Content ID

321606

Uncertainty of rising input costs and extreme weather move timelines

XtremeAg farmers Chad Henderson, Lee Lubbers, and Dan Luepkes are doing all they can to get their farming operation ready for spring in the face of rising input costs and extreme weather. 

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.

All our wheat is now up and out of the ground and growing well, and we are going through all of the data from our corn varieties to determine which hybrids we’ll plant in 2022. Right now, our biggest challenge is running budgets and figuring out the best strategy for balancing acres and fertilizer prices with corn prices. The first step in running a profitable farm is to make sure we are adjusting our rotation so that it puts us in the best position for maximizing ROI on all of our acres in 2022.

I am also taking the time to catch up on some continuing education. I just attended the Mississippi State row crop short course. It was a great experience, and I learned a lot from it. I’m a big proponent of continuing education classes; we always learn something we can apply on our farm.

Chad Henderson maintains his John Deere equipment
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We are starting to pull equipment into the shop for winter inspections and maintenance. We’ll go through each piece of equipment in detail, checking areas we know are worn and looking for any surprises that may otherwise shut us down in the spring if let go. The uncertainty of ordering parts has changed our timeline and increased urgency a bit. We need to order parts now, and do not have the luxury of waiting until a few weeks before planting. The supply chain issues are definitely moving up our regular spring maintenance into wintertime.

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.

Tis the season! We just got our first real snowstorm of the season. It dumped 8 to 10 inches of wet snow on us. Perfect for helping our winter wheat get off to a good start. Considering that our last real rain was in early October, we will take any moisture we can get to recharge the soil profile for spring.

John Deere sprayer on the shop
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Prior to this storm, we’d been well above normal for temperatures. We did a lot of dirt work, fixing washes and replacing culverts on some of our field crossings. We’ve been hauling wheat to a terminal about 80 miles away for the past few weeks; now we’ll turn around and start delivering on one of our soybean contracts later this week.

John Deere tractors do earth work in December on Lee Lubbers' South Dakota farm
Photo credit: XtremeAg

It was nice to see the kids playing in the snow and having a day off from school. I did my good deed and hung a ton of Christmas lights around the office and house. The girls love seeing them at night, and I must admit I enjoy it, too. It is getting cold this week, so I started more office work and prepping for year end. Always plenty to do, but really looking forward to Christmas with the kids this year.

Lee Lubbers' Christmas decorations
Photo credit: XtremeAg

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.

We are experiencing our first really cold nights now. After all, it is December, I guess. The drought is still very much on here. We have absolutely no subsurface moisture going into winter, and the local farmers are very concerned about what that means for next year. We’ve got high input costs and no moisture. This could be a train wreck in 2022 if something doesn’t change. As always, we are hopeful both situations will change.

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

The dry weather has allowed us to continue to work in the fields. We’re installing more tile, building waterways, and doing anything that will make starting back up in the spring go faster. Usually, the ground just unfreezes, and we hit the fields, so a little head start can be beneficial. 

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas! It’s a little early, but if all the stores started with Christmas in October, then why not. 

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