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Sunflower after wheat a great option

There are great opportunities for farmers in the High Plains to double crop sunflower after winter wheat this year due to limited plantings in the northern states. "Much of North Dakota and parts of South Dakota are saturated from consistent rains and the window for planting sunflower is closing very soon," said Tom Young president of the National Sunflower Association board of directors. "There are areas in northern North Dakota that are completely flooded out and roads are impassable. Only limited planting of any crop has occurred in many areas," said Young a farmer from Onida, South Dakota.

The window for planting sunflower in parts of the High Plains region varies with geography but extends into early to mid-July, according to agronomists like Ron Meyer of Colorado State University located in Burlington. "The key item is having a reasonable profile of soil moisture to get even and quick emergence".

Chad Godsey of Oklahoma State University says that a preplant burndown is necessary and he prefers an herbicide like Spartan with Prowl H2O for early-season weed control. He also highly recommends making sure adequate nitrogen is available.

Karl Esping, who double crops sunflower in the Lindsborg, Kan., area says that prices in the $30 to $40 range are very common now in most of the production area. "I can't predict prices but a 1,000 pound yield can fetch a very good return at those price levels," says Esping.

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