Thursday, July 30, 2009

Planning ahead...

This week we have been busy working on the new entrance to one of our grain bin sites. This project involved hauling numerous loads of rock and spreading it over landscape cloth. By putting down the landscape cloth and then laying the rock over top of it, we hope to keep the rock from smashing in the ground thereby loosing it in the soil. If you are building a rock driveway and planning on having loaded semi's drive over it, I would highly recommend utilizing the landscape cloth.

Besides working on the bin site entrance, the team from Precision Drainage has been working with our local Road Commissioner laying in a new tile line across Glick Road. The original culvert that drains a waterway to the west had to be replaced, which required tearing out the old steel culvert and closing the road for a day. Precision Drainage took advantage of the road closure and laid 40' of dual-wall plastic tubing across the road for a future tile project to the west. By completing this ahead of time it will save us money and time when we decide to put in the adjoining 150 acres of pattern tile.

The fungicide and insecticide spraying has also resumed. While a significant amount of our corn does not appear to need fungicide, I did call the airplane in this afternoon to spray 45 acres of Japanese beetles. I felt the number of beetles clipping silks and their sporadic pattern throughout the field justified spending the money on the insecticide.

Corn and soybeans all look great. Hearing a lot of farmers talk about an early frost, which would not be good for the late planted soybeans...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cool weather...

The recent cool weather is really enjoyable if you are a human or animal, but not so much if you are a corn or soybean plant...

The cooler weather has brought our Gray Leaf Spot progression to a halt; thus, we have stopped spraying fungicides on the corn until the weather warms up again. The cooler weather is also beneficial for our April planted corn to pack on more test weight in the kernels as it has completed pollination is now is focused on putting all its energy in the ear.

The downside to all this cooler weather is that it has really slowed down the growth of our May and later planted corn. Our corn planted May 12th in Greenfield is now fully tasseled, while the corn we planted down there on June 1st is just now chest high. The corn planted over the Memorial Day weekend in Elkhart & Williamsville should show tassels this week, but as of Sunday still had one leaf to go before the tassel appeared. At this point we would rather see temperatures in the 90's as each day we stay cool we push harvest and black layer back further. Mathematically speaking, each day we stay unseasonably cool, we push maturity back another six days based on the normal growing degree days we receive this time of year. I think it is safe to say that harvest will be late this year.

The soybeans have closed the row and are now putting on new growth. We are watching them for Japanese beetles chewing on them - they like this weather too. Soybeans are similar to corn this time of year as well; they would prefer to have "warmer" temperatures as they begin to bloom.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fungus & beetles...

After spending many hours scouting our April planted corn we have decided to start spraying fungicides. The Grey Leaf Spot (GLS) really got a jump-start during the hot & humid weather a couple weeks ago and it has steadily been progressing up the plant. With the weekend forecast calling for 30-40% chances of rain and high 80/low 90 degree temperatures, the GLS pressure could grow extremely fast. Since we are flying on the fungicides, we have decided to add an insecticide due to the intense Japanese Beetle pressure. As we walked through the fields, the beetle pressure was sporadic; however we feel the populations of beetles clipping corn silks is enough to justify spending another $6.80 on insecticide.

I tried taking a picture of the Japanese beetles and GLS up close, but my camera could not focus in that tight. Instead I got a good shot of the corn tassels looking up towards the afternoon sun.

Enjoy your weekend.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Officially done planting...

Yesterday we finally wrapped up the 2009 planting season. We had 12 acres in the bottoms at our University of Illinois farm that never dried up enough to plant. Originally, this 12 acres was supposed to be planted to corn, but was too wet. Finally, on July 3rd it was dry enough to plant the majority of the wet hole to soybeans.

Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy 4th!

Another good week at Johnson Family Farms. This week mainly consisted of spraying soybeans and mowing roadsides in anticipation of the 4th of July weekend. We are almost done spraying the last herbicide pass on soybeans and hope the beans we have sprayed already will continue to out grow and shade out the competing weeds.

The corn is making great progress as much of our April planted corn is tasseled and beginning to drop pollen. Last week's hot and humid weather was great for the corn to put on new growth, but unfortunately it appears it also brought on the fungus. Today we scouted most of our early corn and noticed a significant amount of Grey Leaf Spot beginning to progress up the plant. We will continue to keep an eye on specific hybrids as it is too early to begin spraying fungicides.

Today David brought home our "new to us" combine from Cross Brothers Implement in Mount Pulaski. This fall we will be using a one year old John Deere 9770 STS combine with our 12-row corn head.

Happy 4th of July everyone!