Planting of corn and soybeans begins in South Dakota

In South Dakota, Lee Lubbers is taking advantage of the wet weather to start planting his corn and soybeans. Chad Henderson is hoping for rain to support his knee-high corn in Alabama.


Lee Lubbers of Gregory, South Dakota, grew up in the farming tradition and vividly remembers using leftover scholarship money as a 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 for him is to always learn and challenge himself to build an operation and a legacy that the next generation can be proud of.

Spring has arisen. We have gone from excessively dry to wet over the past two weeks. Planting started for us this weekend and maize and beans are being planted at the same time.

South Dakota Precipitation Map

Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Last Thursday a big storm hit just east of us. We watched it pile up west, then it moved through Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, and North Dakota. It brought heavy rain, straight-line hurricane-force winds with hail and isolated tornadoes. It really touched a lot of people. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved. Whole towns and large areas are without power indefinitely, and many grain silos and machine sheds have been flattened. Heavy rain and hail in many areas.

As the seedlings are getting ready for us, we are also spraying wheat. We had to hire planes to do it because it’s so humid now.

We continue to experience many spot shortages. Diesel fuel has reached critical levels in the eastern and southern United States as I speak to other producers. We had to scramble last week to find another 1,000 acres of a specific fungicide. It was ordered months ago and deliveries arrived to retailers in no time. Luckily, we’ve pulled a few strings and made a few calls and we’ll get him in time. Stay safe everyone! Our thoughts and prayers to everyone who has been affected by bad weather lately.


Chad Henderson is part of a fifth-generation farming operation in Madison, Alabama. Henderson Farms operates more than 8,000 acres of irrigated dryland corn, irrigated dryland soybeans, and irrigated dryland wheat and double-crop soybeans. When he’s not farming, Chad continues another proud family tradition as a drag racer for Henderson Racing.

The corn looks very good, but we need rain soon. We had 0.2 inches of rain a week ago, but it’s been dry since. On our floor we only need 1 week without humidity and we are starting to dry out. Our knee-high corn begins to roll. Over the next week we will be putting in the Y drops and starting to spread our corn.

Young green corn growing in an irrigated field with red soil

Photo credit: Xtreme Ag

Our irrigation works a few weeks earlier than usual. As a rule, we start irrigating in the last week of May. This year we are starting the second week of May due to the lack of rain. The early start allowed us to check everything and make sure everything is working properly.

Alabama precipitation map

Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

We have about 300 acres of soybeans left to plant in addition to our double crop beans. This week we will cross the river and clear those 300 acres. If we don’t get rain or lower temperatures soon, our plan is to cut our wheat wide open over the next two weeks.

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