Sunflower question


5 year old buck +
Has anyone used sunflowers for the deer in MN/WI and if so, what are the positives/negatives to having them in your rotation? I have an acre next to the highway that didn't get planted this spring because the large planter couldn't get to that field. Since it's next to the highway I didn't really want to plant anything that the deer would like since I didn't want them to be poached or hit on the highway. I decided to plant a mix that should help build the soil so it is ready to go next year when I improve the field access and a bonus would be to provide a winter food source for birds. I went with buckwheat closest to the road, a strip of some leftover rooster booster pheasants forever mix (corn, buchwheat, sorghum, milo, burnet) in the middle and some oats in the back.

Just to add a little variety I decided to throw a gallon of black sunflower seed into the mix just to see if the bird seed will grow and how it can do on this sandy spot. Well the sunflowers are really taking off and the deer are really pounding their leaves now.

My plot was just planted a month ago, so I don't think I'll have enough time for the sunflowers to mature, but I'm really happy with their growth so far. They seem to thrive on this sandy area, so I'm wondering if I should include them in my food plot mix in these types of areas in the future. I think the sunflowers could provide some excellent fall turkey hunting and perhaps some bonus dove hunting, but I'm curious to find out if anyone else has any feedback on how the deer react to them as the season progresses. It's clear that the deer love the tender green leaves, but are they used much by deer after they're fully mature?
I've planted them before in both small and larger amounts in a mix, with the largest being 10 lbs. None of them ever made it past 2-3" tall. Talk about deer candy, they just plain wiped them out. I also have low deer densities if this helps you any.
Did the deer like the sunflowers once they matured? It really seems like a great option for some sandy soil and I really haven't heard much about planting them specifically for wildlife. Does anyone have any experience on how their drought tolerance would compare to corn? Since they are frequently grown in western SD and ND, I'm assuming they require less water than corn.

I'm definitely going to plant a strip of sunflowers earlier next year to see how they do in SE MN, but I figured some of you guys might have some first hand knowledge already.

When did you guys plant the sunflower seed?
I had planted some of the grey striped ones that get tall. They came up great, when they were about 3/4 in diameter the deer ate every single one in about a 1/4 acre plot. I did plant some in with WGF sorghum and they did quite well. These were the black oil seeds. I think the sorghum acted as a cover crop to them and I never really noticed deer browsing. The turkeys, grouse, and mostly the song birds ate the heads.