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Mother Nature and maintenance are constant battles in farming

As the end of harvest season nears, XtremeAg’s Lee Lubbers and Dan Luepkes focus on postharvest maintenance and field preparation. Chad Henderson burns the midnight oil as he takes advantage of rare dry days to get his 2021 crop out of the field. 

Lee Lubbers – Gregory, South Dakota

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.

We are in the homestretch. We sat for a few days last week after getting .70 to 1 inch of rain. We regrouped and made sure everything was ready to go again, and it gave me a chance to go trick or treating with the girls before jumping back into a grain cart. After all, candy and corn make everyone happy!

Lee Lubbers unloading corn
Photo credit: XtremeAg

For a drought year, we are happy with our yields. We’ve been very wet for the last six weeks, but the ground was so dry that it is just soaking it all in immediately and allowing us to get back into the fields to finish. We are fortunate, but I know a lot of other producers in wet areas are having a tough time this season. 

As soon as we are done, we will clean and wash the equipment since it’s supposed to be warmer than normal this week. Olsen Custom Farms, our custom harvesting partner, will start saddling up and loading most of their combines and head up to move back to Minnesota. Some will go to other jobs to help finish. Most of the grain hoppers will go other places to help finish. It takes a lot of work to move five combines, heads, grain carts, campers, and everything else onto the next destination.

Lee Lubbers family trick-or-treat
Photo credit: XtremeAg

I’m glad our combine only has to go across the yard and into the barn. We’ll be happy that everyone gets to be home for the holidays this year. We’ve all eaten meals in the field around holiday time in the years when it’s been wet. Everyone is looking forward to harvest winding down so they can all see their families. Stay safe, everyone.

Dan Luepkes – Oregon, Illinois

Dan Luepkes farms in Oregon, Illinois, with his son. Together they farm 1,800 acres of dryland and irrigated corn and soybeans, along with hay. He uses subsurface drip irrigation and pivots on his irrigated crops. He also manages a 200-head cattle operation.

The end of harvest is near – my stress level has been elevated as of late. Harvesting downed corn can make for a very long day. We are finally through the downed corn and are now finishing up on a field of standing corn. We have also been getting chicken litter applied. We employ a variety of methods to prepare the soil for next season. We love no-till and use that practice wherever we can make it work. We also use tillage on farms that respond better to working the soil or in heavy fodder. We usually try to work the fields with extremely heavy residue. 

Down corn in Illinois in November
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Our cover crop is up and out of the ground in the bean fields that were seeded behind the combine. That has really made a difference in building soils and organic matter on our farm.

Chad Henderson – Madison, Alabama

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.

This harvest season has been a challenge. It’s been a constant battle with the rain, keeping us out of the fields for nearly a week in some cases. We have not had a big soaking rainstorm, it has just been frequent showers that bring a 0.5 inch every few days and prevent the ground from drying out. When it is dry enough, we have run into the night to get as much done before the next shower rolls through. 

All our soybeans are now ready to harvest. The weather has cooled down over the past week, which will make harvest move faster as most of the leaves have fallen off the stems.

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