What is in this article?:
- South Carolina farmers have big range of enterprise options
- Cannot meet demand
- Virginia varieties
• Some of the enterprise options South Carolina growers are exploring include olives, sheep, flax and value-added products
FARMERS Keith Allen, left and his son Blake, right of Latta, S.C., had a good talk with Brian Mathis, regional sales manager for TeeJet Technologies, at TeeJet's expo exhibit. “We are evaluating the coverage and spray volume to try to get the optimum coverage and drift reduction,” Allen said.
Cannot meet demand
“Even though our lamb numbers have tripled, we can't produce enough to meet the demand,” she said. “I sold the last of my (2013) lambs in October. I could have sold 40 more. I have a waiting list.”
Martin has 65 ewes now and is hoping to get up to 85 in 2014. Predators are a problem for her as for all sheep producers, but she has a donkey that maintains order.
Some ― but not all ― of Martin's lambs go to the ethnic market. Many lamb consumers have to go outside the state to get the lamb they want.
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has a program now that encourages producers to increase their flocks by two ewes per operation, increase the average birthrate per ewe to two lambs per year, and increase the harvested lamb crop by two percent.
• Flax: A still new agricultural enterprise in South Carolina has room for plenty of new growers. About 3,000 acres of flax is being grown in South Carolina this winter, most of it close to Florence.
“The problem is we needed 15,000 acres,” said Duncan Skelton, logistics manager for Naturally Advanced Technologies (NAT), the company that is promoting flax production. “We are looking for additional acres.”
The state is an excellent candidate for increased flax production. The crop grows well in fields that have been fallow or in wheat, soybeans, cotton, corn and peanuts. “It does not like sandy land,” he said. “It prefers a dark soil type.”
NAT had earlier announced it plans to build a flax processing plant in nearby Pamplico, S.C.
• Peanuts are certainly not a new crop in South Carolina. But there are a lot of new growers, and they will probably be cheered to learn that boiled peanuts — sold in cans — appear to be a “hot” item, at least for McCall Farms of Effingham, S.C.
“I would say right now boiled peanuts are looking good,” said Henry Swink, president of McCall Farms, a food processing company that manufactures and markets canned fruits and vegetables throughout the Southeast.