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Corn and soybean planting begins in South Dakota

In South Dakota Lee Lubbers takes advantage of moisture to start planting his corn and soybeans. Chad Henderson hopes for a rain to sustain his knee-high corn in Alabama.


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.

Spring has sprung. We went from excessive drought to wet in the last two weeks. Planting started for us this weekend and corn and beans are both going in the ground at the same time.

Map of South Dakota precipitation
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Last Thursday, a major storm moved through just to the east of us. We watched it build up to the west and then it took a swath through Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota and North Dakota. It brought heavy rains, hail hurricane force straight line winds, and isolated tornadoes. It really affected a lot of people. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected. Whole towns and large areas are without power indefinitely, and numerous grain bins and machine sheds have been flattened. Heavy rains and hail in numerous areas.

As planting gears up for us, we are also spraying wheat. We’ve had to hire planes to get it done due to it being so wet now.

We are continuing to deal with numerous spot shortages. Diesel fuel has gotten to critical levels in the eastern and southern U.S. as I talk to fellow producers. We needed to scramble last week to find an extra 1,000 acres of a specific fungicide. It was ordered months ago and shipments came in short to the retailers. Luckily, we pulled some strings and made some calls and will have it in time. Stay safe everyone! Our thoughts and prayers to all affected by the adverse weather lately.


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.
Corn looks very good, but we need rain soon. We had 0.2 inches of rain a week ago, but it’s been dry since. On our ground we only need 1 week without moisture and we start to get dry. Our knee-high corn is starting to roll up. Within the next week we'll be putting on the Y drops and start to sidedress our corn.

Young, green corn growing in an irrigated field with red soil
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We’ve got our irrigation running a couple weeks ahead of usual. Typically, we start irrigating during the last week of May. This year we are starting up the second week of May due to the lack of rain. The early start has allowed us to check everything out and make sure it is all running properly.

Map of Alabama precipitation
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

We have around 300 acres of soybeans left to plant besides our double crop beans. This week we will head across the river and knock those 300 acres out. If we don’t get some rain or lower temperatures soon, our plan is to be wide open cutting our wheat in the next two weeks.

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