I got a call today from Paul Johnson, who bought a pretty little boar from me earlier this year. He said that he had the number of a guy who had 15,000 pounds of sunflower seeds that weren't going to work for an oil-seed test project. The plants had been grown on organic land, and raised organically. Sounds good.
So I went and looked at the material as potential pig, chicken and turkey food. The picture above is one of the whole sunflower heads; the rest of it had been ground into a rough mash.
Apparently they'd delivered it in some sort of dump truck, and dumped it on the ground to feed it into a combine to sort the husks from the seeds. But the husks, the fleshy flower part, was too wet, and it was gumming up the combine and making it very difficult to seperate out the seeds.
You can see the black seeds in there, along with the chunks of the flower base. I'm guessing that out of the 15,000lbs (7.5 tons) there's probably the equivalent of 1 to 3 tons of dry seed. The combine had seperated out about 600lbs of it, and I bought that sorted seed. I'll see if I can't dry it out by spreading it out in my greenhouse. The mash, with the seeds mixed in, will go to the poultry. They can pick the seeds out and eat whatever they find tasty without too much trouble. I'll also try it with the sheep and cattle -- maybe they'll like it. The sunflower seeds are raised for oil, so they're reasonably high in calories.