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Farmers welcome moisture, planting progress slows

Chad Henderson finds time in between rain to plant his crop and test plots, while a snowstorm helps green up Lee’s wheat crop.


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.

Bagged beans on Chad Henderson's Alabama farm
Photo credit: XtremeAg

This week, we started hauling the beans that we bagged last season. We’ve found that using bags has been a great way for us to store harvested crops on farms that are too far for trucking during harvest season.

Overall, our wheat looks good. We are at the flag leaf stage, and we just finished spraying fungicide. We continue to get rain almost every week. It was starting to dry up nicely but then we got another inch of rain last week that has kept us out of the fields. As the fields allow, we are quick to get in them and get as much planted as we can before the next rain. Our ADS tile project with the lift station has continued to amaze me. It’s one of those cases where I knew what it was supposed to do, but seeing it dry out the spots in the field that have historically been wet is amazing to see. It really changes the way we farm to be able to plant everything at one time – and not have to do planting patchwork.

Bagged beans on Chad Henderson's Alabama farm
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We’ve got most of the beginning of the season bugs worked out of the planters. All our test plots will start going in within the next few weeks. We look forward to learning new things every season and the test plots allow us to try new programs and seed on a small scale before we use it on our entire farm. Our test plots are an invaluable part of our farming operation – every farmer should incorporate them if possible. Many of the things we’ve learned from our plots have become standard management practices on our farm.

Map of Alabama precipitation
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet


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 precipitation
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Things are starting to slowly green up, even though we are still dry here in South Dakota. The other day we caught a couple of inches of snow and it instantly helped green up the wheat overnight. Our standing cornstalks and wheat stubble caught a little more as the snow piled up. All we need is a nice rain to get everything to pop.

All indications are that our wheat has seemed to survive the wild temperature swings we experienced over winter and early spring so far. A dry early spring is not abnormal for our area, and we are bound to get some more moisture soon. We’ll just keep waiting.

Photo credit: XtremeAg

In the meantime, we are continuing to tweak and tune up our equipment, and we’re getting all our chemicals put away in storage until we need to use them this season. In a few weeks we’ll start with our pre-emerge herbicide applications. 
We are enjoying the warmer days that are starting to show up. Before we know it, planting season will be upon us again.

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