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Spooky weather haunts XtremeAg harvest

Untimely rains and wet conditions create pre-Halloween nightmares for XtremeAg’s Dan Luepkes, Lee Lubbers, and Chad Henderson as they race to get their crop out of the field before the onset of disease and rot. 

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 farmers in our area are trading down corn horror stories, me included. After very little rain all summer, we received 3.5 inches over a couple of days. Not good timing at all. The corn that’s been down for a while now is now starting to rot, causing a lot of headaches with the corn head. One of the worst things in farming is a flat cornfield. 

The fields we harvested a couple weeks ago are green with volunteer corn. We have had temperatures way above normal for this time of year that have helped those seeds germinate.

We just finished our irrigated corn acres, and it was nice to get into some 300-plus-bushel corn after picking our subpar dryland acres. Our Valley Irrigation pivots, and Netafim subsurface drip irrigation system have paid big dividends this year.

We are about halfway done with our corn at this time, and the push is on to finish. Tar spot came in late and has turned a bad situation into a worse one. This corn needs to be picked first to keep the yield we have before we lose it. There is a lot of talk in our area about spraying two fungicide passes next season because of the appearance of tar spot this year.

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.

Harvest grinds on. We jumped from soybean harvest and wheat planting right into full blown corn harvest in South Dakota. We fought green stems and beans all the way till the end. I’ve been hearing it’s a common issue this year, and there are still a good number of soybeans left to harvest in our part of the country.

Grain bins on Lee Lubber's farm
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We just got between a half and 1 inch of rain in our area and now harvest is on hold for a few days as the cool weather slows down the drying of the ground. We went from 70°F. to 80°F. temperatures to 35°F. to 50°F. temperatures now. During this time out from the field we are regrouping and making sure everything is ready to make a big push as soon as the ground dries out. We are probably just one full week from being done with corn.

Our first-planted wheat looks good for this time of year. Before we know it, the ground will be freezing, and the winter wheat will go dormant for the winter.

Lee Lubbers seeds wheat in October with his John Deere equipment
Photo credit: XtremeAg

The supply chain issues are an ongoing problem; you never know what is going to be available when you need it most. It seems like it’s never the same things – it’s always something else that now is an issue to get on time.

Stay safe, and happy harvesting.

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.

We are shelling the last of our corn that was planted in the late spring. It’s been wet and rough this harvest season. We can safely say that our fungicide program paid off this year. Even with the wet conditions this year, we are seeing very little evidence of disease as we roll through each field with the combine.

We took advantage of a few dry days to get as much done as possible before rain moves in early this week. We just can’t catch a break. This whole week is 20% to 40% chance of rain every day. 

Our soybeans are not holding up well with this wet weather. Our double-crop soybeans will be ready to pick in about 10 days. We expect 40 to 45 bushels per acre on our double-crop beans, which is right on track for what we usually yield on our double-crop beans. Our wheat planting is being delayed while we wait for planting conditions to improve.

As input prices are increasing, we have compared fertilizer prices to determine our program for next crop. We have decided to go with chicken litter on most of our acres due to the cost and nutrient levels it holds.

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