Anyone grow confectionery sunflowers for human food? Hulling?

HoopyFrood

Songster
5 Years
Mar 21, 2016
481
596
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Maine, USA
My Coop
My Coop
Hope this isn't too way out there for BYC...

Black oilseed sunflowers are easy to grow and the chickens love them unhulled. When the day comes that I actually try pressing some to get my own sunflower oil, the press doesn't give a hoot about the hulls.

But for those nice, big, yummy confectionery varieties... I keep plenty for the chickens (again they don't care about the hulls, that's what grit and gizzards are for, right?). But the sunflowers are so easy to grow, so prolific... I wanted to start saving them as human food this season.

But how to get all those hulls off? I know I'm going to have the same problem with buckwheat when I up my efforts there to food crop. The only person I've read who had a solution to this problem was just lucky: he used his friend's rice de-hulling machine. I'm not that lucky.

Does anyone have any experience with this?
 

duluthralphie

Dux eradication specialist
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Jul 11, 2014
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Orrock township, Minnesota
I grew about half an acre for my own use last year...

It did not matter, I got none. 34,812,901 Gold finches descended on the patch one day and I lost all the seeds. In a matter of an hour or so they were all gone.
 

HoopyFrood

Songster
5 Years
Mar 21, 2016
481
596
201
Maine, USA
My Coop
My Coop
I grew about half an acre for my own use last year...

It did not matter, I got none. 34,812,901 Gold finches descended on the patch one day and I lost all the seeds. In a matter of an hour or so they were all gone.

Wow! I only grew like two dozen plants. Your's is an impressive effort! I've heard growing millet (something else I'm aspiring to do) can be equally frustrating if not more so.

The trick I tried seemed to work; but it was on such a small scale and was not without its complications that I'm not sure how effectively it scales.

I cut the heads off a few days before they were ripe with about one foot of stem behind them (theoretically to provide a modicum of nutrients as things cure). This way you can harvest without the bird decimation. That worked. However while they dried (I did a very poor job of this) mold broke out and I lost 2/3 of my harvest.

I spread that loss (many hundreds of seeds) in a patch of unused ground hoping that if some of them took in the spring I could grow a decoy crop. Time will tell.

Sorry for your headache!
 

Kenny_

Songster
Oct 13, 2017
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Georgia, USA
What are the problems with millet, HoopyFrood? That's what I'm planning on adding to my garden area this year for the chickens and also to bring small birds in to eat insects.
 

HoopyFrood

Songster
5 Years
Mar 21, 2016
481
596
201
Maine, USA
My Coop
My Coop
What are the problems with millet, HoopyFrood? That's what I'm planning on adding to my garden area this year for the chickens and also to bring small birds in to eat insects.

The only problem with millet that I've heard (I have yet to actually grow it, it's on the 2019 docket) is birds LOVE it and will voraciously eat it before it's fully developed to the point where it's ideal for human food. The only solution I've heard of to get a decent harvest for the small scale grower is to deploy nets to keep the birds out...
 

Kenny_

Songster
Oct 13, 2017
255
333
182
Georgia, USA
The only problem with millet that I've heard (I have yet to actually grow it, it's on the 2019 docket) is birds LOVE it and will voraciously eat it before it's fully developed to the point where it's ideal for human food. The only solution I've heard of to get a decent harvest for the small scale grower is to deploy nets to keep the birds out...
Ahhhh, gotcha. Well, since I'm planting it for them, then should be no problem. I'm hoping that by my planting the millet for them they will leave the other stuff alone! (Other than some insects, of course!) lol
 

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