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General View - Sept. 29, 2003We still have some leaves hanging on, but the plants are drying-- just not too fast. You can see bird damage on almost every head.  Do you think our field looks the same as it did a couple weeks ago?  Check out the pictures below and see what you think.  


General View Comparison- Sept. 29, 2003

I compared today's picture with the September 15 picture and I was surprised with the difference in the two weeks.  (The September 15 picture is on the left.)  The plants have lost leaves and look much drier.


Back of heads - Sept. 29, 2003The back of the heads continue to turn brown and dry down.  Drying can be a real problem in sunflower-- the seeds are ready to be harvested but leaves and stems are still green and wet.  When farmers get into this situation, they use a herbicide or desiccant that will defoliate the leaves. The herbicide will be applied by an airplane. With the leaves gone, plants dry quickly and the field can be harvested.  We can't justify using an airplane to dry-down our one acre field.


Off Type - Sept. 29, 2003This plant is still blooming! What's going on here?  This plant appears to be a wild type, but it isn't. This is an off-type or rather it's from seed that should not have been saved. It's from the pollen-providing plants in the hybridizing process. Any seed produced from these plants are not saved, but obviously, some seed got into our seed source. There were several off-type plants in our field and we saw an example earlier in the year.