Find out strategies management to lessen the impact of this challenging weed

Reduce broomrape’s impact on sunflower yields

Among different weeds that can impact your sunflower crop and affect significantly final yields, broomrape (Orobanche cumana) is probably the worst. A parasitic plant, broomrape is commonly found in the sunflower production areas around the Black Sea, the south of Spain and in few regions in France and it continues to spread.  

Fortunately, management solutions exist, allowing you to reduce broomrape’s impact on your sunflower yields. While MAS Seeds offers herbicide tolerant sunflowers and hybrids genetically tolerant to E, F and G race as a management strategy, some agronomic best practices are important to limit the establishment of broomrape in your fields. 

Broomrape characteristics and lifecycle 

  • Broomrape plants spend most of their life underground 
  • Each broomrape plants produce thousands of seeds that are very small – almost like ground pepper in appearance 
  • Broomrape seeds be kept in soil many years before emergence (a) 
  • Broomrape seeds use sunflower roots to growth and develop (b,c,d) 
  • It’s important to limit the broomrape emergence to avoid increasing number of seeds in fields (e) and so to develop contamination area 

Broomrape seeds development

Broomrape seeds

With genetically tolerant hybrids, broomrape seeds can’t use the sunflower’s roots to emerge – meaning the broomrape plants can’t grow. This is one the most effective management strategies against broomrape.

More about sunflower

Agronomic management

Before seeding

  • Identify at risk fields   
  • Use a minimum 3 years crop rotation between growing sunflower crops  
  • Delay sowing 

In field

  • Select tolerant seed varieties (adapt with the race of broomrape) or use a Clearfield or Clearfield PLUS variety 
  • Avoid Phosphorus deficiency   
  • Destroy broomrape plants before maturity

Herbicide application

In additional agronomic solutions, there are herbicide treatments that can reduce broomrape attacks when you sow Clearfield and Clearfield Plus hybrids. Imazomax is effective for control of  broomrape, so in situations with a high weed pressure don’t hesitate to sow hybrids that offer double tolerance (imazamox and broomrape). 

Herbicide tolerant sunflower – Dosis


  • Sunflower stage for spraying : Both between 2 and 6-8 leaves –> optimal 4 real leaves
  • Herbicide : Eurolightning vs. Eurolightning Plus
  • Dosis : 1L/ha or 1 vs 1,6 – 2 L:ha
  • Targeted weeds : Both grass + Broadleaf weeds + broomrape
  • Main advantage : Wide spectrum broomrape management and in addition for Clearfield Plus dosis modulation no after effect on other crops

Herbicide application staging

Post harvest

  • Harvest infested fields last 
  • Thoroughly clean your harvesting and handling equipment   
  • Bury sunflower stems in the soil versus crushing them 

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Contact us

Our local teams visit farms and distributors on-site to give you the best advice for your location. Find your local MAS Seeds® consultant by visiting a country website or fill out our contact form here.