Growing Sunflowers in Kent

Farmer Roy

Member
Arable Farmer
Winter crop or summer crop

imho in the U.K. our climate does not suit
Sunflowers grain maize soya beans

we should concentrate on crops that suits our climate unfortunately regulations are preventing us from growing oil seed rape because of pests consequently the U.K. now imports half its rapeseed needs we were self sufficient a few years ago

we have 2 seasons for sunflowers - either as a spring crop planted in September, or a summer crop planted in Dec / Jan. Depends a bit on rotations & which oilseed markets ( polyunsaturated or hioleic ) you are aiming for
 
Roy, are there post-emergent herbicides you can use in Aus for sunflowers? I know the USA has or maybe had clearfield sunflowers??

I was told by a couple of Americans that sunflowers are the number 1 crop for combine fires over in their country.

We have Clearfield and SU tolerant varieties over here in France including some "100 day" types that might be suitable for the UK. The real market for these types here is for second cropping after grass silage or even barley/winter peas etc . You need warmth though and a bit of luck to do this. A lot more will be trying it this year given the prices. If you don't cut them you can always say to the neighbours they were just a green manure.

Pre emergence on non herbicide tolerant types you could also use Butisan or Novall though probably not legal in UK.
 

Oat

Member
Location
Cheshire
Weed control and end market are the main issues. There aren't really any post em herbicide options for BLW control, and limited pre-em options, so you need to chose fields with low/specific weed burden. In France they have specific varieties tolerant to SU and imazamox herbicides, but these varieties and product uses aren't in the UK.

If growing for PYO or mazes, you may make some ££, or if you can harvest and sell for bird seed. I'm not sure how easy it is to sell for oil, or what the quality is.

There is a lot of info from Arvalis and Terres Inovia in France for growing them, autonomy, seed density, harvest timing etc... all in French, but Google translate is your friend
 
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Weed control and end market are the main issues. There aren't really any post em herbicide options for BLW control, and limited pre-em options, so you need to chose fields with low/specific weed burden. In France they have specific varieties tolerant to SU and imazamox herbicides, but these varieties and product uses aren't in the UK.

If growing for PYO or mazes, you may make some ££, or if you can harvest and sell for bird seed. I'm not sure how easy it is to sell for oil, or what the quality is.

There is a lot of info from Arvalis in France for growing them, autonomy, seed density, harvest timing etc... all in French, but Google translate is your friend
Use google chrome, go to settings and language and it will auto translate the whole page, just not pdf’s
 

Badshot

Member
Location
Kent
We have Clearfield and SU tolerant varieties over here in France including some "100 day" types that might be suitable for the UK. The real market for these types here is for second cropping after grass silage or even barley/winter peas etc . You need warmth though and a bit of luck to do this. A lot more will be trying it this year given the prices. If you don't cut them you can always say to the neighbours they were just a green manure.

Pre emergence on non herbicide tolerant types you could also use Butisan or Novall though probably not legal in UK.
100 day types?
Is that 100 days from planting to harvest?
 
100 day types?
Is that 100 days from planting to harvest?
Pioneer (amongst others) had a breeding program a few years back specifically looking at varieties for double cropping which they called "Alterna". The idea was to find sunflowers and maize varieties that matured fast enough to allow them to be planted after barley etc. I had a go about ten years ago when sunflower prices last went ballistic and might try again this year after silage though not barley, we are just a bit too late. We planted a pioneer variety (P62LL109) in late june and probably could have got them cut in early october if we hadn't been busy drilling cereals, we did harvest them eventually can't remember when and if my memory is correct we got about 1.2T/ha after the birds/wild boar etc all had a go at them.

May be pioneer might like someone to trial them in the UK? The problem you might find is that ultra early seed is selling out fast because everyone is on the band wagon this year.

Someone also mentioned a bat reel. It is possible to fashion a "home made" bat reel for sunflowers by removing every other tube on the reel and attaching some light weight planks to the tubes so they hang down and touch the tines. I'll look for a photo. We actually use strips of laminated fake wooden floor for this. The sort of clip together stuff. Its more flexible and lighter than wood.

1650453898524.png
 

Exfarmer

Member
Location
Bury St Edmunds
Pioneer (amongst others) had a breeding program a few years back specifically looking at varieties for double cropping which they called "Alterna". The idea was to find sunflowers and maize varieties that matured fast enough to allow them to be planted after barley etc. I had a go about ten years ago when sunflower prices last went ballistic and might try again this year after silage though not barley, we are just a bit too late. We planted a pioneer variety (P62LL109) in late june and probably could have got them cut in early october if we hadn't been busy drilling cereals, we did harvest them eventually can't remember when and if my memory is correct we got about 1.2T/ha after the birds/wild boar etc all had a go at them.

May be pioneer might like someone to trial them in the UK? The problem you might find is that ultra early seed is selling out fast because everyone is on the band wagon this year.

Someone also mentioned a bat reel. It is possible to fashion a "home made" bat reel for sunflowers by removing every other tube on the reel and attaching some light weight planks to the tubes so they hang down and touch the tines. I'll look for a photo. We actually use strips of laminated fake wooden floor for this. The sort of clip together stuff. Its more flexible and lighter than wood.

View attachment 1030390
even with a fabricated Bat reel as you have, we did similar out of folded galvanised sheet, a Reynolds reel does not work the same and quickly can become very tangled if you are not careful. the action of the tines spinning ng 360 every turn of the reel ensures this. Oh for the days when we had 2 really for the old 726 though I can't remember the bat reel going on very often ;)
 

Ginger2022

Member
Arable Farmer
Thank you to everyone for your help on this. To keep everyone up to date, we have planted 5 acres and after some rain they have just started to sprout. I'll be watching the pigeons now!
 

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100 day sunflowers 3 weeks after drilling. These were planted after a cut of hay the last week of may. The land had been in grass for 7 years and didn't turn over very well so I am pleased with the result even if the germination is a bit patchy. They had a litre/ha of Novall pre emergence. The drill used I would add is nearly 40 years old and is not that great at maintaining an even depth.

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
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