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Farmers say it's been a tough year on corn

After an extremely dry growing season, rain is slowing corn harvest for XtremeAg’s Chad Henderson, while Lee Lubbers’ prepares for corn harvest and wheat seeding in west river South Dakota.


Chad Henderson is part of a fifth-generation farming operation in Madison, Alabama. Henderson Farms operates over 8,000 acres of dryland and irrigated corn, dryland soybeans, wheat, and dryland and irrigated double-crop soybeans. When not farming, Chad can be found carrying on another proud family tradition as a drag racer for Henderson Racing.
Our corn harvest is one-third complete. It's been a tough year on corn with the high heat we’ve had this summer. Of course, now we are getting all the rain that we needed and didn't get all season. We are harvesting between the rain showers as much as possible. We have several test plots that are in the process of being harvested. Our irrigated acres were able to produce some good information for us on those plots. A few of our dry land plots were hurt severely with the hot and dry weather.

A field of green soybeans with an irrigation pivot in the background
Photo credit: XtremeAg

The rain we are getting now is a great thing for our double crop soybeans. In about 10 days they will be ready to start desiccating and then harvested about a week later in most cases.


Lee Lubbers of Gregory, South Dakota, grew up in the farming tradition, and remembers well using leftover scholarship money as the down payment for his first tractor and rent for 200 acres. Today, he farms more than 17,000 acres of dryland soybeans, corn, and wheat. Lubbers says one of the most important things to him is to always be learning and challenging himself to build an operation and a legacy that the next generation can be proud of.

Semi hauling gravel in South Dakota farm yard driveway
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We are grinding away on gravel. We’ve been hauling gravel to freshen up multiple yards and bin sites. It’s extremely dry here so we decided to haul gravel figuring that we wouldn’t have to shut down if it rains. It will be close to a two-week project and something we’ve been needing to do all year.

Yellow corn ears on green and brown stalks in South Dakota
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We are also shipping some of our wheat out, in between hauling and spreading gravel. We are making sure we are ready for wheat seeding and row crop harvest. This week we plan to spray our wheat stubble with an application of Round-up and Atrazine. We’ve been waiting for all the volunteer to come up. It is only partially germinated, so we’ll rely on the atrazine to suppress the rest of it. Our wheat broadleaf spray worked well during the season, so the fields are mostly weed free. 

Map of South Dakota drought monitor
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

The crops are starting to mature because of running out of moisture. It looks like silage chopping is pretty much done in the area. The signs of fall are everywhere now. Summer is in the rear-view mirror now and we are gearing up for the next big push in South Dakota. 

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