As the first seeded sunflowers are desiccated and are drying down, here are some helpful hints on combining from the National Sunflower Association of Canada (NSAC).
Sunflowers can be safely combined when the seed moisture is below 18-20%. However, allowing sunflowers to dry-down to a moisture content of 9.5 -12% reduces the need for drying on-farm. At 12% moisture content, seed can be stored in bins with aeration. Any moisture content over 12% will require drying to avoid spoilage. Oil-type sunflowers can be dried with temperatures of 71º to 104º C (160ºF to 220ºF) but confection-type sunflower seed may scorch or wrinkle with these temperatures. Sunflower seed should be cooled before storage, since even sunflowers at 8.5% moisture can spoil if stored when warm.
For more information on sunflowers:
National Sunflower Association of Canada – www.canadasunflower.com
MAFRD Sunflower Production and Management – http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/production/sunflowers.html
Information Contributed by Anastasia Kubinec, MAFRD Oilseed Crop Specialist