Blacklands Farmers Harvest Five Crops in Two Years on Same Land

When the English made landfall in North Carolina, they were amazed that the Native American farmers could double crop their land, and it’s never stopped. Mac Gibbs, Director of Extension for Hyde County explains how growing five crops in two years on the same land is possible in the Blacklands:

“We are colder getting started in the spring, but in the fall because of the temperature of the water surrounding us, our frost dates are so much later that most of the state. So we can get a good double crop in. Most of the producers are averaging 85 bushel wheat, and we can out a soybean crop in. We use group 4s and 5s and come back with 55 bushel soybeans.”
 

The past few generations of farmers in the eastern part of the state have double-cropped primarily soybeans behind wheat, but research is showing that other crops are possible says Gibbs:
 

“We are experimenting with putting corn behind wheat. In the past we were planting corn the third week of June, and we are looking at 100 bushels corn using 114 day corn after a wheat crop. There are some disease and insect problems, so you need a double stacked corn and use a fungicide, but we have had some success.”
 

Rotating grains or soybeans beans with wheat aren’t the only crops in rotation in the Blacklands region:
 

“We grow about 50% of the state’s snap beans here and the fall snap beans are all planted behind corn. A lot of times we can get a snap bean crop off and a wheat crop in and we can get five crops in two years where most are getting three.”
 

With land in constant production, Gibbs explains how farmers maintain soil health:
 

“We have been lucky in that our producers understand rotation and they are really good at corn, wheat, soybeans or corn and soybeans to help with the insects and weeds. So far the only resistant weed in the county is mare’s tail, so we have been lucky.”


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