Pyrethrum Farming Conditions

A Challenging Crop

Wherever pyrethrum is grown, experience has shown there are numerous challenges to overcome as compared to many other crops.  The balance between the Pyrethrum plant itself, environment, and harvesting issues must be closely optimized in order to produce pyrethrum cost effectively.  The plant can be highly sensitive to soil and temperature conditions along with the usual weather sensitivity common for many crops.  The evidence of the difficulty is shown by the more than a dozen different regions/countries that have tried to grow pyrethrum, yet today it is commercially grown in only three main areas:  East Africa, China, and Australia.   

In East Africa and Australia, Pyrethrum is planted as a perennial and typically left in a particular plot for 3 to 5 years, before crop rotation.  The length of time is often dependant on pyrethrum production volume in a given year.  The first year product is usually about 2/3rds of the 2nd year flower production and Pyrethrum yields.  Years 3 through 5 are similar to the 2nd year, dependent on clones, weather and related environmental conditions.  Typically after 4 or 5 years it is best to rotate a field out of pyrethrum as production yield can drop significantly.  Most vegetable crops do extremely well following pyrethrum.  China has used both perennial cropping and annual cropping via seedlings.