What is in this article?:
- Rotation, innovation critical for South Carolina grower
- Corn behind wheat
- Innovative shop work
• 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.
Corn behind wheat
Planting corn behind wheat, on the other hand, is not a salvage operation for the South Carolina grower. It helps put wheat and other double-crop options in his peanut rotation.
“For a long time we’ve tried in our area of the country to plant corn as early as we can to beat the heat that we know is coming during critical growth stages in corn.
“My thinking is that this far south I can plant 90 to 95-day corn as late as July 15, and get it harvested before the first frost. Thus, corn will be past critical silking and other growth stages at a time when temperatures are beginning to go down.
“We planted some 92-day corn, which did okay, but we can push that longer and still get corn cut before we get a killing frost,” he says.
Soybeans have a place in South Carolina, but fitting beans into a rotation that includes cotton and peanuts can be tricky and for most peanut growers in the Palmetto State having soybeans in their peanut rotation is just not an option.
Soybeans are a host for white mold, which can be a big problem in peanuts in our part of the state, Hinson says. “So, getting grain sorghum or more corn in the rotation to break up nematode and disease cycles is a big advantage for us in growing peanuts.”
“We feel like we have to have at least two years between peanuts, and we like to get three years between the two crops, if we can. Sometimes stretching that rotation on a farm the size of ours can be a tough thing to do,” the South Carolina grower explains.
The real niche for grain sorghum in the PeeDee area of South Carolina is on light land that is being planted to soybeans and going to pine trees or left vacant.
Grain sorghum is a good double-crop with rye on light soil. Grain sorghum adds a tremendous amount of green manure to the soil — much more than soybeans,
Now that Murhpy-Brown (large North Carolina grain buyer) has gotten into the grain sorghum business in a big way, there is going to be a market for it. And, they want it delivered at fairly high moisture, which allows you to get it out of the field earlier, Hinson says.
“In our case it works out well as a rotation crop for peanuts, but there is plenty of light, over-worked land in this area in which the soil would benefit from grain sorghum,” he adds.
“And, if the grower puts adequate inputs into the crop, they can make a little money on it, too, the South Carolina grower says.