Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Spotlight on Circles for Rice Cooperator Campbell Coxe | by Kelly Cackin

Campbell Coxe | Darlington, SC
In 2011, the Valley Circles for Rice team worked with Campbell Coxe, a rice grower and owner of Carolina Plantation Rice in Darlington, South Carolina, USA. He produced aromatic rice under a Valley center pivot, and it yielded a very profitable 116 bushels per acre.  As aromatics traditionally produce fewer bushels per acre than varieties and hybrids, this yield exceeded Campbell’s expectations.

During an interview last year, we asked Campbell why he decided to grow rice under a center pivot. “We wanted to expand our acreage, as well as rotate our rice crop with other crops,” he said.  “I think the most exciting thing about growing rice with a center pivot is being able to spoon feed our nitrogen and our fertilizer inputs, which we can do ourselves through the pivot.  We feel like the rice has really responded to the gradual increase in nitrogen.”

Tyler Fields of Guess Irrigation, the local Valley dealership in Hartsville, SC, led the team that provided the design and construction of the Carolina Plantation center pivot. Soil moisture monitoring and remote communication equipment were also installed, which enabled Campbell to utilize the latest Valley technology to ensure a successful result for his rice under center pivot.

“Campbell is a great example of how an innovative grower can combine traditional practices (good crop management) with modern concepts (center pivot irrigation) to produce a good crop, conserve resources, and be profitable,” stated Circles for Rice team member Kelly Downing.  “His 2011 rice yield under the center pivot exceeded his expectations and was profitable for his operation. For a first-time center pivot owner, we are impressed with his dedication to the Circles for Rice project.”   

Campbell has been an active member in the rice farming community for 20 years. In addition to operating Carolina Plantation Rice, his work includes rice plot research with the USDA Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, SC, as well as co-development of a blast-resistant rice with his seed breeder in Beaumont, TX.  He is currently helping in the effort to bring rice production back to the state of South Carolina, the birthplace of rice in the United States.  With this effort, Campbell has expressed interest in working with other South Carolina growers to produce rice under center pivots.

For the 2012 growing season, Campbell has decided to produce a soybean crop under his center pivot, with the intention of rotating back to rice in 2013.

We want to know your rice producer story!  Shoot us an email or leave a comment in the box below.  (And don't forget to Share!)