Dryland farmers of the summer rainfall belt, crop significant quantities of sunflowers for the edible oil seed industry. Quick growing varieties have been developed and can survive a large variety of soil types. Farmers with lighter sandy soils have a better chance of success with sunflowers than with grain sorghum if they require a summer cash crop. The major pests are Galahs and cockatoos. The yield is only about half that expected from grain sorghum, however, as the market potential is good they are a good proposition in the summer rainfall belt.

Other oilseed crops include canola, soybeans and safflower. Sunflower and soybeans are summer crops while the others are winter crops. In Australia oilseeds are crushed for their oil which is used for edible and industrial purposes and for protein meal in livestock feed.

The 1990s saw the emergence of canola as the main oilseed crop with production increasing from about 70 000 tonnes in 1990-91 to a high of 2.5m tonnes in 1999-00. Canola production accounted for over 95% of the total Australian oilseed crop of 907 000 tonnes in 2002-03.

Before the emergence of canola the main specialist oilseed crop was sunflower seed. Peanuts and cotton are alo major sources of oil as a by product to their main output which is food and fibre respectively.