Cross likely to plant beans again in 2010

Editor’s note: The October Farmer-Stockman issue described how diversified Texas farmers Darrell Cross and son Cody added solid-row soybeans in 2009 to a crop mix of cotton, sorghum, wheat and, sometimes, corn. Here is an update on how Cross Family Farms got the beans harvested.

Darrell Cross and son Cody grow cotton, sorghum, wheat and, sometimes, corn at Cross Family Farms LP at Ovalo, Texas. They also raise cattle.

That’s plenty to do, but in 2009, they added soybeans in solid rows. Darrell had tried some soybeans back in the 1980s on the Rolling Plains — known for harsh weather — but those were in 40-inch rows.

With help from a Valley center-pivot irrigation system, they grew soybeans in 8-inch solid rows for 2009 just to see what would happen. That’s about 125,000 plants per acre, compared with about 45,000 plants per acre with 40-inch rows he had tried years ago.

Darrell planted the beans on May 20, the day before he started planting cotton.

He harvested the soybeans during early fall 2009, before he began harvesting cotton.

Key Points

• Darrell and Cody Cross added soybeans to crop mix in 2009 to experiment.

• Rolling Plains’ extreme and prolonged heat can be harsh on soybean attempts.

• Despite the long heat wave, Cross Farms LP still made a fair yield at a good price.

Pleased with results

Darrell says in a year with a seemingly endless string of 100-degree days that started early in the spring and continued throughout summer, he wasn’t expecting to make many soybeans.

He was pleasantly surprised when the Group IV variety of soybeans from Asgrow still produced about 26 bushels per acre.

“In a normal year, I figure we could have made about 40 to 45 bushels per acre on the soybeans,” Cross says.

He’s happy enough that he and Cody may try a few more soybeans again in their crop mix for 2010.

Darrell also believes solid rows worked for him under the center-pivot irrigation. He notes they were careful to keep the combine header low when trying to be meticulous in harvesting the solid-row beans.

Beyond the surprisingly fair yield —despite the treacherous 2009 weather during the growing season — Darrell also was satisfied with his marketing of the soybeans.

The beans were contracted for blending in deer feed at what Darrell penciled out to be a profitable price.

“We’ll likely try some more soybeans with the rest of our crop mix again in 2010,” Darrell allows. “And we’ll just see how it goes.”


SOLID BEANS: Cross Farms LP tried soybeans in solid 8-inch rows in 2009 with Valley center-pivot irrigation. The beans yielded well considering months of extreme heat.

This article published in the January, 2010 edition of THE FARMER-STOCKMAN.

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