Sunflowers: Good for Soil, Good for the Soul

February 8, 2018

Fallow crop of sunflowers in Ingham region - Terrain NRMSunflowers are warming hearts in Ingham – and helping with soil health.

Cane farmer Michael Waring has planted tens of thousands of sunflowers on his property as a fallow crop, and the result is a blaze of yellow across 16 hectares of land.

The golden paddocks are beside Wallaman Falls Rd, west of Ingham.

Michael learned this week just how popular his choice of fallow crop has been.

“One of my daughters told me about some photos on social media. There was a very practical reason to plant them but I can see they look good as well. It’s a nice change from (the look of) cane.”

Sunflowers are a relatively new addition to the cane cycle in the Far North, with only a handful of farmers growing them as an alternative, or addition, to cowpeas and soya beans.

“They are a good plant for the soil,’’ Michael said.  “Diversity is important when it comes to soil health and sunflowers bring in another element.

“If they bring pleasure to others as well, that’s a bonus.”

He planted soya beans in amongst the crop but says the sunflowers are dominating at the moment.

“The strike rate has been really good this year. This is my second year for sunflowers. It’s about trying new things, something a lot of farmers are continuing to do to improve soil health and, by doing so, improve water quality leaving their farms.”

The flowers are expected to last another week or so.

(Posted 8 Feb 2018)