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Farmers are worried about parts and subsoil moisture

Chad Henderson nearly finished with maintenance on his planter while Lee Lubbers is concerned about the overly brown winter so far. 


Chad Henderson is part of a five-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.

The way the world is now, you must start working on equipment three months before heading to the field. In the past, we’d pull the planter in the shop two weeks before planting and have it ready to go on time without worry. Not this year. The planter has been in the shop for the first round of prep. We worked on what we could with the parts we could get then the planters went back into the shed. Then we started working on the combine as we waited for parts to arrive for the planter. The last planter parts we needed finally arrived last week, and we will pull it back in to the shop for Round 2 this week. It should be ready to hit the field after this round, but the shuffling around as we wait for parts made things more difficult this year for sure.

Chad Henderson's John Deere combines in the shop
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Last week was spent working on combines. We loosened the tension on several belts to extend their life. Regular maintenance in the shop ensures that the combine will be ready for wheat harvest on time.

The time for wheat side-dress is approaching. This week we’re going to be out in our wheat scouting for aphids and other pests before side-dressing. On our farm, this is when we want to do our first application of Solubor from U.S. Borax. It’s also a good time to add an insecticide if needed. The ground should allow us to start within the next week.

Preparing to sidedress in Alabama
Photo credit: XtremeAg


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.

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

We’re on a winter weather roller coaster. It seems like every few days we go through a big swing in temperatures. We are 50°F. above, then the next morning we will be 0°F. with the wind blowing. The big swings are not what we like to see on our winter wheat. I think it’ll be fine, but it is extra stress on the crop. We are also very brown right now with no snow on the ground. It’s been a very dry winter so far. Droughts don’t usually break over the winter in our region, but it will need to change in the spring as we’re really in need of some soil moisture.

Winter wheat in South Dakota in late January
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Our shop projects keep rolling through. Currently we are going through our trucks and then we will get to work building our new tender trailer in the coming week.

We are hauling some corn from our bin sites that will have load restrictions on before we know it. Our cash flows, and loan renewal is all wrapped up. It’s safe to say, it will cost more money to farm this year.

Red semi truck with grain trailer parked in Lee Lubber's South Dakota farm shop for inspection
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Everyone is affected by increased expenses along with the parts shortages. Keep your eye on the prize and stay safe, everyone.

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