Best plot I've ever had.


5 year old buck +
In mid July I planted AWP and mixed in some sunflowers because a bag had gotten a bit wet in a major rain.(leaked under door) The way deer have been hitting this plot is unbelievable. Nipping off the flowers and eating the pea plants. I've planted both before separately, flowers early June and AWP late July or early Aug. Neither plot was/is browsed like the combo of late planted flowers and AWP.
keep us posted how they continue to eat the sunflowers after the frost gets them.
Why sunflowers?
Sunflowers can't handle the cold, they will die. Just wondering how much cold they can handle. If one frost knocks them dead quickly, your plot might loose its appeal in November or something.That's my concern with sunflowers. Like planting soybeans in September. Keep us posted
As I said in the original post, the sunflower seed bag had gotten wet and rather than throw the seed away I broadcast with the AWP. It also gave the peas something to climb as they grew. Didn't even think of that when I added the sunflowers. Every time I look at the plot more and more flowers are eaten to almost ground level.

Because of out late fall the the heads are filling out. It is surprising how many seeds in the heads, they will not mature, but wonder if they will still get eaten.
I'm not saying it's wrong or bad. Sunflowers are also great soil builders. The deer devoir the seed heads during the winter.
I'm really grateful you brought this up anyway. I need to grow some for A September 19 wedding next year, and Ive been brainstorming the timing. With your info I'm going to plant around July 1. Thanks
I understand now, deer lay waste to them in a hurry in my area so no one would seriously plant them as fall food source.

My son planted some to hunt doves over but deer ended that idea fairly quickly :)
There are several farmers that plant hundreds of acres of sunflowers locally every year. I saw one working in a field one day and stopped to talk to him for a couple minutes. He said that the deer don't seem to bother his plants much. I find that hard to believe because I cannot grow them. Between the deer and raccoons, I can't get one over a foot tall. I planted some in cages so my wife could have sunflowers for an arrangement she wanted to make, and the raccoons tore a staked wire cage apart trying to get to them. I finally hooked it up to an e-fence. Raccoons don't like e-fences. :)

The farmer only plants Clearfield sunflowers. I don't know if that makes a difference or not. I use black oil sunflowers from Walmart. (birdseed)
I've seen every deer in the neighborhood in an I picked sunflower field with 3' of snow on the ground. At that point they were eating the seeds
dipper-you mention sunflowers as a soil builder. I don't know who is correct, but I have hard they deplete the soil???
Dipper comment, If one frost knocks them dead quickly, your plot might loose its appeal in November or something.
That's fine with me, have other plots, rye, brassicas,(rape, radishes, turnips, rutabagas) etc for them to eat. Don't think it will loose appeal, peas in the plot are maturing and getting eaten just like soybeans.
Plot was 75% peas, 25% sunflowers.
I'd guess sunflowers are similar to other crops in nutrient depletion...when the crop and crop residue are removed from the field...nutrient and OM levels are depleted. When the crop and crop residue are left in the field...not so much.
Correct, sunflowers have some massive root ball, Imo-much bigger than rye. Those roots are real good at sucking available nutrients from the ground. If you are removing what the sunflower gives you, you soil will suffer.
Since we are leaving organic material, we are building soil.
Remember organic material is also growing under the soil. We don't see that, but it's happening.
The deer continued using my sunflowers long after the flowers died. I was really surprised. They would chew on the heads on the stalk or tear the whole head off and chew it on the ground.
Out of all the things I have tried to grow sunflowers appear to be number one on the deer's list. I can not get them to flower, as soon as the head forms it is gone. They end up as two foot stalks with no leaves.
I planted some in SE MN this year in early July and the deer pounded them. They were planted in a small field by the highway and the goal was to simply build the soil for a year before planting it to standard ag crops. I just threw a couple gallons of sunflower bird seed into the rooster booster pheasant mix and I was very impressed. The deer really browed the leaves and heads when they were actively growing, but some of them grew quickly enough to get above the browsing pressure and those plants produced seed heads.. The sunflowers lived through a couple of light frosts that killed the corn and sorgum blend that was planted next to them. When the temps hit the 20's they died. The seed heads didn't completely mature when they died, so next year I'm going to plant a strip in May to see how they grow. I'm interested to see how much a field with mature sunflowers is used as a winter food source. They seemed to grow really well on my sandy soil which is what impresses me the most. I'm hoping they will be able to grow in some of the sandy strips where corn has problems growing.

My main concern is that it may be tough for the sunflowers to mature because of browsing pressure. If that plot by the highway was browsed heavily, I'm sure that a plot next to the woods will be hit even harder. Only one way to find out I guess.
I've planted sunflowers a couple of times in the spring. Ben, like you stated the deer hammer them while young. My bad experience in smaller plots is that the blackbirds etc come swarming in like locusts and strip the heads of all the seed in a few days. If I was to plant for winter browse I'd do at least 10 acres or more.
Sunflowers are an excellent winter food source if they can get there. Last year the deer were bedding in our sunflowers and ate all of the heads in a 3 acre plot through January. Combo sunflowers with sorghum and you have yourself a quality winter feed.
I've tried them a twice (5 & 10 lbs of seed) and can't get them over 3" tall before they get wiped out.
The sunflowers were in the background of my trail cam. I delete pics that aren't clear & detailed. I'll look through the pics I kept and see if any show the deer in the sunflowers in the background.