Safflower (Baldy)


Bulk Discount Pricing

2 - 9 lbs.
$1.46 / lb.
10 - 19 lbs.
$1.30 / lb.
20 - 29 lbs.
$1.14 / lb.
30 - 39 lbs.
$0.97 / lb.
40 - 49 lbs.
$0.81 / lb.
50+ lbs.
$0.65 / lb.
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Safflower is a drought tolerant, annual, warm season broadleaf that can be seeded in cool soils. Safflower is exceptional at breaking hard pans, encouraging water and air movement into the soil profile, as well as scavenging nutrients from depths unavailable to most agronomic crops. It is capable of doing this due to its impressive taproot which has been observed to grow 8-10 feet in ideal conditions.  Safflower provides excellent forage for grazing but most varieties become prickly with maturity, rendering the plants unpalatable for livestock. Baldy safflower is one of the world’s first spineless safflower varieties and has been developed specifically for grazing and cover crops. Baldy can be handled with bare hands even at maturity and is palatable for livestock grazing. Green Cover Seed owns the exclusive marketing rights for Baldy spineless safflower.

Basic Info

4-6 weeks after wheat maturity:110-140 days
C/N Ratio
Growth Habit
Erect Branching
Winter Hardiness
Zone 9a in rosette growth stage


Safflower is an annual, warm season broadleaf that’s in the same plant family as sunflower. Historically safflower has been grown throughout the great plains as an oilseed and birdseed crop due to its suitability to semi-arid regions. Though safflower resembles a thistle, it doesn't pose a weed risk due to its long maturity date, no hard seed count and easily controlled. Safflower can provide excellent forage but it really needs to be harvested before mid bud-early flowering growth stages because the leaves can become very prickly with maturity. Mature prickly leaves will actually discourage most grazing animals from consuming the plant. In fact safflower has been used as a border crop to deter undesirable wildlife such as hogs and deer from entering a cash crop field. Having even just 2-3 rows of mature safflower around the boundary has been proven to keep cattle from entering a field.

Nitrogen Fixing Potential
N Scavenge
Dry Matter
Lasting Residue
Erosion Control
Traffic Bearing
Grazing Potential
Forage Harvest
Root Type
Tap Root
Soil Builder
Cash Crop Interseeding

*Based on a 1-10 scale. 1 = Poor : 5 = Average : 10 = Excellent


What really sets safflower apart from all other species is its exceptionally deep taproot which has been observed to reach depths of 8-10 ft in ideal conditions. This deep taproot can break hard pans, encouraging water and air movement into the soil profile, as well as scavenge nutrients from depths unavailable to most agronomic crops. Safflower is an excellent crop to grow in a cereal crop rotation to successfully break common root disease issues such as take-all and crown rot. Incredibly safflower is one of few crops that are resistant to all root lesion nematodes. A spring planted safflower will flower around mid to late July for 2-3 weeks which provides flowers highly desirable to pollinator species. Farmers growing safflower commonly experience low pest pressure and notice an increase in beneficial organisms such as spiders, ladybugs and lacewings. Safflower forage is not only highly palatable and nutritious in young growth stages but was proven to increase fertility in grazing ewes.

Surface Compaction
Rendering P & K
Traffic Bearing
Nematode Control
Disease Control
Allelopathic Effect
Weed Control
Short Growth Time

*Based on a 1-10 scale. 1 = Poor : 5 = Average : 10 = Excellent


Though safflower has the ability to thrive in semi-arid climates due to its extensive taproot, that root can extract large amounts of subsoil moisture to meet the plants high water use demands. This semi-arid crop can be susceptible to root rot in waterlogged soils and foliar diseases in humid/wet climates. Planting large amounts of safflower in a mixture is discouraged in crop rotations involving sunflower, mustard, canola, field pea or dry beans because its a host for white mold. Slow emergence and initial growth causes safflower to not be very competitive in its earlier growth stages. Safflower can be susceptible to chemical damage from long residual broadleaf herbicides from the previous crop.

Weed Potential
Potential Insect/Nematode Risk
Crop Disease Risk
Effect Cash Crop
Ease of Establishment
Ease of Till-Kill
Ease of Chem-Kill
Ease of Mow-Kill

*Based on a 1-10 scale. 1 = Poor : 5 = Average : 10 = Excellent


Safflower is really unique because its a warm season species that can germinate at soil temperatures comparable to most cool season species. Depending on soil temperatures, it can take between 1-3 weeks just for plant emergence. After emergence, safflower will remain in the rosette growth stage for 2-3 weeks. Though safflower can be planted early, it will perform better planting from mid April- mid May. Any planting after mid May won’t likely have enough growing season to produce viable seed except in longer growing season regions. With a 38# test weight and seed size comparable to barley, the same drill settings can be utilized to achieve your desired seeding rate. Soil crusting and planting over 1 ½” deep can be detrimental to establishing safflower. Planting into moisture is critical to get this species established but once its taproot is settled, moisture is a minimal concern.

Ideal Planting Time
April - Early May or August
Ideal Planting Depth
1 - 1 1/2"
Min Germination Temp(F)
Drilled Seeding Rate (lb./A)
Broadcast Seeding Rate (lb./A)
Reseeding Potential


Once established, safflower can perform even with extreme stress from heat, drought, wind or hail. A deep, fertile, well-drained soil with a high water holding capacity, is ideal for safflower production. After establishment, safflower is much more drought tolerant than small grains due to its ability to extract moisture from deep in the soil profile. That’s what makes safflower production ideal in regions that receive 15’ or less of annual rainfall. Sandier soils can be tolerated if moisture is consistently available, unlike wet soils where safflower will struggle to survive due to root rot. During the young rosette growth stage, temperatures as low as 18-20F can be tolerated but after stem elongation temperatures below 25F will terminate the crop. Safflower has good salinity tolerance similar to barley, very low pest pressure and prefers neutral-alkaline soils.

Wet Soil Tolerance
Low Fertility

*Based on a 1-10 scale. 1 = Poor : 5 = Average : 10 = Excellent