Farmers see intensive management pay in a dry year

XtremeAg’s Chad Henderson cuts into his drought damaged corn, while Lee Lubbers sees the benefits of intensive management in a dry year.


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.

We sprayed our last foliar pass last week on our soybeans and it looks like we will start desiccating our early-planted beans in about two weeks. After scouting multiple fields, the double crop beans appear to stand a better chance of out yielding our single season beans. The double-crop beans were planted late enough to miss the heart of the drought we had this summer.

Yellow corn ready to be harvested in Alabama on Chad Henderson's farm

Photo credit: XtremeAg

Our corn harvest is coming along slowly. The 500 acres we have picked so far have been below average. Our hot and dry weather really did some damage during pollination. We are trying to combine the fields that have the most drought damage first before the stalks deteriorate. We have seen real extremes in fields that have any kind of moisture holding area. It will be good corn where there was moisture, but below average where it has been dry.

I’ll be headed to Boone, Iowa this week. Looking forward to meeting and learning from my fellow farmers.


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.

The grind goes on. It’s still dry in our neck of the woods. We were fortunate to catch a rain two weeks ago but we’ve had no precipitation since then. Our crops have been hurt this year but they look better than we could have hoped for considering it’s pretty much a repeat of the 2012 drought in our area. We are seeing the payback from all the extra things we do throughout the season to mitigate stress and get nutrients to the plants. Driving around our area, we are seeing a number of fields getting chopped for silage. Some fields look really bad around us and they get worse as you cross the Missouri River.

Map of South Dakota with pin on Gregory

Photo credit: Google Maps

Our yearly tiling project is done, and the crew moved back to Minnesota to keep laying tile with their other crews. We are now fixing washes in fields, knocking down tile lines, hauling wheat to two different terminals, and getting ready for the upcoming harvest. No real slow time, just shifting gears to do what needs doing.

Tiling project in a field

Photo credit: XtremeAg

The girls are back in school and before we know it the leaves will be dropping again. We did manage to slip in the last carnival of the summer a couple of nights ago. Eating a rainbow snow cone as big as your head and making it yourself is a pretty good deal for the kids (and me too!). They had a good time being kids and I had a great time being a dad. Now we just need a shot of rain to help finish out the crops in South Dakota.

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