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General view June 25, 2003Our field is in great shape. The plants still have that dark green color. There are no weeds, or at least very few and I can't see them now. It's a cloudy day and there's a chance for rain. 

Leaf plant stage 14This plant is in the V14 stage and the whorl or growing point is about 22 or 23 inches above the soil surface. You can see holes in various leaves. The grasshoppers are still around. 

19,000 plant per acreThis gives us an idea of how many plants per acre we have. After hand thinning plants earlier in the month, we ended up with about 19,000 plants per acre. This is a little lower than I wanted, but we should be okay.  You're probably wondering how I came up with that number. Because we are in 30 inch row spacings, if I measure 17 feet, 4 inches of a row, I know that area (30 inches x 17 feet, 4 inches) equals 1,000th of an acre.  So, by counting the number of plants in that area and multiplying that number by 1,000 we'll have our plant population. I made several counts across the field and then averaged the counts.

Double plantsDo you remember when I mentioned that farmers don't like plants too close together or doubles? Well, here's a double and you can see the plants are smaller and a little more spindly.  These plants will develop smaller flower heads. 

30 inch skipThis is something else farmers don't like to see . . . big skips between plants.  The plants will compensate for the big skip by producing larger flower heads. But given the choice, farmers would prefer that plants are evenly spaced and they have uniform head size.  

LadybugThis is something farmers like to see.  Ladybugs are beneficial insects because they prey on damaging insects. Of course, by the time you find ladybugs the other insects may have already caused their damage. Sunflower fields are magnets for attracting insects! As you might expect not all those insects are ones we like to see.