So I have been wondering about the value of sunflowers as a major crop. They can be fed to both chickens and milk goats for better quality egg and milk AND they can be used a source of both pollen and nectar, even during a dearth.
Just the tip of an iceberg of a plan...I have 40 acres that is being reclaimed by the gravel company that extracted from it a couple years back. Initially they are going to plant fescue orchard grass and white clover, which is perfect for a hay or forage material, but on down the line I am trying to figure of good multi acre crops to plant that might have a nice dual purpose like clover.
I thought I would through out this idea to see if there were similar ones or existing examples.
What are YOU going to use the land for long term? That determines an answer for me.
I don't know about the nectar, but sunflowers have inferior pollen and the bees will only collect it if there is nothing else around for them to forage on.
Giant graystripe sunflower makes more nectar, but the black seed oil sunflower you see planted for crops will make a quick granulating honey too.
The problem with field sunflowers is that it has to be sprayed with pesticides just after the head blooms and the bees have to be locked up until the spray has dried.
You would be better off planting white and yellow clover and mix in some hairy vetch.
Some fescues will resist you planting anything else later. I'd like to strongly recommend that you look into some native prairie species of flowers and grasses. Some states have cost-share programs that the gravel company could look into. We are trying to do this on 14 acres, but controling the fescue without chemical herbicides is proving difficult.