|Matt Garbee in his sunflower fields (courtesy Brady Brite - CC Headliner)|
A farmer who lives near Billings took a chance with a late season crop this year that has drawn crowds of visitors to his fields this year.
Matt Garbee says people were overcome by the beauty of his 80 acres of sunflowers and stopped to take lots of pictures. He says the flowers, which are almost risk free because they love the heat, cost about a third to a half of what it takes to plant a crop of soybeans or corn.
The biggest threat to the crop comes from birds who eat about 25 to 30 percent of the crop and hail, which could destroy the crop in just a few minutes.
Demand for sunflowers is up because it is used for biodiesel fuel and cooking oil.....and there is always the demand for the seeds for those who spend about $4 billion dollars a year in the U. S. feeding birds.
Garbee says that a record harvest of sunflowers in the Dakotas has pushed down the price per pound of harvested flowers this year so he will store his until planting season next year.