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Pre-plant Planning

Benefits of Planting Sunflowers Early

Trygg Olson, Field Sales Leader for Nuseed, offers planting tips for successful sunflower crop.

I like to see earlier planting for sunflowers. They can handle a little bit colder weather than soybeans and some other crops, and I’ve seen them going in as soon as early May. If you can get the seed in the ground early (or at least as early as your crop insurance lets you), there’s a good chance you’ll see better emergence, better stands, and plants that are a little shorter in stature. It’s also more likely you can get the crop killed off and safely put away in the bin before the blackbird migration goes through.

When it comes to planting, try to ensure the seed is placed at a one and three-quarter-inch to two-inch depth. You always want to make sure you have singulation and that the seeds are evenly spaced. With every skip, you’ll get a bigger head which may lead to slower dry down, and multiple seeds will produce a smaller head with smaller seeds that oftentimes can affect test weight or will just blow out the back of the combine.

When staring the season, it is also important for growers to ensure they’ve got the right seed for their growing area and contract, and right hybrid for their herbicide platform.