Final planting prep is in full swing

As the cold weather starts to break, XtremeAg’s Chad Henderson, Lee Lubbers, and Dan Luepkes are ready to kick-off planting 2021 as soon as soil temperatures warm.

Lee Lubbers - Gregory, South Dakota

Lee and his brother began farming in the 1980s during some of the toughest times for farming, but the lessons they learned still shape them today. 

We are experiencing some wild swings in weather this winter. We were just getting used to temps below 0°, and the propane bill for the shop heater reflects that! We are on the downhill side of running planters through maintenance and upgrades. It always pays to take your time and completely strip everything down and then fix it the right way each off-season. Your planter is the most important piece of machinery on the farm. You want it running as effectively and efficiently as possible every spring.

We will bring the four-wheel drives into the shop next. It looks like this is the year we’ll need to rebuild our fan clutches. It’s not cheap, but it’s time to do it – before it leads to bigger, more expensive problems and downtime during the busy season ahead.

Our grain hauling slowed to a crawl for a couple of weeks due to the frigid temps, but we are back at it, shipping soybeans to a processor 3.5 hours away.

This week’s temps are more normal and it’s a welcome change for everyone. I’m looking forward to tractor time and sprayer time!

Map of South Dakota average temperatures
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Chad Henderson - Madison, Alabama

A fifth-generation farmer, Chad farms over 8,000 acres with his dad, son, and nephew as a part of Henderson Farms in northern Alabama. Chad grows corn, soybeans, and wheat in what had been mostly a dryland environment until 2012 when he added the first irrigation systems to Henderson Farms.

We are hauling as much corn as possible before we start planting later this month, hopefully. Our soybean planters have completed maintenance and calibration, and they’re out of the shop ready to hit the fields as soon as the ground dries out. We are still working on our corn planters, and they should be ready this week. We had about 5 inches of snow two weeks ago that has kept our ground wet, but we were able to sneak in some spring tillage before the snowstorm. Overall, our ground looks good right now and we are targeting March 20 as our planting start date.

As shop work winds down, snow has melted, and the ground is too wet to work, so we are loading up the Henderson Racing ’87 Buick Grand National and going racing this week.

Chad Henderson leans against his race car
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Dan Luepkes - Oregon, Illinois

A fifth-generation Illinois farmer, Dan was raised on a small, 200-acre dairy farm. After the family got out of milking cows, he picked up a few small farms and continued to grow, eventually saving enough money to buy challenging, low-productivity, sandy farms that no one else wanted.

The severe cold has broken and snow is melting. The warm sun feels like spring is just around the corner. We are working on finalizing our planter-applied nutrients this week and our combine is in the shop for a very thorough inspection. As usual, we found plenty of needed repairs and are getting that knocked out this week. Our planter has gotten its warranty work thru Precision Planting. They always stand behind their products and replace them if there are any issues. I appreciate that in a company.

We are also looking over all the crop insurance products. Whether we go with a basis program or stack programs, the cost adds up fast on these products. I will talk to my XtremeAg partners to get their input on crop insurance.

Dan Luepkes' John Deere combine in the shop
Photo credit: XtremeAg

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