AT SUGARTREE FARMS near Belvidere, Tenn., Mike Robinson has
built a successful family row crop and beef cattle farm. He also
owns Sugartree Feeds, a store that adds value to some of his
grain, hay, and straw.
A farmer for 35 years, he owns 1,108 acres and rents 2,350
acres. He grows corn on 1,200 acres, wheat on 420 acres, oats on
106 acres, full season soybeans on 1,056 acres, double-cropped
soybeans on 594 acres, hay on 250 acres; and has about 200 acres
in pasture, and timber on 158 acres.
In recognition of his success as a row crop and beef cattle
producer, he has been selected as the state winner of the
Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the
Year award. He joins nine other individuals as finalists for the
overall award that will be announced Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the
Sunbelt Expo farm show at Moultrie, Ga.
Robinson’s cattle herd includes 125 cows, primarily Angus,
including five registered Angus bulls. The herd produced 120
calves last year, which he sold at 600 pounds. He increased
his cattle numbers last year when he bought a new herd. He
retains about 10 percent of the heifers as replacements.
Until 2004, he ran a dairy and milked Jersey cows. The
milk barn was then converted into the feed store, where he
sells a portion of the farm’s corn and hay.
With last year’s corn yield at 180 bushels per acre for
dryland and 230 bushels for irrigated land, he placed third in
both no-till irrigated and dryland categories of the National
Corn Growers Association state yield contest. He uses
chicken litter to reduce fertilizer costs on some of his corn.
His full season soybeans yielded 55 bushels per acre, and
double-cropped beans yielded 50 bushels per acre, while
wheat produced 90 bushels per acre and oats 100 bushels per
acre. He also grows wheat for hay and straw, and rye for straw.
BIG LABOR SAVER
Hay includes orchardgrass and a new alfalfa planting. One of his
best tools, he says, is a Bale Bandit that can bundle 21 bales at a
time, and is a big labor saver when handling and shipping hay
and straw. He also has adopted precision farming technology,
Mike Robinson named
2017 Tennessee Farmer of the Year
Mike and Krislyn Robinson.