December 29, 2011
South Carolina farmers show growing interest in rapeseed
South Carolina grain farmers are adding rapeseed to their crop rotation, with the help of AgStrong LLC, a company based in Bowersville which is providing them with a stable market and fair price.
Located just across Lake Hartwell from some of South Carolina's most productive farm land, the company took an interesting path, one that covered two continents, to provide a new cropping opportunity for farmers in South Carolina and across the Southeast.
They are well along in providing a good, sustainable winter crop for grain growers in north-east Georgia and throughout South Carolina
From the farmer's perspective in the Southeast, rapeseed is likely to produce about 80%of a wheat crop. Most Southeast growers shoot for an 80 bushel per acre wheat yield and grown on the same land with the same good production practices they would likely produce about 60 (50 pounds per bushel) bushels of rapeseed per acre.
However, the rapeseed is likely to be 70-80% more valuable than wheat in most years, says Robert Davis, co-owner and president of AgStrong. At the end of the day, the grower should net US$100-150 more per acre with rapeseed.
"We have had growers ask us about growing more rapeseed, which would require a shorter rotation, and we say no. To be sustainable, growers must grow rapeseed the right way and everything we know about growing the crop indicates in the Southeast a three-year rotation is a must," Davis says.
"We liked rapeseed because it is a winter oilseed crop that can be grown successfully in the Southeast. Paul Raymer, University of Georgia professor and previous rapeseed breeder for almost two decades, played a key role in the development of our business plan.