Bird damage to oil-seed sunflowers is a major issue facing all farmers, including organic sunflower farmers. Oil-seed sunflowers are primarily grown for fuel (biodiesel/SVO) and food , both for human and the bird-seed industry. Besides groundhog destruction early on and weed pressure throughout the growing season with subsequent combine issues, bird damage is the final scourge that can make a profitable year vanish over a couple of days to weeks.
This study posed this question: If there is to be bird feeding on organic oil-seed sunflowers (not only because it is expected but because effective organic deterrents are of limited availability commercially) will providing a ”channeled” feeding of a barrier crop at the same time disrupt and create an unease in the bird’s feeding pattern by making? We introduced two tall, agriculturally valuable crops (corn and sudan grass) planted alternately in strips which broke the uniformity of the oil-seed sunflower fields to disrupt bird depredation and ultimately increase the organic oil-seed sunflower yields. Eight control and experimental groups were set up to test this theory.
Three samplings at 8/20/2016, 9/4/2016 and 9/10/2016 were performed on 8 control and 8 experimental groups of oil-seed sunflowers in this study. There was a significant difference (90%level) in decreased percent bird damage in the 9/4/2016 observation date due to the barrier strip -cropping. Although there was a slight reduction in the average percent bird damage in the 9/10/2016 observation date , no statistical difference could be established for this date.