2 and 0.5 kg/m3.

The oil content varies from 20 to 40 percent depending on the variety and some recently developed Indian varieties may yield up to 50 percent oil. These new varieties are early maturing, more cold resistant and spineless, but are more susceptible to root rot and rust.

Time of picking depends on the use of the harvested product. Varieties with fruits of a high flesh/pit ratio and uniform shape are used for table olive production. In the northern hemisphere, green table olives are harvested from mid-September onward with end of harvest being determined when the fruit colour changes to green-yellow. Black table olives are harvested in December. Olives for oil are harvested from mid-December until March with oil content independent of the time of harvest.

Maximum oil content and weight are reached six to eight months after flowering. Olive fruits can be harvested long before they fall naturally.

Yields vary from year to year and from tree to tree. Good commercial yields under irrigation are 50 to 65 kg/tree of fruit with a possible maximum of 100 kg/tree of fruit. Oil content of the fresh fruit ranges from 20 to 25 percent. The water utilization efficiency for harvested yield (Ey) for fresh olives containing about 30 percent moisture is 1.5 to 2.0 kg/m3.