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Sunflower crop turning heads after farmer creates inadvertent tourist attraction

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A farmer making one of the best of difficult circumstances has discovered he has inadvertently created a vacationer attraction. 

Collingullie farmer Doug Bruckner was a failed canola crop and the prediction of a La Niña summer time when he determined to take a punt on rising dryland sunflowers. 

Sunflowers are not often grown on this a part of the Riverina close to Wagga Wagga, however with near 300 millimetres of rain within the rising season anticipated and as much as $2000 a tonne on provide, it was a big gamble price taking for the Gnadbro Pastoral Firm farmer. 

The crowds which have gathered to take photos of the crop agree, with the paddock of sunflowers stopping loads of vacation visitors. 

A close up of a large sunflower in a paddock
The dryland sunflower crop may yield 1.5 tonnes a hectare thanks to about 300mm of rain through the rising season. (ABC Riverina: Olivia Calver )

After spraying out the failed canola crop, Mr Bruckner stated he researched alternate options for his farm’s sub-surface soil moisture profile. 

“It was a possibility actually … with the mice round earlier within the yr and a wetter winter, sadly the canola failed,” Mr Bruckner stated. 

“Speak of a La Niña gave us the arrogance to develop sunflowers.

A La Niña summer time

Mr Bruckner hopes the sunflowers will yield as much as 1.5 tonnes a hectare. 

“To have a few falls over a 100mm over the previous six to eight weeks is phenomenal,” he stated.

“It is unlucky [the rain’s] affected our most important winter crop and harvest operations. 

Close up of all black sunflower seeds held in the palm of a hand
The sunflower seeds are a mono selection which will likely be crushed into sunflower oil or go into high-value stockfeed. (ABC RIverina: Olivia Calver)

The sunflowers are a mono selection, not the extra frequent stripped sunflowers utilized in birdseed.

Mono sunflower seeds are crushed for oil or go into high-value stockfeed, comparable to horse rations. 

“I have never bought them, however I anticipate they might go north due to the cyclones up there,” Mr Bruckner stated. 

“We’ve not heard … how a lot crop injury will likely be up in that neck of the woods however that is usually the place a lot of the sunflowers are grown, alongside the shoreline.” 

An surprising vacationer attraction

Mr Bruckner stated it was common to see as much as six automobiles parked beside his paddocks through the vacation interval when the crop was flowering. 

“Our workers have been kidding about placing an honesty field down the entrance and having a marshal down right here to handle the visitors.

A man looks at the seeds of a sunflower in a paddock.
The sunflowers have nearly completed flowering and will likely be harvested in April. (ABC RIverina: Olivia Calver)

Extra threat however extra reward 

Mr Bruckner’s agronomist Ben Mathews stated dryland sorghum was an alternative choice for farmers trying to reap the benefits of a moist summer time. 

However with a lot feed at the moment available in the market, for Mr Bruckner the numbers didn’t examine to rising sunflowers.

“The sunflowers are price much more cash, in all probability a bit of bit extra threat concerned, however this yr it has labored out rather well,” Mr Mathews stated.

And it’s not solely vacationers drawn to the sunflowers, Mr Mathews stated the crop has not wanted an insecticide as ladybugs and different useful bugs have been doing the job for them. 

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