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• Sam Walton says rapeseed fits in well with other grain crops in well and looks to be a long-term part of the farming operation.
JEFF RIDDLE, shown right, and Sam Walton check seed production in a rapeseed field near Lumber Bridge, N.C.
Sam Walton is a young North Carolina farmer with a famous name and big role to play in his family’s large farming operation.
Rapeseed, he says, fits in well with their other grain crops and looks to be a long-term part of their farming operation.
For a number of years their farming operation was dominated by cotton. The lack of stability in the cotton market and ever increasing production costs, combined with the current high value of grain crops led them to cut back on cotton.
That was the easy part. The hard part was finding replacement crops that had good value and fit into their production system.
“On some of our land we have irrigation, and one goal was to find a way to plant two crops in one year or two crops in alternate years to maximize production under these pivots.
“We can grow soybeans behind wheat, but growing some of our other crops behind wheat gets into a timing problem,” Walton says.
Wheat was good fit with soybeans, and they started growing the crop a few years back. However, in some cases with other crops, it just didn’t fit right, and having an earlier maturing crop to provide some options for double-cropping was a reason they began looking at rapeseed.
The Lumber Bridge, N.C., grower says they tried corn behind wheat last year, but were not happy with the yields they got.
Disease problems with corn planted late behind wheat was the big drawback, but in retrospect, Walton says they probably planted corn too late in a year when the weather favored early planting.
“I think we just ran out of enough light later in the year and that resulted in ears that were not quite filled out,” he says.