In Mexico, in the last five years, there was a 189.50 to 13 219.84 hectares increase in sunflower crop surface under rainfed conditions. Particularly, in 2016, in the state of Guanajuato, approximately 450 hectares were planted. Cultivation under rainfed conditions requires planning including bioclimatic variables to reach the optimal crop yield and development. This work aims to identify bioclimatic potential areas for sunflower cultivation under rainfed conditions in Guanajuato. In autumn-winter 2016, 45 sunflower fields (distributed in eleven towns) were monitored and stratified. Crop yield associated with maximum and minimum temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, precipitation, and evapotranspiration were recorded. The data from fields with a higher yield than 1.89 t/ha were used to generate polygons with a saturation of 56 abundance points, to calculate the potential distribution using the Maxent software, with 23 bioclimatic variables as predictors. The variables with the highest contribution percentage to the potential distribution were: average temperature of the driest quarter, altitude, moisture regime, and edaphic profile. The potential areas for sunflower cultivation had a surface of 317 028 hectares where the predominant climate is sub-humid warm, the annual mean temperature is 20 °C, the annual mean rainfall is 600 to 800 mm, and the altitude ranges from 500 to 1500 masl.

Keywords: Helianthus annuus, climatic factors, climate zones, crop yield.