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Sunflower plots?

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
Anyone ever mess around planting sunflowers? A friend has a friend that sells sunflowers commercially and is constantly fighting to keep deer out of his sunflower patches. I always thought it would be neat to drill a couple acres in. Anyone ever try? Results? Planting advice/rate?
 

Daver

PMA Member
I have planted them a few times...but have never really had any deer action in them. It is also true though that I have planted them very near my cabin and grain bins...so the deers may have shied away just due to the close proximity to human activity and buildings. I plant them for the birds...food and winter cover...and have had good results with tilling the soil, broadcasting and then lightly dragging the ground. I'll say that I cultipacked too, but am not 100% on that. I don't remember my planting rate, but I am pretty sure that I wasn't that scientific...load up the bag seeder and start walking. :)

I am sure you could drill them too, I just didn't have a drill myself until 1-1/2 years ago. If I do them this year, I will drill them. Somewhere in late August though...be ready for a MASSIVE goldfinch invasion. I could not believe how many migrating goldfinches would be in those sunflower plots...just incredible AND very, very beautiful to see a "wave" of gold flying out of the field as you approach it.
 

Bucksnbears

Well-Known Member
Deer will eat the hell outta them.
I've neverlanted them as I don't have a big enough spot but have hunted properties that plant them for many years.
I would not plant them unless it was at least 2 acres as they are planted in wider rows and quite far apart.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
Deer will eat the hell outta them.
I've neverlanted them as I don't have a big enough spot but have hunted properties that plant them for many years.
I would not plant them unless it was at least 2 acres as they are planted in wider rows and quite far apart.
hmmmm.... I wonder If a guy could run them thru a corn planter..... ?
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
I have planted them a few times...but have never really had any deer action in them. It is also true though that I have planted them very near my cabin and grain bins...so the deers may have shied away just due to the close proximity to human activity and buildings. I plant them for the birds...food and winter cover...and have had good results with tilling the soil, broadcasting and then lightly dragging the ground. I'll say that I cultipacked too, but am not 100% on that. I don't remember my planting rate, but I am pretty sure that I wasn't that scientific...load up the bag seeder and start walking. :)

I am sure you could drill them too, I just didn't have a drill myself until 1-1/2 years ago. If I do them this year, I will drill them. Somewhere in late August though...be ready for a MASSIVE goldfinch invasion. I could not believe how many migrating goldfinches would be in those sunflower plots...just incredible AND very, very beautiful to see a "wave" of gold flying out of the field as you approach it.
Variety?
 

JNRBRONC

Moderator
Decades ago, a farmer back home planted a field of them one year. He complained about the stubble puncturing tires. Not sure what variety he planted but it was a one time thing. I got hired to cut the volunteers out of his beans the next year.


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bigbuckhunter88

PMA Member
We planted a half acre or so one year. Cant say that I recall the deer being in them at all. The deer were typically in the adjoining corn and beans
 

2.5YR8

Active Member
We did a 1/4 acre of sunflowers last year. We used multiple varieties totaling about a pound of seed. The deer ate the seedlings for sure, but by the time the heads matured they were above reach. They were in them a lot during late season and after. The fox tail came in thick underneath the sunflowers, and deer were always bedded in it.

We tilled the plot twice, broadcast the seed, and packed it.
 

Oct-Lull

Well-Known Member
hmmmm.... I wonder If a guy could run them thru a corn planter..... ?
I plant them with a Kinze and finger pickups. Does a solid job. I use peredovic sunflowers and don't mess with tons of chemicals since I'm not dove hunting. I am going to mix them with iron clay cowpeas in a 1 acre plot this time out of my drill for an experiment. Deer really seem to like them when they are about a foot tall or less

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Duckriver

Active Member
Have planted about 10 acres each year for doves. Deer will eat them. They don't produce alot of tonnage of forage. Use a JD 7000 Finger planter and it does a good job with size 2 sunflower with a population around 18k.
Have drilled them but they produce smaller heads with same population.
I have mixed them with iron clay cowpeas to give the peas something to climb. Works very well for a warm season plot.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Have planted about 10 acres each year for doves. Deer will eat them. They don't produce alot of tonnage of forage. Use a JD 7000 Finger planter and it does a good job with size 2 sunflower with a population around 18k.
Have drilled them but they produce smaller heads with same population.
I have mixed them with iron clay cowpeas to give the peas something to climb. Works very well for a warm season plot.
that’s a great idea. Could spray with clethodim & crop oil for grasses & likely a few options for pre-emergent herbicides. Like the idea of vines working with the stalks of sunflowers. Proper fertility & weed control will be very important but this is great idea.
 

newfarmer

Member
We planted sunflowers last year, deer ate them right away, then didnt touch them until snow...then I found several antlers in the plots....nothing in my beans and corn....
 

LarryM

Member
that’s a great idea. Could spray with clethodim & crop oil for grasses & likely a few options for pre-emergent herbicides. Like the idea of vines working with the stalks of sunflowers. Proper fertility & weed control will be very important but this is great idea.
I've used Dual Magnum II (generic) as a pre-emergent on sunflowers and that works well. I'm going to try a blend of sunflowers, milo (safened) and lablab (inoculated) this year. Bought a Woods Superseeder last year, so should be able to get it all done in one pass. Will also be using foliar feeding (4-12-12 from Grandpa Rays).
 
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