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Field of sunflowers

consider growing sunflowers!

crop diversification

Sunflowers are an excellent choice for crop diversification! Monocultures do not happen in nature and soil microbiology thrives on variety. Sunflowers work well in a rotation with other common Midwestern crops, such as corn, soybeans, and wheat. Sunflowers and corn are especially harmonious, because of the favorable relationship between the microorganisms and fungi unique to each plant species - what the corn and sunflower root systems have in common complements each other, and what each lacks is filled in by the other. 

drought-tolerant

Sunflowers can handle drought stress better than most crops because of their proven ability to utilize every available drop of water. Sunflowers are particularly effective at rooting deeper than many crops to access extra supplies of moisture, especially in sandy loam soils. The soil channels created by the deep root systems of sunflowers allow water to go deeper into the soil profile, which protects existing moisture by making it less vulnerable to evaporation loss. 

improve soil health

Sunflowers have a robust root system that allows them to scavenge nutrients from soil layers that many crop species cannot reach. The sunflower tap root acts as an elevator that brings nutrients, microbes, and water from deeper soil layers closer to the soil surface for subsequent crops to have better access to. 

Sunflowers are a great crop for soil conservation, much of which can be accredited to their root structure and deep tap root. Their root structure holds soil together, alleviates soil compaction, and biologically breaks through soil layers, which reduces the need for conventional tillage practices. Sunflowers also improve overall field conditions because they soften and break the ground up for improved planting conditions.

reduce weed competition & fertilizer inputs

Sunflowers' vigorous growth and robust size make it very competitive with most weeds. sunflower after corn can further reduce weed competition and fertilizer inputs. Planting sunflowers after corn has a big advantage - because you heavily fertilize corn, sunflowers tend to take less fertilizer. After corn, the field is pretty clean. With no weeds in the sunflower field, you get a better stand and no weed competition for the crop.

shorter season

Sunflowers have a shorter season than most crops, so they can be planted later or harvested earlier, helping to spread out the workload. Part of the versatility of sunflowers is that they can be planted as early as corn or fairly late, even later than soybeans. Because sunflowers can be planted later, they may be a great choice for bottom ground that doesn't dry out until early summer.

pollinator friendly

Sunflowers provide nectar for the pollinators that are vital to creating and maintaining the ecosystems that are critical for human food supplies. Without pollinators, ecosystems are less resilient due to biodiversity losses, increases in invasive species, and reductions in crops and natural vegetation.

 

The heath of pollinators and people are interdependent. In the United States, scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of food exists because of animal pollinators like bees, butterflies, moths birds, and other beneficial insects that love sunflowers. Bees prefer flowers that they can walk on to sip nectar - like sunflowers! Butterflies and moths need a place to land on the flowers that they visit, so they prefer broad, flat-faced flowers - like sunflowers! Sunflowers also contribute to excellent honey production in nearby beehives .

 

Sunflowers are an ideal pollinator to plant because out of all the major field crops grown in the Midwest, only sunflowers are native to the United States. Native crops evolved with local pollinators and thrive under the conditions of their native region. Increased yields and higher quality crops are benefits that both growers and consumers can realize from a healthy pollinator population!

 

contact chad at chad@smudeoil.com or

320-468-6925 for more information! 

scheduling & moisture disclaimers

All seed deliveries must be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance. Seed deliveries that show up without an appointment may be refused.

 

All seed must be tested for moisture, and the result must be communicated prior to being delivered.

 

Any seed with moisture higher than 10% is subject to deductions and/or refusal.