What is in this article?:
• At a time when many of his farming neighbors have increased acreage, Frankie Hinson has kept his operation at 1,100-1,200 acres.
• Growing peanuts, cotton, corn, wheat and soybeans on a relatively small land base creates some challenges.
A 20-INCH early burn-down system on cover crops works well for South Carolina grower Frankie Hinson.
Whether it be driving to nearby Myrtle Beach in his 1960s vintage Ford Galaxy convertible or planting crops on his Bennettsvillle, S.C., farm, Frankie Hinson has always done things a little differently than most folks and often getting surprising results.
At a time when many of his farming neighbors have increased acreage, Hinson has kept his operation at 1,100-1,200 acres. Growing peanuts, cotton, corn, wheat and soybeans on a relatively small land base creates some challenges, he says.
For example, last year he planted corn on some really good land on his farm on July 1. By comparison, this year most of the corn acreage in his corner of South Carolina was planted in March.
Planting corn in July wasn’t something he planned to do, but it did fit into his plan of getting more corn and wheat in his rotation in the future.
Corn has always been planted in the PeeDee area of South Carolina in March or early April. For the past several years, Hinson has been experimenting with some of his corn acreage planted after wheat, instead of planting soybeans after wheat. Soybeans are not a part of his peanut rotation, so having corn behind wheat gives him more planting options.
In another field, he harvested about 85 bushels of wheat per acre and followed that with grain sorghum last year. Planting tiny grain sorghum seed in heavy wheat straw didn’t work too well he says.
Rather than taking the spotty areas of grain sorghum out and starting over, he came up with an innovative rescue plan. He stresses that this course of action isn’t one he would recommend other than as a desperate salvage attempt.
“We planted corn in that field on July 15, and it was 116-day corn — around the spotty stand of grain sorghum — just left the grain sorghum in the field and planted corn in areas where we didn’t have any sorghum,” he explains.
At harvest time — for both corn and grain sorghum — there were some interesting challenges, but except in small areas where the two crops were intertwined, Hinson was able to get a decent yield of both corn and grain sorghum.
“We harvested the grain sorghum first, and in some cases we would have to drive around the corn to get to the grain sorghum. It wasn’t real efficient, but I didn’t lose that piece of ground, and this year I got peanuts planted there behind a good rotation,” he says.