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Beyond the Planter

It’s not all about the planter.

There are other important factors to take into consideration other than just having your planter ready when heading into the field to plant your sunflower fields. It is also important to pay close attention to soil temperature, seed to soil contact and what sort of seedbed you are planting into.

Soil Temperature
  • Soil temperature needs to be at 50°F or more for your chosen soil depth (1.5 to 2.5 inches). Planting sunflower seed into cold soils may cause seed to go into dormancy causing delayed germination.
Seed Depth
  • If planting deeper than two inches, consider increasing planting population. Percent emergence will decrease as planting depth is increased.

Confection sunflowers should never be planted deeper than two inches.

Seed to Soil Contact
  • Make sure soil is pressed firmly against the seed at planting and the furrow is closed following seed placement. This is important in all crops, but particularly for sunflower. Moisture first needs to get through the woody hull and then to the seed. Poor seed to soil contact will result in uneven emergence. Even seed spacing is crucial when it comes to sunflowers.
Planting into No-till
  • Stop and check incrementally that the planter is knifing into the soil.
  • Planting into a field with wet residue can cause “hair pinning” – pushing straw into the seed slot instead of slicing through it.
  • Row cleaners should be able to move residue away for the furrow to prevent hair pinning. With air drills very little can be done, wait for better conditions.