Last year Bob Scott, Arkansas Extension weed specialist, and several of his co-workers took some of the information we had put together years ago on sunflowers for dove hunting and greatly improved it. It is now in a fact sheet, FSA2150, available on-line or through any county Extension office in Arkansas.
They also have a weed control section for sunflowers in the MP44. Therefore, instead of writing a full article on the subject as I have the past couple of years, the best information I can give you is to get the FSA2150: Growing Sunflowers for Dove Hunting.
Now is the time to plant sunflowers so they will be ready in plenty of time. I much prefer the black oilseed hybrids over the open pollinated types, but I have seen successful hunts over both. I know one source for the hybrids is James Taylor at Delta King Seed in McCrory, Ark. I am sure there are others.
Do not plant them too thick — usually about 4 to 5 pounds of seed per acre on the black oilseed types. I usually put some mixed fertilizer out during seedbed preparation and also hit them with some nitrogen when they are 6 to 12 inches tall.
The best weed control program seems to be Prowl or Treflan incorporated followed by Spartan immediately after planting or a Dual plus Spartan tank mix immediately after planting.
Even on Clearfield sunflowers, a pre-emergence application of Spartan will greatly improve the broadleaf weed control.
Switching topics, I remind everyone that the new glyphosate regulations in Arkansas have a 10 mph wind speed restriction for both air and ground applications. I challenge you to see if you can prevent me or any of my co-workers in the public or private sectors from having to walk a single glyphosate complaint this year.
Input costs are high. The fertilizer situation sure has a bad smell to it all of a sudden. It seems the only way a farmer has of sneaking up on a good year is for something to happen that causes commodity prices to go up after the crop is made.
There is no excuse for all of these “shortages” when corn planting intentions have been known since harvest last year. The whole situation seems to have ‘shaft the farmer” written all over it.
When glyphosate gets on seedling rice, the rice often recovers but requires extra inputs. Last year, it was documented that recovery costs ran $50 to $75 per acre in extra fertilizer, flushing and weed control costs. With fertilizer and fuel prices up this year, the costs will be even higher. In short, a farmer simply cannot afford to have seedling rice hit with glyphosate this spring.
In addition to seedling rice this year, there can also be drift issues on corn and grain sorghum. For the past few years, most of the corn was Roundup Ready — often planted for reasons of self defense on drift.
With the acreage increase this year, there will be some fields of conventional corn. Therefore it will be wise to ask a neighbor if his corn is Roundup Ready. If you are the guy with the conventional corn, you may be wise to inform your neighbors your corn is conventional.
There is projected to be a large increase in grain sorghum acres. Therefore, what you assume is a Roundup Ready corn field may be a grain sorghum field. Glyphosate drift will eat grain sorghum up.
There can never be enough regulations put into place to prevent all of the drift problems. Most of them can be prevented simply with good communication among neighbors and by treating the neighbor's crop like it was yours, and using good common sense.
A lot of rice is in the ground. Hopefully you have a residual herbicide out and have it activated. If not, be sitting on the next moisture event and get some residual out in front of it. Early postemergence time is rapidly approaching and I will get on that next week.