There are many variables that influence sunflower seed production, but the one thing that growers can do to guarantee themselves a good sunflower crop happens before they even place the first seed in the ground. To get a good stand, they must set up their planters for success.
Larry Kleingartner, executive director of the National Sunflower Association, explained his organization recently sponsored a research project to determine the effects of planter calibrations on sunflower stands because of input from farmers. One of the top concerns of growers is seed spacing accuracy, he said.
"What growers want to avoid is having two or three seeds planted in the same spot," Kleingartner said. "You can have three plants come up and essentially become weeds and compete against each other for inputs. You walk a field in the fall and you'll see a six-foot space with weeds because a seed didn't drop or didn't germinate. Then, you see the impact on yield that big skips and doubles or triples can have in a field."