Saturday, November 2, 2019

Harvest is complete...!!!

Harvest began on Monday, September 16th and we wrapped it up on Tuesday, October 29th ahead of an 1.5" of rain and later 2-3" of snow. What a year 2019 has been! And we certainly know how lucky we are to have harvest complete compared to those in Northern Illinois, Dakotas and everywhere else it is super wet. Yields were surprisingly good in corn and average to good on soybeans. We did dry a lot our corn out of the field compared to past years, but that is also why we geared up and added the bigger dryer for this fall in anticipation of that. We have plenty of tillage and fertilizer applications to get wrapped up, but recent rain and snow fall has totaled up to 4" on some of our farms so it will be awhile before tillage can be completed. We are currently working on catching up on book work in the office and starting to make plans for our 2020 crop. 

We would again like to thank all of our employees for the long hours and continuous days they put in bringing in our 2019 harvest. We would also like to thank our partners in the field such as Beard Implement, Central Illinois Trucks, and Prairieland FS for such great service again this fall. 

Combining soybeans with the City of Ashland as the backdrop.

The clouds finally parted at the end of the day which made for an amazing sunset looking to our West from Ashland as we topped off a grain bin.

Harvesting corn right outside the city limits of Ashland.

Hammering out the soybeans on our farms in Greenfield.

We witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets while harvesting corn on our Elkhart farm. The sky looked like it was on fire. 

Aerial shot of the combine and all the grain it collects before dumping in the grain cart.

Transferring corn from the grain cart to the semis.

Harvesting corn on the last field near New Berlin.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Harvest continues...

Harvest continues to roll on. Compared to our friends in Northern Illinois we have been very fortunate to have such mild weather and few rain days. We know how blessed we are this fall with good weather, good yields and a fantastic harvest and tillage crew. We are making good progress on both the harvest and tillage side of the business. We have all the soybeans harvested locally as well as Greene County. We have 295 acres of beans left on the Williamsville farm and hope to get those harvested this upcoming week. There is still plenty of corn to be combined, but typically the weather in late October and November is more conducive for corn harvest than soybean harvest. We've had our share of breakdowns and we'd like to give a BIG THANKS to the folks at BEARD IMPLEMENT in nearby Ashland for getting us going as soon as they could. Their service is phenomenal! 

Another benefit to having a grain dryer is having the ability to get fields tiled in early fall. This was a project that we were not planning to do this fall, but given this was our first field harvested the tile guys jumped on the opportunity to tile when it was 90 degrees out versus 30...

Refilling the combines with Diesel Exhaust Fluid.

We decided to add another grain bin at our grain center late in the spring. The crew from Automated Ag in LeRoy, IL was exactly on time with there estimate of when they thought they would get it built - first week of October. We are excited to have this added to our facility on time to be able to utilize this fall. 

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Harvest has begun...

Harvest began on Monday, September 16th at Johnson Family Farms. We have focused on corn harvest for the last two weeks, but recently we switched to harvesting soybeans. Yields in both crops have been a pleasant surprise and we feel extremely blessed given the year. We also are blessed to have a wonderful and hard working group helping us this fall on harvest and tillage operations. 

Recently three plus inches of rain have given us some time off, but we are staying busy transferring out dry corn from our grain center and working on various other projects.

The CaseIH combine eats 30' of corn every pass. We grow corn in 20 inch rows so our corn head takes 18 rows at a time. 

The grain cart shuttles corn from the combine to trucks along the road. This keeps the combine at peak efficiency and allows us to cover more acres per day.

The sun sets in the background as a truck waits to be unloaded.

A top down view of our new continuous flow grain dryer.

Trucks in line waiting to be unloaded at our grain center.

Transferring out dry corn to satellite bins.

One of the youngest barns in Morgan County on our Strawns Crossing farm.

Spreading limestone on the corn stalks at the Grand Prairie Farm.

Sunday, September 8, 2019


Harvest is quickly approaching. We are finishing up summer projects and getting equipment and bins ready for harvest. While the recent weeks have been cool and overcast, our April planted corn is beginning to mature. We expect to have some harvest activity on the farm by the first part of next week. 

Trenching in a new and larger gas line from our Lp tank to the new grain dryer

Adding a little more rock around the shop and also to Grandma's driveway

Staging lime to be spread this fall after fields have been harvested

Baling waterways on the Dunlap Young farm

Sunday, July 28, 2019

July 28th...

The summer has flown by and school will be starting again shortly. Our crops have taken advantage of the July heat and really taken off. All our corn is now tasseled and pollinated and the soybeans have closed the rows. We have shifted our focus to scouting for fungicide applications, mowing roadsides, our grain center project, and getting harvest equipment ready. As luck would have it, our area has switched from being really wet early in the season to now dry. Our farms in the Williamsville and Elkhart areas have not received an adequate rain in almost two months. While we feel good about our corn's root systems, we are getting critical on needing a substantial rain on those farms. Despite being dry, we realize we are extremely fortunate for the crop we have compared to others in the Midwest. Right now corn harvest appears to be on time and we are looking to start sometime the week of September 9th. 

Spraying fungicide with an airplane on our April planted corn.

We have also been cleaning out the remainder of our grain bins and hauling the corn to nearby Bartlett Grain in Jacksonville. Prices have improved and many have the same idea as us to get the bins cleaned out during this stretch of cool weather. 

Hauling rock for our bin project at our grain center. We also have been hauling lime and spotting it in fields to be spread after harvest this fall. 

Sweet corn fundraiser for Owen's 11U Springfield Cardinals baseball team. We picked over 140 dozen ears of sweetcorn and sold them to help offset tournament fees for next summer. It was a blast watching the boys pick, bag, and sell corn.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day...

I am please to report that as of the evening of Monday, May 20th we finished planting our 2019 corn crop. We feel very fortunate to have several windows to get these fields planted as we are well aware that many farmers in the Midwest as Illinois haven't been so lucky. We also have approximately 30-35% of our soybeans planted as well. Recent rains have kept us out of the field since last week and our most recently planted corn actually needed rains to help it emerge from the soil which was made hard by 2-2.5" rains soon after planting. The next time we can get in the fields it will be hectic with working ground, planting soybeans and very soon it will be time to start spraying our first planted corn with it's final pass of herbicide to kill the weeds which are growing just as fast as our lawns. Happy Memorial Day everyone!

The soybean planter getting ready to plant on the Quad J farm.

Planting the end rows on the front field at our University of Illinois Hunter #3 Farm outside New Berlin.

Bob chopping corn stalks on Jim Alexander's Lincoln farm.

Our grain dryer addition project is well underway.

Waiting on the seed tender to load the corn planter.

Pulling out of our last field of corn to plant for 2019!

Earliest planted soybeans have emerged and are looking good.

Building new dry dams and installing tile risers on our Williamsville farm.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

May 5th...

Spring on Johnson Family Farms finally arrived on Tuesday, April 23rd. After weeks of waiting for the ground to warm and dry up we went to the fields and started planting. We planted a little on Tuesday the 23rd, rained out the next day and finally got back in the fields after a brief shower on Thursday the 25th. Locally, we were in the sweet spot and had missed several of the larger rains. We planted through Sunday evening and were eventually chased out of the fields that evening. Since then we've received upwards of 6" of rain. As we sit today we are 40% planted on corn and a mere 5-10% on soybeans. However, we feel really fortunate compared to a lot of other farmers in Central Illinois who haven't been able to do anything yet. Our fields with pattern-tiled systems or those that just have quite a bit of tile were the driest to begin planting and have the least amount of water standing on them today after last week's 6" of rain. No matter how you slice it - tile pays in many ways; from getting the water off to allowing for timely fieldwork such as planting this year. The forecast is calling for another 3 days of rainfall this week so we don't anticipate getting back in the fields anytime soon. 

We finally got started planting both our 2019 corn and soybean crop on Tuesday, April 23rd. Pictured above and below is our high-speed corn planter. We plant typically around 8-10 mph which allows us to plant faster, but also gives us flexibility to let the soil dry one more day before planting so we don't rush and plant when it's too wet.

Six inches of rain in one with with four inches overnight caused corn stalks to pile up on the roads. The township had to plow them to the sides of the roads with snowplows.

We are upgrading our drying capacity for our 2019 harvest. Here you see the crane getting ready to lift the top of our new stack continuous flow grain dryer into place.