Sunflowers proving to be good crop for Idalou farmer

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Updated: 9/03/2013 11:12 am
It is sunflowers as far as the eye can see on Becton Reid's farm near Idalou.  

Reid planted the sunflowers after losing his cotton crop to storms back in June and the sunflower crop is looking promising to produce a good harvest. 

When it comes to how many acres Reid plants comes down to what he gets a contract for from a seed company. 

"It depends year-to-year what we get," Reid said. "We just have to talk to the seed company and then they divvy up how much we get to plant, other farmers get to plant and this year we have about 200 acres of them." 

There are many uses for sunflower seeds including the kind you see sold in the stores but this field of sunflowers will be harvested for a different use.  

"These sunflowers are for replanting for production," Reid said. "These will be harvested and used for next year to plant a field just like this and then there's oil sunflowers and then there's seed sunflowers. So those are your three main uses for sunflowers." 

Well just like any other crop sunflowers need a good amount of water to turn a decent harvest when it comes time. 

And for Reid the rain earlier in August really helped his crop along. 

"It was really nice, it was kind of a surprise to me wasn't expecting rain but it looks like this crop is going to do well," Reid said. "I'm hoping for a 1,000 pounds an acre. Wasn't expecting that at all on this field, hopefully we can get that and maybe more. It looks like it's going to be a good field." 

Now that his crop has really taken off you can notice a difference between sunflowers in certain areas. 

Some sunflowers have bigger plant bases and bigger flowers, while others have a taller stand with smaller flower. 

One is a female and the other is a male sunflower and they both have to be planted at the right time to ensure a good crop.

"The males are just there to pollinate, you plant those later than the females and what happens is bees come in and they pollinate from the male to the female  and then you come in and you shred the males," Reid said. "The males aren't harvested, the females are harvested and so there's no use for the male sunflower other than preparing the female to be harvested." 

Right now Reid said the bees have slowly started to pollinate the sunflowers, but when it comes to getting ready to harvest sunflowers the plants will let you know when they are ready to go.

"We'll probably shred these males in the next couple weeks depending, sunflowers are funny they kind of know what time of year it is," Reid said. "Even though we planted them late they're really shooting up and pollinating quick. So probably in the next three weeks we'll shred and then it'll be another month until we harvest after that." 

So in the next month Reid will find out exactly what this field will yield and even though he lost his original crop in cotton, these yellow sunflowers might be the light at the end of the tunnel with the promise of a good harvest within reach.

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