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It's now a week later and we've had some more rain. Our field appears to be
in great shape. As a matter of fact, maybe too good. There are too
many plants! I was afraid that our planter was planting too many seeds and
it looks like I was right. I was wanting about 22,000 plants per acre.
I'll have to do some hand thinning to reduce the number of plants per acre.
Planting rates or plant populations per acre for oilseed sunflowers vary
across the state. In western Kansas, farmers shoot for 16,000 to 20,000
plants per acre, while in eastern Kansas the range will be from 17,000 to
24,000 plants per acre. On irrigated land the plant population will be
from 22,000 to 26,000 plants per acre. Generally, planting rates for
confectionary sunflower are 3,000 to 5,000 plants per acre lower than
oilseeds because we want the seed to be larger.
This plant is already at the V4 stage. That means it has four true leaves above the two cotyledons. The first few leaves are opposite each other, but as more leaves develop the leaves are arranged in an alternating pattern up the stem.
From this angle we are looking into the whorl or the growing point. You can see new leaves forming that will eventually enlarge to form full-size leaves. How many leaves do you think these plants will develop . . . 15? 20? 25? 30? We'll have to wait and see!
I can't say I was wanting to see this plant in our field. It sort of looks like a sunflower plant, doesn't it? Well, it isn't, it's a cocklebur plant. This is a tough weed to get out of a sunflower field. We will be hoeing them out pretty soon.