Pee Dee Field Day Features Alternative Crops

The Pee Dee Research and Education Center near Florence held their annual field day Tuesday. In addition to traditional row crops, alternative crops and buffers were featured tour. Jim Frederick, interim director at Pee Dee REC:

“We had a great crowd and great weather. We are showing some alternative crops out here today and there is a lot of interest. Grain prices are really great but growers are always looking for new alternatives and new markets and new opportunities.

This has been a very unusual year with 22” of rain in the past three months, so we are looking at more flooding effect than we are drought effects, what we are normally examining.

We are looking at both sweet sorghum and biomass sorghum here. We are looking at the energy industry for those, they get a lot of biomass and get very tall. We are also looking at grain sorghum to be a feed for hogs and chickens.

Some of these sorghums will keep on growing in until they run out of nutrients or the frost knocks them out. They are bred to keep on growing to get the most biomass we can out of them.

Historically, farmers have been moving toward planting corn and traditional crops right up to the edge of the field. But now they are looking at putting things in like native borders that provide habitat to native species such as quail.

We had a great time out here and we see a lot of opportunity in the future.”

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