Sunflowers as Fallow Crops

SUNFLOWERS – GOOD FOR THE SOIL & THE SOUL!

19 FEBRUARY 2020

Sunflowers are good for the soil and good for the soul. That’s the consensus at the O’Kane farm near Tully where a blaze of yellow is wowing family and friends.

Cane farmer Mick O’Kane has planted out 80 acres with sunflowers and legumes as a mixed-species fallow crop to improve the health of his soil. The result has stunned him.

“They’ve taken really well. They’re awesome, just beautiful,’’ he said. “We normally just plant soy beans and you always get a nice crop of cane after a good crop of beans.

“This year, we’ve planted four different species together after doing a soil health course with Terrain NRM. The cowpeas are climbing up the sunflowers.”

Terrain’s Michael Waring said mixed species fallow crops were relatively new to the Far North.

“Diversity is important when it comes to soil health,’’ he said. “Different species bring different benefits and sometimes they balance out less favourable traits too.’’

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