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.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

March 23rd...

We are quickly coming up on the end of March and winter just won't concede to spring. We have spent the majority of the winter months hauling grain from our bins. Recently we've begun servicing our spring planting and tillage equipment and are ready for fieldwork to begin. We have almost all our anhydrous ammonia to still apply before we can even think about planting corn. Ideally we would have completed this last fall, but the weather shut us out of fall field work sooner than normal. As I type this we are almost dry enough to begin applying our nitrogen, but rain looms on the radar and next week's forecast includes another inch of rain we don't really need right now. We patiently wait for our government to reach a trade deal with China so we can resume exporting our soybeans without tariffs. The winter of trade wars has been hard on the soybean market and has not presented us with many of the normal marketing opportunities for new crop soybeans. Hopefully the next time I post we will have some or all of our 2019 crops planted and the temperatures will be a consistent 70 plus degrees.

Vac'ing out soybeans from a few smaller bins that are only accessible when the ground is frozen.

Picking up our grain bags on our Greenfield farms.

Delivering corn to Cargill East St. Louis - literally across the Mississippi River from the Arch.

Working on the planter so we can have the ability to switch from starter fertilizer to banded nitrogen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

January 30th...

Finally getting caught up on all my office projects and updating our blog was on my list. Where has the time gone? I always think I will have plenty of time in the winter months, yet I find things are as busy now as they are any other time of the year. The holidays have come and gone and once again we've rolled the calendar into January. We have spent most of January either inside working on year end books, attending a meeting or driving a semi hauling grain from our bins to multiple locations. The weather has been challenging with a one-time snow event of 13-14" after the first of the year. Since then the daily temperatures have ranged anywhere from 55 to now a balmy -10 degrees. We had hoped we would get a February window to apply the anhydrous ammonia we typically get applied in the fall, but that doesn't seem likely given the current forecast as we sit on January 30th. I'm sure the weather will soon change though and we will be pulling the planters out of the shed and preparing them to plant another crop. 

Unbelievably we were able to get back in the field to perform fieldwork the day after Christmas. We applied our first and only Anhydrous Ammonia of 2018 that day. We also got all the corn stalks worked under on our Williamsville farm. Rain that evening followed by multiple snows, rains and frozen ground have kept us from performing anymore fieldwork since Dec. 26th.

Loading another truckload of Century (nonGMO) corn to be delivered to Cargill in Beardstown.

Washing the Peterbilt semi after hauling corn to the elevator in Beardstown. We like to wash the trucks soon after we are done hauling to get rid of the salt and cinders they spread on the road to melt the ice and snow.

Max, Owen and Rally enjoying our largest snowfall this winter.