Research article
Issue: № 11 (65), 2017

Кульжанова С.1, Попов В.2, Бекпергенова Ж.1

1Казахский агротехнический университет им. С.С.Сейфуллина, Астана, Казахстан

2Сельскохозяйственный университет Пловдива, Пловдив, Болгария



Для увеличения выхода подсолнечника, наука и техника ищут эффективное и относительно недорогое минеральное питание. В этом исследовании исследовано влияние природных цеолитов и их сочетаний с фосфорными минеральными удобрениями на рост и биологический выход сортов подсолнечника Фортими и Заря. В проведенном двухгодичном полевом исследовании, с использованием полной рендомизации (RCB) в трех повторениях и с 8 обработками, попытались определить влияние цеолита на выход семян и урожай подсолнечника в Успенском районе Павлодарской области, Казахстан. Учитывая переменные климатические условия, введение природного цеолита в почву улучшало рост растительной биомассы (более высокие растения), площадь листьев и потенциал фотосинтеза, и обеспечивало высокие урожаи по сравнению с вариантами контроля (без удобрений). Например, несмотря на низкую скорость прорастания (т. е. в 2016 г.) сорт Заря показал высокие и стабильные урожаи - от 3,00 до 3,55 т / га после обработки цеолитом и всеми комбинациями цеолита с суперфосфатом урожай увеличился от 3 до 5 т / га.

Ключевые слова: природные цеолиты, минеральные удобрения, сорта и гибриды подсолнечника, урожайность.

Kulzhanova S.1, Popov V.2, Bekpergenova Zh.1

1S.Seifullin Kazakh AgroTechnical University, Astana, Kazakhstan

2Agricultural University of Plovdiv, Plovdiv, Bulgaria



In order to increase the sunflower outputs, science and technology search for efficient and relatively inexpensive mineral feeding. This study investigated the effect of natural zeolites and their combinations with phosphorus mineral fertilizers on growth and biological yield of sunflower varieties Fortimi and Zarya. A two-year field trial using a a randomized complete block (RCB) with three repetitions and eight treatments was conducted in the Uspensky district, Pavlodar region, Kazakhstan.  tried to determine the effect of zeolite on the yield of seeds and the yields of sunflower. Considering variable climate conditions, introduction of natural zeolite in soil improved growth of plant biomass (taller plants), leaf area and photosynthetic potential and produced high yields compared to control (no fertilizer) variants. For instance, inspite of low germination rate (i.e. in 2016) variety Zarya showed high and stable yields, i.e. 3,00 to 3,55 t/ha after treatment with 3 and 5 t/ha zeolite and all combinations of zeolite with superphosphate.

Keywords: Natural zeolites, mineral fertilizers, varieties and hybrids of sunflower, yield.


Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L., family Asteraceae), cultivated for a seed production, is one of the most valuable and highly profitable crops. It is the most important agricultural oilseed crop in Kazakhstan, the share of which occupies 50% of all areas sown with oilseeds and its production is planned to increase to 552 thousand tons (Kaskarbayev et al., 2011). Sunflower requires at least 16 essential nutrients for its growth mostly obtainable from water and soil. For production of 1 ton of seed, taking into account the agroecological conditions, sunflower plants utilise 43-71 kg of Nitrogen (N) and 13-27 kg of Phosphorus (P). Sunflower grows in a variety of soil conditions but performs best in well-drained soils with a high water-holding capacity (Kondau, 1998). In drier regions, it often needs at least supplemental irrigation to consistently optimize yields. However, sunflower is considered a drought tolerant crop and has a deeper root system than most crops. Many sunflower hybrids have been developed, aimed at shortening maturity period to less than 90 days thus allowing harvest to take place as early as late September (Darby et al., 2009). From sprouting to formation of sunflower disc need moderate feeding with N and P, but after formation and from flowering to maturing – moderate N and P and more K. According to Barbariek (1984), Suzer (1998) and Oshundiya et al. (2014), the P-content is critical for the early growing period of sunflower, i.e. even short period of P deficiency leads to significant decrease in seed yield, also paired with restricted ability of root system to uptake N. Such deficiency cannot be compensated later as it reflects in less vegetative assimilation area, plants less economical towards soil moisture, longer phenophase periods and lower total number of flowers in the disc. Among other minerals, natural minerals such as zeolites, are reknown to provide a number of essential micro- and macro-elements (Sfechiş et al., 2015, Semenov A., 2010, Ponk, 1984). Zeolites may also increase the efficiency of mineral fertilizers. In Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan producers are searching for methods to increase the yield of sunflower per unit of land and improve the seed quality. But they still lack sound empirical knowledge on the impact of zeolite application on economically important crop as the sunflower, i.e. doses and ratios per ha, possible combinations with other fertilizers, impact on agroecological conditions on plant growth, optimum plant density per ha, etc. Therefore this study addresses the gaps for improved productivity of selected and adapted varieties and hybrids of sunflower in the region of North-Eastern Kazakhstan.

Materials and methods

Region of study

The study was carried out in the dry-steppe zone of the Uspensky region of the Pavlodar district (North latitude: 52 ° 55 ', East longitude: 77 ° 25', Altitude: 113 m.) The Uspensky region is situated in north-east of Pavlodar district on 5500 km2. It is a steppe zone with flat landscapes.

Agro-meteorological characteristics

The region is reknown with the sharp continental and arid climate with limited precipitation, low air humidity, hot summers and overall sharp temperature amplitudes (Table 1). Winters are long and cold with less snow cover. Spring is also unstable and windy. Late snow and frosts are possible even at the end of May. Summer is warm, sometimes hot and dry. In july, the average temperatures reach +21-22 оС, but during the day the temperatures may reach +35-38 оС. The highest average rainfall is detected usually in July. The autumn is relatively short with step-wise decrease of the temperatures and increasing wind and clouds. Average annual rainfall for the region is up to 320 мм.

Table 1 - Meteorological data, average of 2015/2016 (from the MTO station Uspenka)

Month Average monthly air temperature, оС Average monthly rainfall, мм Averahe wind speed, м/s Average air humidity, % Height of snow cover, см
January -22 40,1 4,9 92 16
February 11 20,4 4,4 91 23,3
March 7,8 31,4 5,3 90 20
April 9,4 30,2 4,7 85 -
May 11,7 46,1 3,9 75 -
June 25,5 44,3 3,9 83 -
July 28,9 24,4 4,0 84 -
August 18,2 31,6 4,0 88 -
September 14,8 27,6 4,2 80 -

Agro-meteorological conditions for the period of investigation were suitable for growing sunflower.  In the phenophases (i.e. flowering and fruitformation) the climate conditions were within the norms with sufficient amounts of rainfall. The soils are dark chestnut having a humus content of approx. 1.8%, an N alkaline hydrolyzed 99.4 mg / kg soil, mobile phosphorus 14 mg / kg soil, a pH of 6.6, a hydrolytic acidity that varies from 3.62 to 4.08 meq / 100 g of soil. The saturation with bases is high - 40.29 - 44.2% (in the 0-40 cm layer).

Varieties of sunflower

The field experiment included two sunflower varieties, i.e. the hybrids ‘Fortimi‘ and ‘Zarya‘. Both are early maturing with seed sprouting in 10 days of about 49.5 and 49.2 % of Fortimi and Zarya, respectively. The vegetation period of Fortimi was 100-108 days and that of Zarya was 93-100 days. Fortimi has more equal plants by height, disc diameter and simultaneous flowering and maturing, high yield, resistance to drought and diseases, about 50-53% fat content of seeds. Zarya is fast-maturing, medium-drought-resistant, high-yielding and high-fat-content in seeds.

Zeolites and fertilizer treatments

The experiment was setup under field conditions.

Zeolites of the Chankanay deposits were applied in doses ranging from 1.0 to 5.0 tons per hectare. The zeolites contain more than 30 micro- and macroelements, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, molybdenum, copper, zinc, cobalt, etc. The field treatments included mineral Phosphorus fertilizers as a double granular superphosphate (Ca(H2PO4)2H2O)), the starting dose of which was 4.63 kg per plot of 71 m2. The P-fertilizer double superphosphate (P30) was applied in soil, in rows at the seeding of the sunflower seeds.

The experiment was conducted using a randomized design in three replications (Table 2). The sowing was carried out in warmed soil at t + 10-14 ° C at a depth of 10 cm with a seeding rate of 65,000 seeds / ha. In the spring harrowing was carried out to smooth the field surface, utilise moisture and destroy emerging weeds.

Table 2 - Scheme of the field experiment

Replication Treatment (Variants)
T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8
1 replication Control Р30 Zeolite 1 t/ha Zeolite 3 t/ha Zeolite 5 t/ha Zeolite 1 t/ha + Р30 Zeolite 3 t/ha + Р30 Zeolite 5 t/ha + Р30
2 replication Zeolite 5 t/ha Zeolite 1 t/ha + Р30 Zeolite 3 t/ha + Р30 Zeolite 5 t/ha + Р30 Control Р30 Zeolite 1 t/ha Zeolite 3 t/ha
3 replication Zeolite 3 t/ha Zeolite 1 t/ha Control Р30 Zeolite 1 t/ha + Р30 Zeolite 5 t/ha Zeolite 5 t/ha + Р30 Zeolite 3 t/ha + Р30

Parameters investigated  

  • Germination of seeds was determined by the formula:

where Пв is germination in %, Г is actual plant density on shoots in plants/м2, and Нв is seeding rate in seeds/м2.

The laboratory germination, germination energy, purity and weight of 1000 seeds were also determined in accordance with State Standard GOST 9672-61.

  • Plant height, (cm) – according to methodology of GSI (1983);
  • Leaf area - according to methodology of Nichiporovich A.A. (1961)
  • Yield of sunflower, (kg seeds /ha).

The data were processed statistically by using programmes Statistica and Excel and using multi-factorial Analysis of Variance (ANOVA).


The study showed a significant impact (at p<0,1 Figure 1) of combined effect of factors Year, Variety and Variant on sunflower germination (plants/1 m2). In 2015, the varietal specificity of Fortimi lead to a higher germination upon treatment with Zeolite 1t/ha, Zeolite 3 t/ha+P30 and Zeolite 5 t/ha+P30 compared to the Control. Interestingly, Zarya showed a significantly lower germination than Fortimi upon treatment with Zeolite 1 tons/ha+P30. In 2016 there was no difference between the variants with fertilization and control ones, and the germination is significantly lower than 2015.


Fig. 1 -  Impact of Year, Variety and Variant on field germination, plants/m2

The ANOVA showed insignificant (p>0.05) influence of the interactions of the main factors variety and variant on plant height (Figure 2). Nevertheless, as an average from 2015 and 2016, Zarya plants were the highest than plants of Fortimi variety, after treatment with Zeolite 5t/ha, Zeolite 1 t/ha+P30 and Zeolite 3 t/ha+P30.

The formation of high crop yields is largely determined by the area of the leaf surface and the photosynthetic potential (FP). The data show that Fortimi had a smaller leaf area than Zarya, at an average from 2015 and 2016 (Figure 3).


Fig. 2 – Impact of main factors Variety and Variant on sunflower height, averaged from 2015 and 2016.


Fig. 3 – Impact of Variety and Variant on sunflower leaf area, average2015/2016

The magnitude of the FP during the 2 years of investigation is shown in Figure 4.


Fig. 4 - The amount of photosynthetic potential of sunflower crops depending on the level of root nutrition, g day/ha

Тhe highest values of the FP showed Zarya and Fortimi in 2016, after treatment with Zeolite 1 t/ha+P30 and Zeolite 5 t/ha+P30. Such combinations changed FP for Fortimi in 2015 within 914.65-1390.11 g day/ha, and in 2016 within 2215.85-3349.7 g day/ha. The FP values signify good photosynthetic capacity of sunflower crops. The study found a clear stimulation effect of all treatments involving Zeolite on plants of Zarya variety (compared to control variant).

The impact of treatments on sunflower yields (Table 3) were profound in 2016 by variety Fortimi compared to Zarya upon application of P30 and Zeolite 1 t/ha+P30, i.e. 3,68 t/ha and 4,30 t/ha. In 2015, Fortimi yielded respectively 2.64 and 2.70 t/ha, upon application of P30 and Zeolite 1 t/ha+P30, compared to 1,54 t/ha and 1,33 t/ha produced by Zarya. However, in 2016 Zarya produced higher yields after applications of Zeolite 3 and 5 t/ha and all combinations with superphosphate.

Table 3 - Yield of seeds from two sunflower varieties, tons/ ha

Variant Fortimi Zarya
2015 2016 2015 2016
Control 2,29 2,17 1,11 2,14
Р30 2,64 4,30 1,33 2,45
Zeolite 1 tons/ha 2,70 3,68 1,54 2,07
Zeolite 3 tons/ha 2,32 2,87 1,82 3,55
Zeolite 5 tons/ha 2,10 2,47 1,55 3,03
Zeolite 1 tons/ha+Р30 2,48 2,27 1,88 3,00
Zeolite 3 tons/ha+Р30 2,62 2,70 1,49 3,17
Zeolite 5 tons/ha+Р30 3,03 3,19 1,48 3,33



The use of natural zeolites and mineral fertilizers contributed to a significant increase in the yield of sunflower seed hybrids of the main soil fertility index. It should be noted that the weather and soil conditions impact vegetation growth. Especially the moisture supply combined with specific variety traits, had a significant effect on yields, i.e. Fortimi in 2016 produced 3,68 t/ha even after additional feeding with the lowest dose of Zeolite 1 tons/ha and after a single Р30 application. These results can be attributed to the high field germination shown by Fortimi in 2015 and relatively good leaf area and FP after application of Zeolite 1 tons/ha and Zeolite 1 tons/ha+Р30 and Zeolite 5 tons/ha+Р30. Very good results were shown by variety Zarya (in conformity with Kolyagin and Hausov, 2002). In spite of low germination rate (i.e. in 2016), Zarya was able to produce tall plants with large leaf area and good FP that reflected in high yields after applications of Zeolite 3 and 5 t/ha and all combinations with superphosphate. It also points out the better adaptability of Zarya to vadiable climate and soil conditions and more efficient utilization of additional nutrient provided by zeolites.


The results showed that the introduction of natural zeolite in the soil affects the formation of high yield upon stimulation and improved growth of plant biomass (taller plants), leaf area and photosynthetic potential. It is also dependent on climate conditions. Effectiveness of zeolites increases after a joint application with mineral fertilizers (providing essential P for plants), which has a positive effect not only on crop yields, but also on soil fertility and nutrients provision.

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