What is in this article?:
- 100-bushel soybean barrier broken in Arkansas.
- Nelson Crow farms in southeast Arkansas, west of Winchester.
- Crow explains how he managed crop, takes reader through the growing season.
NELSON CROW, WHO farms west of Winchester, Ark., is the first farmer in the state to harvest 100-bushel soybeans.
The number is an eye-popping 100.78. The farmer that etched his name in the record books is Nelson Crow.
“The guys at the scales knew what was going on,” says Crow, the first Arkansas soybean farmer to break the 100-bushel-per-acre barrier. “I was sitting there, doing the math in my head — ‘Man, this is going to be close.’ I was as nervous as I’ve been in a long time.”
One of Crow’s longtime friends, Brad Koen of BASF, was alongside. “We were wide-eyed, waiting, fidgeting. It was almost like waiting for a child to be born.”
Quick, scribbled calculations confirmed the figure. Many high-fives and much whooping ensued.
In the aftermath, everyone wants to know Crow’s secret for success. His list of ingredients for the recipe isn’t long.
• Precise management.
• Great growing season weather.
• Pioneer 93Y92, a 3.9.
The field was originally supposed to be planted in a brand-new Terral variety, an indeterminate 5.1, says Crow, who farms just west of Winchester in southeast Arkansas. “But the seed supplier didn’t have that bean in and the 93Y92 was sitting there. So, we took it, planted it and the rest is history.”
The fact the record was broken with a Group 3 is unusual for the area, says Koen. “We have had some good luck with 3s on Nelson’s farm in the past and he wanted to try some more.
“One of the reasons they’re tough to grow is the plant cycles through growth stages so quickly. A 3.9 is a sprinter. In order to get the right plant height and fruit set, you’ve really got to manage it and water timely. Management has to be on-key and Nelson — along with his consultant Rick Deviney — does a really good job.
“You can’t put a lot of acres in 3s because it’s so hard to manage. But you can put it on a small acreage and it’s a good option because you can start harvesting soybeans earlier and spread the harvest out.”
Crow cautions that “when 3s are ready, they’re ready. They’ll shatter in a heartbeat, so you’ve got to be ready to move on them.
“(Pioneer’s) William Johnson told me to plant the variety at the end of April if yield is what you want. If you can get it in, it’ll get enough height to yield really well.”
The variety was planted on a sandy loam.
“Don’t plant this bean on heavy soils,” says Crow. “Fifty-seven days after emergence start irrigating. Don’t wait on rains. It’s critical to stay on top of the irrigation. Make sure that pipe is rolled out and waiting to go.”
The 3.9s were planted on April 24 in a field that was in corn in 2012.
“There’s about a three-week period to plant these beans to get them to an optimum place,” says Crow. “So, if you miss the window — the last two weeks of April through the first week of May — look to another variety. I’ve intended to plant these beans before but we had a couple of rains and had to go with another variety.
“But we got them planted on 30-inch, single-row beds at 145,000 plants per acre. The temperatures stayed cool and they really began looking good very fast.”