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Subject: Sunflower picker

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Bryan S (WI)    Posted 09-06-2016 at 17:38:27 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Sunflower picker
  • Hello,
    I've been posting on the N forum about restoring my 1948 8N, however, I'm also and recently the proud owner of a good running fully original (but rusty) 1958 Ford 861 (with power steering and a 711 loader). Part of the deal with my wife for acquiring this tractor was that I had to promise to plant a sunflower field on a 4 acre parcel we own. I've done plenty of alfalfa, soy and hay in my younger days working on the farm but I don't know anything about sunflower planting and harvesting equipment. I'm also committed to using the 861 for these tasks so no special harvesters, etc. So here are my questions, sorry there's a lot :

    * Will a corn picker work for sunflowers or do I have to look for a specific "sunflower" picker?
    * Can a normal corn picker be easily modified for sunflowers?
    * What are the common/best/easiest to get parts manufacturers for vintage/antique pickers (I like using equipment form the same era as the tractor)
    * Did Dearborn make such an attachment?
    * Will my 861 handle a 2 row picker, could I do three (if they exist) or should I use one row?
    * Does one typically use a grain drill to plant sunflowers?

    Thanks in advance for any help and/or direction!

    Kirk-NJ    Posted 09-17-2016 at 04:27:17 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Sunflower picker
  • Can't really help you with your problem. I plant a couple/few dozen sunflowers each year, basically to feed the birds over the winter and i also roast some up for snacks. Got the seeds from a friend years ago. These suckers are big. Stand 10'/12' high. Planted them with a one row corn planter on the back of the farmall cub but since I don't have the right seed plate I took the hopper off and have a funnel that i just drop the seeds in one at a time. It still beats planting them by hand.
    They were just about ready to harvest and I figured I would pick them after I got back from a 10 vacation. After the trip I could believe it there was nothing left. The squirrels, birds, chipmunks and even the woodchucks climbed a 6' fence, I seen him climb down the wooden fence post, demolish every head. Luckily my friend had planted seeds I gave him so he gave me a half dozen heads so I'll have seeds for next year and some to roast, the birds are on there own this winter.


    Ernie N Ky    Posted 09-14-2016 at 21:47:08 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Sunflower picker
  • I would think a combine would be the preferred harvesting method. I don't know that a corn picker would snap the heads off well as they're pretty tough plants but it may. I do know the chemicals for spraying sunflowers are expensive. Most people around here just grow them for the doves. A grain drill will plant them. Good luck!

    Bryan S (WI)    Posted 09-15-2016 at 21:09:06 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Sunflower picker
  • Thanks for the reply Ernie. Do you have a pull type combine that you might recommend? I've heard good things about the All-Crop 72 but I'm not sure if I could find the parts/trays to get it setup for sunflowers or how hard maintenance is on them. I'm also not sure how I'd transport an All-Crop even if I found a descent one :)

    I'm not familiar with the chemicals either, can you comment on what's required? Thanks!

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