Tilmanstone Farm is a 2,300 acre farm located in Jenkins and Burke counties in east central Georgia. The farm is in the Southern Coastal Plain major land resource area and is about 55 miles south of Augusta.
Tilmanstone Farm has been managed by Lamar Black since 1982. The owner, Samuel P. Tillman, depends on Lamar to make the day-to-day management and marketing decisions for the farm. The farm produces about 1,000 acres of corn, cotton, peanuts, rye, soybeans and wheat. The additional acreage is in natural woodland, planted pines and water. All row crops are rotated and produced with strip-tillage, a form of no-till. About one-third of the cropland is irrigated with center pivot systems.
The cotton is sold through a regional cooperative. Government programs set the price of peanuts. Lamar markets the other crops directly to local farmers and to grain elevators. By growing many crops, Lamar takes advantage of the short and long-term benefits of diversification.
Many soil types exist on Tilmanstone Farm. The dominant soil type on the farm is Dothan loamy sand with 0 percent to 2 percent slopes. These Dothan soils are deep well drained soils on nearly level to rolling uplands. The surface is sandy loam and the upper subsoil is yellowish brown sandy clay loam. These soils have plinthite in the lower part of the subsoil. Plinthite is a highly weathered mixture of iron, aluminum, quartz and other substances that changes irreversibly to hardpan upon alternate wetting and drying. The Dothan soils are low in natural fertility and organic matter. But, they have good tilth, respond to management and are well suited to row cropping
Lamar uses continuous conservation tillage to produce all of the crops on Tilmanstone Farm. He uses doublecropping systems. Winter cover crops are planted on all of the cropland each year. Lamar usually plants rye and wheat for winter cover. Some of the time, these crops are harvested for grain. The row crops are produced with strip-till and the winter small grain crops and some soybeans are planted with a no-till drill
The 6-row strip-till planting equipment that Lamar uses has coulters, followed by subsoiler shanks (needed to break up the hardpan that forms in Dothan soils), row cleaners and planters. His strip-till system prepares a narrow seedbed and plants the crop in one operation. Although the soils are nearly level, sheet, rill, gully and wind erosion was occurring on the Tilmanstone Farm before Lamar switched to conservation tillage. Now, the soil erosion problem is nonexistent on the Tilmanstone Farm.