Agronomic crops dominate the row crop acreage in the two MLRAs. The primary agronomic cash crops grown are corn, small grains (primarily winter wheat), soybeans, peanuts, cotton and tobacco. Sweet potatoes and many types of fruits and vegetables including onions, cucumbers, watermelons, pumpkins and strawberries are also grown on smaller acreages. Cash crop selection depends on a number of factors, including growing-season climate, availability of a market, a contract to grow, local infrastructure, government programs and availability of labor. For individual fields, cash crop selection depends on soil type, irrigation capacity and the species of weeds, soilborne diseases and nematodes in the field. Crop price, production cost and potential net income are primary considerations in crop selection.
Even though most of the soils in the southern Coastal Plain have a low water-holding capacity, farmers in this region widely grow cotton, peanuts and soybeans without irrigation. These crops, along with tobacco, produce yield over a longer time, as compared to corn. This makes them a lower risk for substantial yield loss due to short-term drought. The region’s climate is also favorable, because a greater percentage of the yield is produced during August and September, when evapotranspiration is lower and rainfall more closely matches evapotranspiration.
Many different crop rotations are used in these MLRAs. Because of the long growing season, growing two crops in the same year (double-cropping) is common. For example, about half of the soybean acreage in South Carolina is planted immediately after winter-wheat harvest. When winter cash crops are not grown, cover crops are often planted for soil protection and improvement.
Rotations are often used for pest management. To control pod disease in peanuts, maintain a minimum three-year rotation, with non-legume crops grown in two of the years. Rotations with cotton and corn are common in a peanut crop rotation. Several species of nematodes infest the soils of the Southern Coastal Plain and Atlantic Coast Flatwoods. Rotations that include non-susceptible crops can be an economically effective management option (Chapter 12).
Table of Contents
- Author and Contributor List
- Chapter 1: Introduction to Conservation Tillage Systems
- Chapter 2: Conservation Tillage Systems: History, the Future and Benefits
- Chapter 3: Benefits of Increasing Soil Organic Matter
- Chapter 4: The Calendar: Management Tasks by Season
- Chapter 5: Cover Crop Management
- Chapter 6: In-Row Subsoiling to Disrupt Soil Compaction
- Chapter 7: Cash Crop Selection and Rotation
- Chapter 8: Sod, Grazing and Row-Crop Rotation: Enhancing Conservation Tillage
- Chapter 9: Planting in Cover Crop Residue
- Chapter 10: Soil Fertility Management
- Chapter 11: Weed Management and Herbicide Resistance
- Chapter 12: Plant-Parasitic Nematode Management
- Chapter 13: Insect Pest Management
- Chapter 14: Water Management
- Chapter 15: Conservation Economics: Budgeting, Cover Crops and Government Programs
- Chapter 16: Biofuel Feedstock Production: Crop Residues and Dedicated Bioenergy Crops
- Chapter 17: Tennessee Valley and Sandstone Plateau Region Case Studies
- Chapter 18: Southern Coastal Plain and Atlantic Coast Flatwoods Case Studies
- Cash Crop Selection and Crop Rotations
- Specific Management Considerations
- Case Study Farms
- Producer Experiences
- Transition to No-Till
- Changes in Natural Resources
- Changes in Agricultural Production
- Specialty Crops
- Why Change to No-Till?
- Supporting Technologies and Practices
- The Future
- Research Case Study
- Chapter 19: Alabama and Mississippi Blackland Prairie Case Studies
- Chapter 20: Southern Piedmont Case Studies