Wednesday, April 29, 2009

First planted corn emerges...

This corn is on our Gooden/Maes farm and was planted on Friday, April 10th. When we planted this field it was still very cool; both in the air as well as the soil. It's always good to see the corn come up from your first day out with the planter. We should have more corn up by tomorrow on both our Grand Prairie & Robinson 80 farms.

Rainfall amounts...

As of Wednesday, April 29th:
  • Ashland (base of operations) - 1.25"
  • Elkhart/Williamsville - 1.50"
  • Greenfield - 1.40"
The forecast is not good for finishing up our 2009 corn planting as seven of the next ten days are forecasted for rain. The soil took the recent rains very well and we have no ponds in the fields yet; only the road ditches are holding water. We'll see what the next 10 days bring us as far as precipitation.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Great progress...

We have made tremendous progress since the last update. As of this morning, we are 53% completed with corn planting. We are getting close to having everything planted around the Ashland & Pleasant Plains areas. A couple brief showers rolled through the area this morning preventing us from getting back in the fields. The forecast is for possible rainfall totals of 3" though our area in the next 36 hours - hope the forecasters are wrong...

Again, we feel very fortunate that we were able to get this much planted, as many of our friends outside our area were just getting started this weekend. Bob reported that his corn planted on April 18th already has a half-inch sprout on it.

The picture above is of our Insight monitor in the planting tractor. This monitor controls the automatic guidiance as well as our planting population and Tru-Count row clutches. It also builds a map of where and what we are planting. Notice in this picture the shades of blue colors - those are areas where the monitor will automatically change the planting population as we drive through the field. On this particular farm, the population ranged from 32,000 to 38,000 plants per acre. The yellow and green colors represent our coverage map and another test we have on the Davin farm.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Back in the field...

Yesterday we were able to start planting again. We planted all of LWJ's farm and moved out to the Reiser Roundbarn farm. Although our local area is busy with spring activities, much of the area 20 miles away from us in either direciton is still wet and waiting for the sun and strong winds to dry the ground out - we are very fortunate...

Wyffels Hybrids arrived yesterday and planted their Replicated Micro-Strip plot. In this plot they have numerous experimental hybrids where they plant them in 20' strips multiple times to enhance their accuracy. They repeat this process throughout their entire marketing area and release new hybrids based off of the results.

The forecast is calling for significant amounts of rainfall starting Saturday afternoon through next Thursday (4/30). We and all our neighbors are trying to plant as much corn as possible before the next rain - early mornings and late nights until the rain.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rain, rain, go away...

Despite sporadic showers yesterday we were able to keep planting. Due to the light rains, we decided to switch out one of the smooth closing wheels with a larger spiked closing wheel on Dad's planter. This spiked wheel helps close the furrow in areas where the soil is a little wet. It also helps shatter any possible side-wall compaction.

Bob also started planting on the Robinson 80 yesterday afternoon. Amazingly, the raised strips of soil were much drier than the ground we worked a month ago. The rain set in for good late afternoon yesterday and hasn't stopped yet. The forecast looks promising for more planting later this week...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Corn Planting Begins...

Yesterday we started planting corn on the Gooden/Maes farm. A tile project three years ago, where we ran 4" laterals every 60', allows us to begin planting each year on this farm. We worked the Gooden/Maes farm with the field cultivator a month ago and the recent warm days have allowed the top three inches of soil to dry. When we work the ground considerably ahead of the planter we call this condition planting in a "stale" seedbed.

We are going to try to plant a few of our strip-till farms today where we believe the raised soil of the strip will be drier. A slow-moving rain event is forecasted to arrive late this afternoon with an inch of rain possible over the next three days.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring fever has arrived...

Yesterday was a busy day for the entire neighborhood. One neighbor started planting and many others were out field cultivating and finishing up anhydrous ammonia applications. We stayed busy by finishing up our new gravel lot at the shop and other odd jobs.

We were also able to complete a little field work. The first picture is on the Mayes farm where we were leveling up dirt that had been dredged out of the adjoining creek. The picture below is of Dad running the Cat and field cultivator around the borders of the Reiser farm.

Earlier in the week I mentioned we would go to the field when it dried up enough - even though we had snow on the ground Monday morning. Based on the forecast calling for up to an inch of rain along with high temperatures in the 40's, we decided to wait until after Easter to plant corn.

Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Web Site Launch......

The Johnson Family Farms web site was launched today! It provides more information and photos of our farming operation. Please check it out at the following link:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ready to go to the field...

We are very close to being 100% ready to go to the fields when the weather permits. Tom and David are putting the finishing touches on our new bulk seed system and they will set the starter fertilizer tank on the trailer later this week.

We just experienced two minutes of marble-sized hail and the forecast is calling for light snow later this evening, but we are still thinking spring. Recent storms brought 0.8" of rain, but the fields are drying out nicely. The latest soil temperature maps show that the soil temperature at 4" is around 45 degrees. Ideally, we would like that to be 50 or above, but now that we are in the month of April we will head to the fields to plant corn as soon as they dry up enough.