Growing a sunflower field from scratch

Farming and rural life discussion forum. Cooking, hunting, gardening, fishing, critters, etc.

Moderator: Team Cub

duckpin
5+ Years
5+ Years
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 11:06 am
Zip Code: 06371
Tractors Owned: 1968 Cub Cadet 105

Growing a sunflower field from scratch

Postby duckpin » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:57 pm

Hello everyone,

I am hoping to pick your brains or research information on starting a sunflower field from scratch.

My wife and I are in the early stages of restoring and renovating her grandparents' house that they built in the 1940s. It is on 47 acres, most of which is woodland. However, we have roughly about an acre to the left of our driveway that leads down to a pond, and in the 1960s, this area held sheep. Thus, while overgrown, it has little in the way of large growth, such as trees (I mean, there are some, but I think they would be pretty simple to clear). I always have wanted to plant a sunflower field, and this area would be perfect for it. However, one cannot be more of a novice than I am when it comes to clearing, cultivating and planting something of that nature. Fortunately, I have the clearing part down, because my wife's cousins own a small horse/cow farm next to us and he has a brushcutter. However, in terms of cultivating and growing ... no clue.

I have a bag of soil that I am shipping off to the local university to get tested. I am assuming that at some point I'll need a Farmall Cub with a planter (preferably), and the necessary implements. Right now my only IH is a Cub Cadet 105 for mowing, though an IH tractor and pickup are in the plans. I was hoping you could share with me some things that I would need to do, what I would need, etc. Or, just as important, if you know of any websites where I can find this information. Right now, I'm really just curious how to turn overgrowth into a field that is ready for planting. I joke with my wife that we should call this 'Pricker Acres' because I believe we have half of the world's supply of prickers in this area. I took a walk around it Saturday (it was 65 degrees here in Connecticut ... unbelievable) and came out with a bunch of scratches and two ticks!

I have attached five photos. I know it is kind of hard to grasp the size of this, but you can get an idea for what we would like to do. Some of the trees near the road might gobble up the sunshine in the summer, so that will have to be evaluated. Right now our neighbors use these for their maple syrup production. Our local fire department asked if they could use our pond and said they would clean out all the dead wood, which we happily obliged.

Thanks for any help you can give.

Brian

33114037495_9675ab9ff3_z.jpg

33072489796_1e28376fe2_z.jpg

32957779092_373bfd2ac7_z.jpg

32957778432_8776b94a81_z.jpg

32957777812_049288046c_z.jpg

32298497413_bf77a0382f_z.jpg

User avatar
Don McCombs
Team Cub Mentor
Team Cub Mentor
Posts: 12827
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2003 6:45 am
Zip Code: 21550
Tractors Owned: "1950 Something" Farmall Cub
1957 Farmall Cub w/FH
1977 International Cub w/FH
1978 International Cub
1948 Farmall Super A
Circle of Safety: Y
Location: MD, Deep Creek Lake

Re: Growing a sunflower field from scratch

Postby Don McCombs » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:34 pm

You're on the right track in getting the soil samples analyzed for lime and fertilizer needs. Sounds like your wife's cousin can be of help with equipment needs initially. Next, I suggest that you visit your local County Extension office to get advice on growing sunflowers in your area. You don't say how large of an area you want to plant, but I assume it's probably not large enough to require harvesting with a combine. Once you get the soil tilled up, broadcast seeding will probably be the easiest method to use. Keep us posted.
Don McCombs
MD, Deep Creek Lake

Image
Proud Member of Maryland Chapter 39

outdoors4evr
5+ Years
5+ Years
Posts: 1203
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:44 pm
Zip Code: 48423
Tractors Owned: 184
Location: Davison, MI

Re: Growing a sunflower field from scratch

Postby outdoors4evr » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:02 am

For the first year, you may want to just clear the land, cut down the weeds and brush, chemically kill the weeds, and have it plowed (turned over). If your wife's cousin can't do the plowing, you can hire to have the land tilled. Advertisements on Craigslist for Garden Tilling can at least get you a quotation. Tilling or disking after plowing will produce a smoother field surface that is easier to plant.

As Dan mentioned, broadcast seeding is easiest. A drag can be used to cover the seed. Ideally the seeds are covered with 1.5" - 2" of soil. To get this result, plow, broadcast seed, then drag. The seeds will fall and get dragged into the troughs of the plowed field and the drag will pull soil from the high points of the plowed field onto the seeds in the troughs. You will end up with mostly rows of sunflowers.

Note: There are lots of different types of sunflower. The big ones get very stalky and will need to be brush hogged at the end of the season.
184 w/ Creeper & 3-Point
IH 3160a Mower
IH Model 15 Tiller

User avatar
Urbish
501 Club
501 Club
Posts: 1116
Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:45 pm
Zip Code: 48158
Tractors Owned: ~
1948 Farmall Cub
1947 Farmall H
1946 Farmall B
1953 Willys CJ3B
Circle of Safety: Y
Location: Manchester, MI

Re: Growing a sunflower field from scratch

Postby Urbish » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:01 am


Eugene
Team Cub Mentor
Team Cub Mentor
Posts: 16258
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2004 9:52 pm
Zip Code: 65051
Circle of Safety: Y
Location: Mo. Linn

Re: Growing a sunflower field from scratch

Postby Eugene » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:15 am

47 acres. Suggest your first tractor be something much larger than the IH Cub and with more modern provisions.

My son and I cleared a 16 acre pasture, over grown with mostly eastern red cedar. Cut the cedar off at ground level, piled, burned in winter. Also hired a dozer, working on adjacent farm, to clear around 1 1/2 acres.

Still working on about a 1/4 acre of assorted hard wood trees. We cut the trees off leaving about 4' of stump above ground. Herbicide to kill sprouts. Spray and mow around the stumps. Several years later, most roots rotted off, tractor and chain attached to the 4' stump, pull the stump out of the ground. The tree trunks and large limbs cut into fire wood. Smaller branches piled around the stump and burnt in winter.

Smaller clumps of hard wood trees, sprayed with herbicide to kill the trees. Larger single trees, built a fire around the base of the tree to kill it. Girdled the cedar trees below the first limb to kill them.

Planted sunflowers in a portion of the deer food plot. Turkey and other birds love sunflowers.
I have an excuse. CRS.

SONNY
10+ Years
10+ Years
Posts: 2860
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:26 pm
Zip Code: 61722

Re: Growing a sunflower field from scratch

Postby SONNY » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:38 pm

You can farm it the first year,-- IF you get a serious dozer with a root rake in there to remove the brush/shrubs/trees and weeds. The dozer can get about all of the nasty stuff out plus leaving the ground ready to disk and plant.----NOW,-- this probably won't be cheap or free, but it wont take long to clear that area. You can then get on to important things needing to be done. Don't know what custom dozer owners in your area charge, so you might want to check this method out before you invest in a lot of un-needed equipment. thanks; sonny
Image

Eugene
Team Cub Mentor
Team Cub Mentor
Posts: 16258
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2004 9:52 pm
Zip Code: 65051
Circle of Safety: Y
Location: Mo. Linn

Re: Growing a sunflower field from scratch

Postby Eugene » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:21 pm

Economic decision. Your time and labor vs. hiring a dozer. Some time ago it cost me $1000- for the dozer clearing about 1 1/2 acre. Probably took the dozer 2 to 3 hours. In this area getting a dozer operator to come out, or schedule a small job is a problem, unless they are working on adjacent property.

Quality, heavy duty weed eaters with brush blade will clear quite a bit of brush and weeds is short order.

Something else we used to clear land, kill weeds and brush, is a 15 gallon 12 volt sprayer with herbicide.
I have an excuse. CRS.

duckpin
5+ Years
5+ Years
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 11:06 am
Zip Code: 06371
Tractors Owned: 1968 Cub Cadet 105

Re: Growing a sunflower field from scratch

Postby duckpin » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:03 pm

Everyone,

Thanks for the replies. A big help so far. The total area that I plan to farm is about an acre, plus or minus. So it's not very big in the grand scheme of things.

I could have access to a bulldozer (this same cousin with the brush cutter is a commercial builder, so I'm sure he has access). Something to consider. Did IH make a broadcast spreader? Seems like the 172 and/or 174 planters are hard to come by in my research, though I would love to find one once I acquire a Cub.

I live in Connecticut about a mile from the shoreline. There is a very popular sunflower field about 45 minutes away called Buttonwood Farms that is a few acres in size. While not looking to do anything of that size, I'm hoping to get a good acre out of this. Being so close to a pond, I'm hoping that the soil will have plenty of nutrients.

What implements should I get besides a spreader?

Brian

Eugene
Team Cub Mentor
Team Cub Mentor
Posts: 16258
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2004 9:52 pm
Zip Code: 65051
Circle of Safety: Y
Location: Mo. Linn

Re: Growing a sunflower field from scratch

Postby Eugene » Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:31 am

duckpin wrote:What implements should I get besides a spreader?
I've had a 12 volt spreader for years. I think, designed to be ATV mounted. I mount it on a universal carrier. Spreads pelletized lime, fertilizer, and seeds.

Suggest waiting a while before purchasing a tractor and implements. Talk to neighbors for their suggestions. Make a long term plan for the property.

Check with your local state/federal farm and conservation agencies. My local one has equipment available, free loan. Also check for conservation programs and resources. Some programs have financial assistance and offer classes on different topics.
I have an excuse. CRS.

outdoors4evr
5+ Years
5+ Years
Posts: 1203
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:44 pm
Zip Code: 48423
Tractors Owned: 184
Location: Davison, MI

Re: Growing a sunflower field from scratch

Postby outdoors4evr » Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:40 am

184 w/ Creeper & 3-Point
IH 3160a Mower
IH Model 15 Tiller


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Farm Life and Better Half Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests