Mounting weed pressure and continued low yields in their soybeans led Mullins, S.C., growers David, Robert and Charles Drew to look at grain sorghum, and so far, so good, David says.

Drew farms nearly 3,000 acres of row crops and hay and raises cattle in partnership with his father Charles and his brother Robert. They grow cotton, corn, wheat, hay, peanuts and now grain sorghum.

David Drew says soybeans just weren’t working out on their family farm. Peanuts are the primary crop they grow and peanuts and soybeans just don’t mix too well. The primary problem with the two crops is proliferation of soybean cyst nematodes, which can be a yield buster in peanuts.

“I grew up raising tobacco. It was always a big part of our family farming operation, but when the tobacco buyout came along in 2005, we took that opportunity to get out of the tobacco business,” Drew recalls.

In 2006, they grew their first crop of peanuts and subsequently the crop has taken on the role of tobacco in terms of importance in their farming operation.

Despite the current high prices of soybeans, Drew says they couldn’t really justify keeping the crop in their rotation, primarily because of the low yields it produced.

“We struggled to make 25 bushels per acre the last couple of years, and it was time to look for another crop to replace beans,” Drew explains.

Along with the low yields, the South Carolina grower says they were beginning to see an increase in weed pressure in fields planted behind soybeans, especially glyphosate resistant pigweed.

“We knew from working with tobacco that having herbicides like atrazine and Lasso in a weed management system would keep weed pressure down and provide us with some different chemistry to try and hold back further development of glyphosate resistant pigweed,” he says.

“Then, Southeastern Grains, with an office and buying point in nearby Nichols, S.C., provided a good local market for grain sorghum. They are partnering with Warsaw, N.C.,-based Murphy Brown to buy more grain in the Southeast, and it seems like they are in the sorghum business to stay,” Drew adds.