Overcoming Drought and Boosting Farm Yields
21 Nov 2318 min 53 sec

Lee Lubbers says farmers too often— and too early — give up on their crop. We get it. It’s hot. It’s dry. Things don’t look good and the prospect of bumping out a respectable yield seem unlikely. But, as Lee has learned, you gotta continue to round the bases even during a drought year like he just experienced. Lee explains to Damian how he’s adjusting for success in 2024 with amended practices he’s already performing.

Presented by Loveland Products

00:00 Late season, were you still around in the bases? Were you still doing the practices to take you to a fruitful harvest? That's what we're talking about today with Lee Luber. 00:09 Welcome to Extreme Acts Cutting the Curve podcast, where we cut your learning curve with insights you can apply immediately to your farming operation. This episode is presented by Loveland products. 00:21 When it comes to crop inputs, you need products that are field proven to deliver both results and value. For more than 50 years, 00:28 Loveland products has been providing farmers with high performance value-driven product solutions designed to maximize productivity on every acre. 00:36 Visit loveland products.com to see how their innovative products can help you farm more profitably. And now here's your host, Damien Mason. So 00:46 I got Lee Lubers here. We're talking about, uh, even in a drought year, you've got to round the basis and this episode of Extreme Acts cutting the 00:52 curve. Thanks for being here. You know, he's basically the guy that keeps saying round the bases, round the bases. We've done a number of recorders. 00:59 He talks about something he's doing late season, well in 2023 in Gregory, South Dakota, where Mr. Lubers farms. 01:06 It's some pretty tough conditions all the time. They can have very bad winters, blizzards, and they can also have some pretty dry and hot summers. 01:12 This was one of those summers, in fact, it wasn't the first one. He's lived through a few of them and he said, Damien, I'll tell you what, 01:19 2023 taught me. 2023 taught me that even in a direct year, you gotta keep rounding the bases. 01:23 You gotta keep doing the things to put a put it out there and, and don't give up on it because you can still have a fruitful harvest. 01:29 So right now you're in harvest. We're recording this mid-October, and you're saying, yep, I did it. 01:36 I pulled it off even though it looked like it was gonna get kind of, it was gonna get a little, little tight. Tell me what happened. 01:42 Uh, this year. Uh, we started out, uh, very dry, uh, and, uh, terribly dry. Then we got one rain, we planted our crop, and then things are starting to get stressed again. We got one more rain. 01:56 It's just kind of been like that. Uh, on our soybeans, we called them chameleon beans. They kept changing color with the environment. They'd be green, they'd be silver, they'd be, uh, uh, 02:07 they just kept changing throughout. Whenever we, we get a rain, they'd pep up, then they'd wilt again, get another rain. Uh, 02:15 this year just reinforced with us that rounding the basis pays that we don't, we don't want to give up on our crop. 02:23 And we saw that across the board on our wheat and our corn and our soybeans. This year. 02:29 I was at the AG PhD Field Day and, uh, the hefty brothers were on a panel, and I believe it was Darren Hefty said that he thinks the number one sin, 02:40 or maybe most common mistake, maybe not calling it a sin, is guys give up on a crop. Oh, it's never gonna rain. You know what, 02:49 this is a lost cause. Uh, all I'm doing is throwing good money after bad. He said that at that. And it was, 02:54 it was in South Dakota and it was blistering hot. It was 95 degrees. And you were experiencing that. And then, then some. 03:00 Is that an accurate statement? Is one of the most common mistakes or, uh, the most, the, the most common sin, uh, among farmers that they just decide, 03:09 you know what, there's no reason to do this. It's done. Uh, absolutely. Uh, too many times I've seen people give up in their crops. 03:18 They gave up way too early. Uh, our crop's gonna give up before we do on it, and it doesn't mean we're throwing the kitchen sink at it. That's not yet. 03:29 It's part of our program, how we're doing everything from stress mitigation throughout the season. Uh, setting the stage from when we plant in furrows and PGRs our 03:41 fertility program from in furrow. And in the season, all those things are built into what we're doing to keep around in the bases to mitigate stress and keep yields up as high as 03:54 we can. And it really became evident in our environment this year. In about September over Labor Day weekend, we got our second blast of heat. 04:04 It was a hundred to 110, 20 to 35 mile an hour winds for like three, four days. It's like a 04:10 Convection oven that's a a hundred, a hundred and plus degrees in September. There's zero humidity and, and there's a 20 mile an hour wind blowing. 04:18 That's a convection effect. Yeah. It, the wind blew at night. It did not let up, and it was brutal. And, uh, 04:28 that's when you really started seeing the differences of your crop giving up. Uh, it was not, uh, 04:35 there's a big difference between physiological maturity and premature death. And sometimes there's things we can do. Nothing to avoid that. Right. You know, 04:44 when you get no rain, guess what? You're not gonna have a crop. But if we have something to work with, 04:49 our goal is to get it to physiological maturity. And we started seeing that around Labor Day, uh, fields that we farm right beside, we'd be planting at the same time, 04:59 sometimes even looking at each other. And neighboring fields would be the ears on green. Plants would just turn white and just fall over. Uh, 05:09 our ears were staying erected. Our plants were still green. It was amazing, uh, how it held in there. Uh, that one day I was, uh, took my kids to the dentist, 05:20 uh, after school and we're coming back by where we have a half section of corn on one side of the highway and the neighbors in the other, 05:27 and we were both planting at the same time. Both I, we planted a hundred day hybrid. I know that's usually what he plants is a hundred day. 05:35 And on his side of the road, all the ears were totally flipped over and white and on our side, it was amazing how good it looked at 111, uh, 05:46 that, uh, that corn, it suffered, uh, from premature death. Uh, we kept the ball rolling, 05:53 not giving up on our crop from the things we did earlier in the season. Set the stage so we could hold in longer. 05:59 We achieved physiological maturity and I would say we're probably gonna make double what it does across the road. And we see numerous instances of that this year because we did, 06:12 we did not give up on our crop throughout the season. We set things up so it could handle the stresses more. Yeah. We didn't know what, when they were, when they were gonna happen. Yep. 06:21 But we pretty much know they're gonna happen. Mm-Hmm. By the way, people think you're competitive and you talk about what's going on across the 06:29 road. It's not that it's just so much that it gives you a very good comparative, uh, 06:37 comparative example of what if you didn't do these things might happen. That's what you're talking about. Right. 06:45 It, it, it, it reinforced, uh, uh, my brother and I, we drove around and, and just when, as we're checking crops walking into fields, 06:53 and it just reinforced what we've been doing, what we've been working for, what we've been over all these years as a program, 07:01 as a systems approach that yes, it's paying and we see the benefit in, in years when it's wetter. Uh, we always see that. We always, 07:12 we will see the good yields, but when we get hit by really bad stress, then it's the real big payoff. 07:19 Yeah. So let's just talk about what practices, did you change anything in 2023 from a prior year? Did you add a new product, change up a practice to make any adjustments from the year prior? 07:30 Is there anything new On part of our corn acres? We, uh, we looked more as we talked about in our group, rounding the bases. And, uh, 07:40 we looked more, uh, you know, on our corn. We've been, you know, by the time it tassels, okay, we're West River, South Dakota. 07:47 Let's not worry about it. Well, we got more proactive. We took part of our acres and we came up with some ideas to try to help mitigate stress during drain field time. And, uh, 08:00 we actually brought in a plane and we did that with, uh, uh, three different products in the tank. 08:06 And we're seeing a real good payoff on that. And in our area, we've done regular fungicide trials throughout the years. When you say the, 08:15 the third quarter of a corn plant, and we was not getting the payoff. But now that we came up with some different ideas by getting ideas from other 08:24 members in our group, uh, that are, that we work with, we started trying different things, a different mindset and focused on that. And we're seeing a definite payoff on those corn acres acres. 08:35 Right. Right. So here, here's the thing. Rounding the bases. Uh, when you, when you talk about it and not giving up on a, on a crop, 08:44 there's times when you do Right. There's times when even you throw in the towel, right? 08:50 Yeah. Yep. Yeah. How do you, how do you know? Do you think the other people do it prematurely? They're looking over at you and saying, well, you should have done it sooner. 08:58 'cause there's gonna be times when you kept going and you said the crop gave out before you, and then you did toss a little bit of bad, not bad money, you just, 09:06 you spent where it didn't give you a, a return. How do you know? Uh, well, like, uh, this year in our corn, uh, yeah, 09:15 everybody's corn got hurt late, but we kept it going longer functioning. Yep. So we bought enough time, so we still got a yield impact off of it. 09:27 Uh, if you didn't do those earlier steps, it gave up the ghost early. Yeah. You're, and there's a penalty to that, so 09:36 You're not gonna catch up. Yeah, exactly. It, it's, it's always that proactive mindset. And, uh, uh, even on soybeans this year, uh, you know, 09:47 in our area was, uh, spray herbicides and that was it. Well, we were out with R one and we were doing R three passes. Even when we get even 70 hundreds of rain, 09:59 we go out and do an R three pass and we'd see the stimulation in the boost from that. Uh, 10:05 we had plans in place to do probably an r do an R five pass on probably 1500, 2000 acres of soybeans. Well, guess what? At that time it's a hundred plus degrees. 10:19 We're totally outta moisture. No, we, we, we still have the products in the shed. We'll carry it over to next year. There was no use of throwing that money out there that was 10:31 wasting money. Yep. So, uh, sometimes mother nature's gonna throw you the wild card. We're like, Hey, we can't do this. 10:39 All right. I wanna ask you about what you're gonna adjust for 2024. Before I do that, I want to ask you, dear listeners, 10:44 are you ready to stand up to weather induced crop stress? All right. We just heard about a hundred plus degrees two different times in the summer, 10:50 and there's Lee out there still rounding the basis. Do you wanna round the basis? Why don't you use a product called Terra Mars? An innovative bios stimulant technology from Loveland products designed to help 11:02 your corn and soybean crops thrive even under stressful conditions. The company's name is Loveland Products. 11:07 The product's called Terramar is to reduce stress on your plants during stressful weather problems. 11:14 Try Terra Mar's exclusively available from nutrient Ag Solutions. Whatcha gonna change in 2024? You know, is there anything that you're like, Hey, 11:24 we did this and found out this should be how we do things from now on. Is there anything like that about rounding the basis that you're like, yep, 11:31 we're gonna do this toward the end. We're gonna do this at the end next year across every acre, anything like that? Uh, we're gonna expand on our wheat. Well, 11:40 for our 2024 wheat crop, we just got done planting yesterday. And our earliest acres, our wheat on wheat acres are up. Uh, 11:49 we had them sprayed just before the rain. Uh, yes, we have two sprayers. Uh, but we were busy, uh, 11:56 combining soybeans and finishing seeding and trying to beat this ring. Get as much done as we could. So we had it custom applied. Uh, we, 12:06 we knew if we were proactive and got it on, uh, when we needed to on the wheat, uh, in that first quarter on the wheat. 'cause we had enough growth, we had it in early. Now 12:17 What did you put on? What, what did you have custom applied on the wheat? Uh, we, we actually did some, uh, herbicide. We did, uh, 12:25 on some axium wheat. Uh, we applied, uh, aggressor, but we actually incorporated in insecticide and fungicide. 12:34 We incorporated in some different products into it because we knew we're setting the stage up for it to go into dormancy in a better, better position. This 12:44 Was stuff you just did like two weeks ago. One was, uh, we Ago, two days ago. Two days ago. And we, 12:51 and we had it custom applied because we knew, even though we have two sprayers, it's like, uh, we're better to hire it done and get it done at the right time. 13:01 Uh, because we knew this storm was gonna be pretty big, you know, probably three plus inches of rain. We wanted to have it on. So we're, 13:08 uh, we're being more proactive on that first quarter of the wheat, you know, going the fall. Uh, uh, expanding upon that. 13:19 And then for 24, we will be looking, expanding our trials and our acres on, uh, getting into that third quarter on corn, which is unheard of in our area. 13:31 Uh, we're gonna, we're gonna keep pushing past into reproductive timing and soybeans into the fourth quarter. We're going all the way next year. 13:40 We're gonna get some rain in August. We're gonna go all the way through R five mm-Hmm. Okay. So the 2024 adjustments you made is, 13:48 you're starting off with this false crop, this false planting of wheat, which just happened a couple of days ago here in early October to mid-October, 13:56 uh, with a, a herbicide. 'cause what fall annuals? Is that what we're worried about? Uh, uh, you, we had the option on this herbicide. 14:06 We could do it in the fall or wait till spring. Uh, common practice is people will wait till spring go, oh, it's the fall. Why would we worry about this? Right. 14:17 We do not want that unwanted competition for fertility, moisture. Go, uh, 14:25 here's a good analogy I just thought of last night. Uh, when bears go into hibernation, do they go into a diet? Absolutely not. Why do you want your wheat to be on a diet going into, into dormancy? 14:38 Oh my, see, this is why we have him on, ladies and gentlemen. This is why we have him on. Yes, 14:43 the bears are out there eating just the fatty part of the salmon, not even the whole thing to get the fat reserved so they can go into 14:51 hibernation. So you want your wheat to go in fat hibernate. I like it. Okay, so that's one change you're making. 14:58 And then you're going to take it, you're gonna push it further on the soybeans. You didn't this year because you had zero. I find it funny, 15:06 you even talk about one hundredths of percent of, of a precipitation. Uh, you're gonna take your soybeans to the very bitter end in 24. 15:16 Yeah, we're going all four quarters. If we get normal moisture, what Will, what will the four, 15:21 what will the fourth quarter treatment on the beans look like? Uh, we will do some fuller nutrition. We will do some PGRs, 15:29 which we have a lot of experience with. And, uh, and we'll also focus on mitigating stress. Minimize that plant stress, Which is hard to do when it's in fourth quarter on soybeans where you are 15:41 because it's usually been pretty hot and dry. All right. Any other adjustments that you're gonna make for 2024 based on what you saw from 15:48 the combine seat in 2023? Uh, we're just gonna keep tweaking our program, improving upon what we've been building on. And, uh, 15:57 we feel it's the right steps to take. Same number of products, same number of trips across the field on corn. And we got changed from the, from the, at the time of planting. 16:08 Soybeans really get changed in quarter, in the, in the, in the fourth quarter of the ball game. Anything else? Anything changing on corn? 16:16 Uh, corn, we're gonna look more in that third quarter, uh, because we've done other trials with just regular fungicide. 16:23 We could not get yield response. But now that we're getting into, uh, working in other, other categories of products, uh, 16:31 we're kind of getting into very defined foliar nutrition and stress mitigation. Uh, 16:38 that's tailored more for that time and we're seeing some good results. So we're gonna expand acres on that. And, uh, 16:46 we've been using the same philosophy on wheat. We've been trying to figure out the moving com pieces and the components on corn and soybeans, and now we're starting to find, figure out some of those. 16:58 It just takes time, but the only way it's gonna happen is if we keep trying. I like it. I think that's enough to get us outta here. 17:08 We're talking about rounding the basis, even in a drought year. You just heard it on wheat. 17:12 He's going out there preemptively at time of planning and putting on was a fertilizer. It was a herbicide. 17:16 And then was there a fungicide also at time of planning for wheat? Uh, fungicide, early insecticide. Yep. mm-Hmm, 17:23 Everything. And then you heard about his soybeans. You heard about his corn. Anyway, we love having him on here. He's Lee Lubers, Gregor, South Dakota, 17:30 one of extreme ags original founders. Uh, he's always got great information. I'd say if you're ever in his part of the world, look him up. 17:36 But almost nobody's ever in his part of the world. It's, uh, it's a place you got. You gotta be wanting to go there when you go there. 17:42 So next time. Thanks for being here, Lee. So next time, remember, share this with somebody that can benefit from it. We have amazing amounts of information on these videos. 17:52 These guys shoot videos out in the field, in their shops, in their office, and then on all these episodes when I'm with them in the field or at an event or 18:00 on the, in the studio, just like today, right here, hundreds and hundreds of videos you can use to up your farming game. If you want to take it to the next level, 18:07 consider becoming an extreme Ag member. 750 bucks a year. You get direct access to the guys, you'll get privy to. Better infor, no better, 18:15 even more information than you can already get for free. So seven 50 bucks a year, become an extreme Ag member. 18:20 You can do all this@extremeag.farm. So next time, thanks for being here on Damian Mac. That's a wrap for this episode of Extreme Eggs Cutting the Curve, 18:28 but there is plenty more available by visiting Extreme Ag Farm. For over 50 years, 18:33 farmers have turned to the proven lineup of crop inputs offered by Loveland products, from seed treatments, plant nutrition, adjuvant, 18:41 and crop protection products. Loveland has the complete lineup to keep your farming operation productive, and most importantly, profitable. Check out loveland products.com to learn more.

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