Friday, March 16, 2018

Pre-planting activity...

The calendar is getting closer to April 1st and the start of the 2018 planting season. The neighborhood has been fairly active with tile projects, emptying grain bins, a little field work and other jobs. We have been hauling grain, getting equipment ready, taking delivery of our seed and finalizing our 2018 crop plans. Although the calendar is two weeks from April 1st, Mother Nature seems determined to keep things cold and windy in the 10 day forecast. Soil conditions in our area are very dry as they have been since last July. We do have moisture in the top 1-2 feet of the soil profile, but below that where the corn and soybean roots will need to grow we are still extremely dry.  

Neighbor's tile main cutting through the South end of our Grand Prairie farm.

Notice how dry the soil is. Our area is still included in the latest drought monitor.

18" tile main being laid through our farm. This will drain 120 acres that is over a mile away from us.

Uncle Bob applying anhydrous ammonia to his Atwood farm today.

Cleaning out the last of the small bins we filled with soybeans last fall. Storing soybeans paid nicely this year.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

January means hauling grain...

The New Year has come and gone and we are now focused on what lies ahead in 2018. While the January weather may be taking drastic swings from bitter cold to a pleasant 50 degrees, we remain focused on getting our 1st of the Year grain sales delivered. Since January 2nd we have been busy hauling our stored grain to a variety of locations. We have delivered nonGMO soybeans to ADM in Decatur, white corn to Bartlett Grain in South Jacksonville as well as traditional yellow corn and soybeans to Beardstown. We even answered the call from a local feed mill that was nearly out of corn during the bitterly cold days after the first of the year. When the weather was not fit to move grain we've spent time in the office getting end of the year reports and accounting caught up. We have also attended several informative meetings such as the Precision Planting Winter Conference in nearby Tremont. Their were some intriguing new technologies unveiled at that conference and we are in discussions on how those could impact our business' bottom-line. 

Unloading the temporary white corn storage into a semi. We had about 550 bushels of white corn that would not fit in the grain bins during harvest, so we stored the overrun bushels in a wagon in our cold storage area of our shop until the time came to deliver the first bushels on the contract.

Beautiful sunset while unloading the temporary storage.

We are very fortunate that Bartlett Grain in South Jacksonville is open weeknight's until 9pm. That allows us to deliver to other places during the day or attend a meeting and still be able to deliver grain later in the day.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years from all of us at Johnson Family Farms!  What a wonderful fall it has been with warmer than normal temperatures and almost zero rainfall.  We have been busy doing dirt work outside on various farms, cleaning up fall harvest and tillage equipment and hauling grain from our bins to the Illinois River.  

We were very blessed again this year with high yields and good health. We have many other blessings to be thankful for this past year including all our employees and suppliers that make our business successful.  We look forward to higher prices and more timely and adequate rainfall in 2018!

Mold board plows have been sold and are heading to a new home at a local organic farm where they will use them to plow under cover crops as "green manure."

Building a new terrace on the Dunlap Young farm.
Rebuilding the terrace on the Mears Land Trust in Greenfield. After several multiple inch rains that topped the terrace it eventually wore down the terrace in places and the dirt needed to be moved back.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Harvest 2017 is over...!!!

In our typical seven week fashion harvest has started and finished for us here at Johnson Family Farms. Yields overall were better than expected across the board regarding our yellow corn crop. Given it was our first year growing white corn, we were pleased and also disappointed with that crop. We did learn a few things that we may employ next year should we grow white corn again. The majority of the soybean crop was exceptional with only a few hiccups in yield where we had to replant beans in June due to armyworms.  Fertilizer is being applied and most of the limestone has also been applied. This week we will focus on getting the harvest machinery moved back to our shop and keeping the tillage rigs moving while the weather is good. A few locals have started applying anhydrous ammonia nitrogen, but we will wait a few weeks to ensure that the soil temperatures are below 50 degrees and only getting colder. 

We would like to thank our many employees who helped make our harvest season so successful and without injury. They worked countless hours and many times for weeks at a time without a day off and never complained. We are happy to have harvest behind us and take a break from lunch meat sandwiches...

Filling the grain cart in a hurry while waiting on trucks.

Harvesting soybeans as the sun sets.

Tag-teaming soybeans in Greene County on the Mears Land Trust.

Unloading yellow corn on the run into the Kinze grain cart.

The last pass of Harvest 2017...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Harvest is here...

Harvest began for us on Monday, September 11th. We started with corn testing anywhere from 24-26% moisture. Since that time the weather has become extremely hot and dry and our corn is now 19-20%. The rains have missed us most of the later half of the summer and continue to do so through fall. After two weeks of uninterrupted harvesting, we are now about one-third complete. We have also combined quite a few acres of soybeans and those tested 15% to now a very dry 8% moisture. Yields have been surprisingly good considering how little rainfall we received all summer long. We continue to be thankful for good yields and great employees that help make our harvest season go smooth.

Please be vigilant of farm machinery moving on roads this time of year - we often can't see you behind us; especially when you get really close to us. Be safe!

Harvesting soybeans on the Grand Prairie Farm.

Harvesting corn on the Creed Field just East of our shop.

Owen operating the combine while we harvest soybeans outside Ashland.

Dumping corn through the scale at our grain drying site.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Mid August...

Summer is flying by. The boys summer baseball season is over and school will be starting soon. We are putting the wraps on summer projects and moving on to getting things prepared for harvest. Originally we would begin harvest Tuesday after Labor Day, but due to the cooler temperatures we may begin a week later. Our area continues to remain extremely dry. Our latest yield estimates indicate we will be 25-30% under last year's corn yields. As far as the soybeans we really have no clue on yield projections on those yet. They look like 70 bushel soybeans, but given the dry weather they may not be as good as they look. 

Stock-piling finely ground limestone to apply to a few of our farms this fall. We do this to adjust the soil pH down. 

You're not seeing things, that's white corn we are growing this year. It will be harvested and put on a train bound for Mexico to be made into tortilla chips and taco shells.

A plant from our soybean planting population trial. This came from the 85,000 plants per acre area. Due to the spring rains, it was thinned down to 50,000. Look how it has branched out to compensate for the extra sunlight it has.

Raul Santos speaking to our Farmer to Farmer Peer Group we are a member of. Raul is a farmer from Mato Grasso, Brazil. He operates Lagon Dourada Farms. They primarily raise cattle, but are starting to grow soybeans. It was interesting listening him discuss the challenges they encounter raising the 5,400 acres of soybeans they grew this past year. 

This summer we are monitoring adult corn rootworm beetles in soybean fields. By knowing the populations we can make better corn seed decisions this winter. This yellow card is sticky and traps anything that lands on it. We switch these cards out weekly and keep a tally on what we catch. We will do this through mid September to ensure that the beetles aren't laying eggs in our soybean fields. If they lay eggs in our soybean fields, the odds are high that we will have corn rootworm larvae in the soil next spring. Those chew on our corn roots and cause yield damage.

Cleaning out the last of our grain bins.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Mid July...

The summer is flying by. We have been busy hauling off the last of our corn and soybeans from our grain bins as well as spraying our growing corn and soybean crops with the last round of herbicides and fungicides. Our focus is starting to shift towards getting ready for harvest with projects such as another new grain bin and grain dryer modifications happening quickly. Summer baseball season is also behind us, but the sweet corn is just now coming on. While we started the planting season with plenty of moisture, we are now in search of multiple good rains. Our area keeps missing the soaking rains, but despite our dryness our crops look good for the time being.

This year we tried applying some of our corn fungicide with a helicopter versus an airplane. The helicopter allows us to get into tighter spaces and more odd shaped fields.

Mowing roadsides ahead of the 4th of July.

A thin stand of soybeans on our farm in Greenfield. It rained 3" after we planted the field the first time and then another 1.3" after we replanted the spots above. What a year to get a crop established in Greene County.

Our Grower to Grower Agronomy Group discussing crop conditions in June in one of our corn fields.