Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

We would like to wish you a Happy New Year from Johnson Family Farms! We wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Working outside...

Newly discovered tile @ the Williamsville farm

Where the "bridge" used to be...

Looking West towards Dan Gieseke & the trackhoe

Dan at work trimming the ditch bank

"Brent's" next project...

Our work continues as we try to wrap up 2009. We have been busy washing and putting away more of the harvest equipment as well as meeting with accountants and getting the remainder of our 2009 finances in order. As well, Sunrise FS has been spreading fertilizer on the Foster farms around Ashland.

Bedolli Excavating has wrapped up the ditch-cleaning project on the Williamsville farm. The ditch will now be able to handle almost double the amount of water it did previously. Not to mention that they discovered eight new tile lines that were plugged with dirt right at the bank that we now have running; nice surprise! They also removed two huge pieces of concrete buried in the ditch bank that appears to have been part of a bridge structure at one time. I also got an opportunity to learn what a "Missouri crossing" was for the first time...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More to do...

Dan Gieseke operating the track hoe.

The new ditch bank vs. the old one.

Notice the color difference of the grass on the ditch bank.
The water level has dropped at least 2' since the start of the project.

While we finished harvest last Tuesday morning, we have stayed busy performing maintenance on the fall machinery and various other jobs. We even started the harvest crew back up and went to work helping a friend wrap up their harvest. Yesterday we finished the final 30 acres remaining for our neighbor and today we will move the machinery home we hope for the last time this season.

To-date the ground has remained too frozen to chisel plow. We are still hopeful that we can get in and till the remaining 230 acres around Ashland which we intend to grow corn on corn on.

Bedolli Excavating has arrived at the Williamsville farm to begin our ditch cleaning project. This project is a partnership with the adjoining land owner to widen and deepen 1.5 miles of drainage ditch. As you can see from the pictures, the work they have already completed has lowered the water level by a couple feet.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Harvest 2009 is Over...

Adjusting the downed corn reel on a very cold morning...

The remaining corn at the Williamsville farm was all as flat as the corn in this picture...

Unloading on-the-go...notice how dirty the corn was.

Just as the rain and winds arrived late yesterday morning we finally wrapped up our 2009 harvest. A big thank you goes out to all of our employees and family for all your dedication, hard work and patience this harvest season!

We were fortunate to get all the machinery and trucks moved back home to Ashland and parked indoors before the temperatures dropped and the rain changed over to ice and snow. It is a good feeling to wrap up harvest, but we still have tillage that we would like to do if given the chance.

Thank you again to everyone who helped us this fall; whether it be driving a truck, running a grain cart, or delivering meals to the fields to feed our hungry crew - your help was truly appreciated!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Holiday Season...

Harvesting the last of the "standing" corn at Williamsville today

In celebration of all of the 'standing' corn being out of the fields, we have added a little holiday music to the blog! We hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Harvest progress...

Harvest sunset in Greene County

Dumping corn at HOG, Inc.

Carl chiseling on the Mears Land Trust

Harvesting on the 20a. field

Line of over 60 trucks waiting to dump Monday evening at Johnson Grain in Waverly

After celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with family we were able to get back in the fields and resume harvesting. We completed half of the Martin Farm and then moved down to our farms in Greene County. With light weekend traffic at HOG, Inc. we were able to get in and out of the elevator in good time and keep the combine moving. The tile we installed earlier this spring proved to pay great dividends. The yields were good considering it was planted on June 1st with the tile installed a mere four weeks earlier. Overall, we were pleasantly surprised with yields on our Greene county farms. We finished down south Monday afternoon and moved back to the Martin farm. This afternoon we completed that acreage and made another move to our remaining corn around Ashland. At this point we have ~70 acres of standing corn left to harvest. Unfortunately, it is all in the wettest parts of fields and we will most likely have to wait for this week's cold weather to freeze the ground before we can harvest it. Outside of the corn around Ashland, we have a few acres of tornado corn we would like to harvest before calling it a year.
Tomorrow we will harvest what corn we can around the wet holes and bring the chisel plow home from Greenfield to begin work on the U of I farm.
Hope we miss the rains and snow tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving is here...

Moving from the Williamsville farm

Harvesting at the U of I farm in the bottoms

Dumping corn at the bin

I can never remember a year when we we've had corn standing in the fields during Thanksgiving. But this year we still have 22% of our corn out in the field as we celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday.

This week we snuck in one good day of harvesting and finished up the U of I farm at New Berlin. We moved West after finishing at New Berlin and just as we were arriving at the Martin Farm in nearby Strawns Crossing it started to rain again. We ended up with 0.5", which after last week's 4.0" looks like a flood. Our hope is to finish the Martin Farm and head south to begin harvesting in Greenfield.

One of the many thanks I would like to extend this Thanksgiving is to Josh Schlicht & Chris Dowson as they each gave up one of their combines when they heard one of our's went down with a blown engine. It is always nice to have neighbors and friends you can depend on; especially during a fall like this.

Happy Thanksgiving from Johnson Family Farms!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Saturated again...

Rain set in Sunday and hasn't stopped since. We have received between 3.2" & 4.5" depending on location, which has brought all harvest and tillage operations to a halt. To-date we are 76% complete with corn harvest, 100% completed with soybeans and tillage is closer to 50% complete.

Above are some pictures of our tornado corn harvest operation. The roll-a-cones we added to the 8-row corn head worked great, but the daily progress was very slow. We have a few more acres of the tornado corn remaining to harvest, however we are thankful for the progress we were able to make in the last couple weeks.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Today my son, Owen made the trip out to the field to inspect what we've been up to. He was quickly moving around the combine making sure to pick up any corn we may have left on the ground.

We have made tremendous progress since my last update. Today we finished the Elkhart farm and have now moved to the Williamsville farm to work on the tornado corn. Progress is slow, but we are getting most of the corn that remains somewhat upright. Elevators have been closing early due to the large amount of wet corn being harvested. We are hauling 50 miles one way to Sunrise Ag Service in Havana to fill some of our remaining grain contracts. The line at the local elevator is approximately 1:45 min. so we are hauling it significantly farther, but making the trip in the same time; also taking advantage of a better basis. Rain is in the forecast, but we will continue to harvest barring any mechanical failures.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Taking advantage of the weather...

What a good week for field work! Everyone has been busy this week. Dad and Bob have both been harvesting corn and covering a lot of acres while the weather is good. It has been a good week as we have been able to harvest everyday. Today we were able to start the chisel plow again, although there are still a few wet holes to avoid. We are also running a third combine working on our tornado corn in Williamsville. It is a slow process as the roll-a-cones take frequent adjustment and the elevators have been closing around 1 pm for wet corn. The corn around the Ashland/Pleasant Plains area bounces between 17-20% moisture while the Williamsville corn is 23-26%. Tomorrow's plan includes more field work as well as Bob switching over a combine to work on the remaining acres of soybeans we have left to harvest. I will try to get some pictures for my next update.

Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Back to the fields...

Despite damp soil conditions, we were able to start harvesting corn again today. The rolling ground of the Lehmann Farm gave us favorable harvesting conditions, although challenges presented themselves throughout the day and into the evening hours.

The corn is still good to very good with moisture's hovering around 20%. We hope to cover a lot of ground this week with the favorable forecast; both with the combines as well as the chisel plow.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rain, rain, & more rain...

The word for the week was "wet..." Inches of rain came down this week and many of our farms now have ponds on them. It has been over a week since we have harvested or done any tillage. Our latest projects have been hauling dry corn out of grain bins to the river to make room for the next round of corn to be harvested and transferring corn from bins with dryers to other bins that have only fans.

Dad, Bob & David have also been working on our latest project to tackle the tornado corn. We decided to add an eight-row corn head to our fleet and install Roll-a-cones across the entire head in hopes that the spiraling tubes would throw the corn stalks up and give the snapping rolls more time to drag them down. We also think this will better handle the "matt" of wet corn stalks laying on the ground and help feed them up through the corn head. We are anxious to try it out, but it will be at least next week as the forecast is calling for better and drier weather...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Harvest 2009...

Installing the new down corn reel on the head.


Hard to tell where we've harvested...

Fuel needed...

After my last post our area experienced another rain which kept us out of the fields around Ashland until last weekend. Saturday we decided that the Williamsville farm was the driest and we headed up there to begin work on our "tornado" corn. Before we left we installed a new reel on the corn head to help aid with the harvest. This reel proved to be no match for the flat corn...

We harvested in Williamsville on Saturday afternoon through Monday evening. On Tuesday morning the weather was dry and warm enough we decided to move back to Ashland and combine soybeans. We are very close to finishing our 2009 soybean harvest. Although, we had to leave a few patches in fields that are too wet and almost caused the combines to get stuck this week.

On Tuesday afternoon Carl Wester started the chisel plow running again and as I post he is still out working; trying to get as much done as possible before the rains.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Test plot is out...

Yesterday we were successful in harvesting our corn hybrid test plot. The highest yield was 254.0 bpa and the low was 193.7 bpa. Overall plot average was 227.1 bpa, which is representative of what that field has yielded so far. Due to the wet soil conditions we decided not to chance getting a truck stuck and we pulled the weigh wagon with Bob's tractor.

Thanks to the following companies and individuals for participating:
  • Wyffels Hybrids - Nathan Provost
  • Pioneer Hi-breds - Jeff Cosner & Joe Walker
  • Monsanto/DeKalb - Doug Hobrock & Chris Kallal
It is raining here as I type and the forecast calls for more rain today with an additional 60% chance of rain tomorrow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wet weather continues...

Despite a 1.1" rain Tuesday and a 2.8" rain on Friday/Saturday of last week we are back in the fields harvesting. The forecast is calling for rain again on Wednesday and Thursday, thus we are pushing a little harder to keep getting corn out of the field. For the most part, the corn is still standing well but each weather front that moves through brings with it wind. We are starting to see where the wind is taking a toll on some of our earlier plantings. Besides harvesting, Bob is hauling dry corn out of the bins to ADM at Beardstown so we can fill the bins back up with wet corn and use our fans and dryers to help dry the corn down for storage.

We plan is to take our corn plot out tomorrow morning.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Back to work...

The weekend allowed for more fieldwork to continue. Saturday we harvested corn; completing a few fields and opening more fields up in search of drier moisture's. Today the weather cooperated and we were able to start harvesting soybeans again. The soybean yields have been very good despite we thought back in August. We will continue to harvest soybeans until the next rain event.

We were also able to spread lime and start chisel plowing over the weekend. The ground is pulling especially hard this year due to all the rains throughout the course of the growing season. We are pulling a Krause Dominator which tills the soil and buries the existing corn residue to a depth of ~12".

Friday, October 2, 2009

Grain bin fire...

All of us at Johnson Family Farms would like to say thank you to the following people for helping us with our recent grain bin fire:

  • All the individuals of the Pleasant Plains Volunteer Fire Dept.
  • Cartwright Township Road District
  • Sunrise Ag Service Company - Mark Hobrock
  • David Younkers
  • Kenny Terpening
  • Chris Dowson
After recent rains we are back harvesting corn, however we are planning to switch back to beans as the weather permits.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Good first week...

Yesterday we wrapped up our first week of harvest. We have quite a few fields opened up and a handful of grain bins partially full so the fans can dry the corn down. To-date we have not cut any soybeans, but we have fields that are ready. We plan to start soybean harvest tomorrow most likely on the Reiser - Ashland farm.

Corn yields are still bouncing from good to great. We are finding that the Diplodia ear rot damage is consistently in the continuous corn fields. Some hybrids are worse than others, but spraying for Japanese beetles or spraying fungicides did not seem to affect the severity of the Diplodia damage.

Attached are pictures of us harvesting corn on the Foster - Ashland Farm as well as a few good pictures of the Diplodia ear rot.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back in the fields...

Even though the area experienced significant rains on Sunday, we are back in the fields harvesting corn as of Tuesday afternoon. We are now in our earliest planted corn (Gooden/Maes Farm) and although the corn is yielding good, we are seeing alarming amounts of Diplodia ear rot damage. From what we are hearing from neighboring farmers, the ear rot is significant in all earlier planted corn. Hope we miss the rains the remainder of the week...

Sunday, September 20, 2009


The story today was rain. This morning's storm dumped between 2.1 & 3.0" of rain on the farms near our base of operations. The forecast is calling for 30 to 40% chances of rain everyday this week through Saturday. We hope to get back in the fields soon, but we need Mother Nature to cooperate.