Saturday, December 18, 2010

Week ending December 18th...

Kevin Becker from Altorfer and Darin Younkers replacing the left side fuel tank on the CAT tractor

Emptying bins at the Martin Farm

More of the same since my last post. We have been hauling corn to the Illinois River terminals as well as ADM at Curran. Machinery is also still being cleaned up and put away. This past week Kevin Becker from Altorfer Equipment spent a few days at the farm working on the CAT tractor. The main job was replacing the left-side fuel tank. Due to a faulty fuel cap lid that did not let the fuel tank "vent", CAT had a re-call on the lid. Unfortunately, the faulty lid did it's damage before we made time for the two-day job to replace the fuel tank. Since the lid did not vent air to the tank, the fuel pump was pulling diesel out of the tank and eventually just caved in the sides of tank causing the tank to leak due to cracks. Luckily, our leak was not very severe and we could wait until after all the fall tillage work to get the tractor in the shop and perform the replacement. Thanks to Kevin Becker from Altorfer and Darin Younkers for their work on this project. We have our corn plans and hybrids finalized for the 2011 crop and are almost finished wrapping up our 2011 soybean variety selections. End of year book work and accounting are keeping us busy when the weather will not let us out to haul corn.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week ending December 4th...

Dad wrapping up fall 2010 field operations; emptying the dry fertilizer cart

The Johnson Boys are ready for the Christmas Holiday

Making ginger bread houses with Owen; he lasted five minutes and NFL football won over his attention...

It is amazing to me how easy it is to create weekly posts when we are in the field, but when the field work is completed the task of keeping the blog up to date gets more challenging. Since my last post we have continued to clean up machinery and have started to haul corn to the terminals on the Illinois River at Beardstown. We have also been spending a considerable amount of time in the office working on 2011 crop plans, catching up on office work, and finalizing year end reports for landlords and accountants. Besides the peace of mind of having 100% of the fieldwork done, being able to be home more with our families is a wonderful blessing. Above are some of the pictures of our gingerbread project with Owen - he was interested for almost five minutes. We have also been working on wrapping on Christmas presents, but none of our previous pictures really displayed the fun of trying to wrap presents with an almost three-year old...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week ending November 20th...

Applying dry fertilizer and anhydrous ammonia in Greenfield

Darin leveling ground ahead of the toolbar

This past week we wrapped up all of our fall tillage and fertilizer applications. We could have been done a week ago, but we were waiting and hoping for rains to loosen the large clods created by the chisel plow this fall on our remaining acres. Unfortunately, no rain has fallen on our Greene County farms since we harvested back in September. While the ground is dry, we were still able to find moisture with the applicator knives and with enough loose soil we are confident our last anhydrous applications met all environmental standards. In the picture above you see the John Deere 9630 and Krause Landsman leveling ground ahead of the toolbar; we did this to try and create more loose soil and minimize the size of the clods. The large and hard clods kept pulling the dry fertilizer hoses off the toolbar causing us to have to stop periodically. The concern about a loose hose also kept us from operating much after dark. However, we are done and this week will be focused on washing the remainder of machinery and putting it away until spring. Uncle Bob, Ronnie Brown and the Younkers' Brothers have done a masterful job of cleaning up and painting the vast majority of the tractors and implements.
Thanksgiving is Thursday - please take a moment to reflect upon all the things you are thankful for. We are thankful for our freedom, our family and friends, our ability to be employed as stewards of the land and the ability to make a living from the fruits of the land and lastly, we are thankful for another growing season where no one was hurt - just to name a few.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Week ending November 6th...

Bob making strips on the Whiznat farm

Dad applying Nh3, DAP, & Potash all in one pass with the strip-till bar on the Doolin field.

We began anhydrous ammonia applications last Friday. Since then we have covered all our acres that we plan to go to corn around the Ashland and Pleasant Plains areas. You may remember we just did these same operations a mere six months ago due to being delayed by Mother Nature last fall. We are experiencing some delays in product availability, but not near like earlier this spring. Our plan is to move to the northern farms this week in hopes that our south farms receive some rainfall later in the week as they are predicting. Anhydrous Ammonia needs moisture to bond to the soil; otherwise it volatilizes and escapes into the atmosphere through the dry soil particles.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Week ending October 31st...

Bob chiseling on the Whiznat farm

Loading the trailer with trees
The last of the trees coming off the trailer

Another great week of field work. We wrapped up chisel plowing this past week and are working on the last 150 acres of in-line ripping with the BlueJet. Now that the cooler weather has lowered the soil temperatures and the rain helped loosen the soil we also have one of the toolbars running putting on nitrogen and dry fertilizer.
Last week we also had the opportunity to help the Aupperle family haul ~150 trees from the nursery to their farm. They helped us clean up after the tornado last summer and it was a great opportunity to help them and return the favor. It was quite an impressive operation. They already had the holes dug for all the trees and the skid-steer would take the trees off the trailers and place them right in the hole. One skid-steer unloaded and planted all the trees in one morning.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Jeff Moss running the 9630 & BlueJet on the Williamsville Farm

Another good week of tillage. We encountered a few breakdowns this past week, which did not allow us to finish all our tillage like I had hoped. However, we only lack 200 acres of chiseling corn stalks and any additional in-line BlueJet ripping would be above and beyond what we anticipated completing. As I mentioned in previous posts the soils are pulling very hard this year due to all the rains the last few years and lack of good tillage last fall. The hard ground is rough on the tillage equipment as well as the tillage tractors. We have repeatedly had to replace ripper points and wear bars along with a few other items that needed the attention of a welder, but tilling the soil while it is dry is the best thing to get it back into condition for the 2011 crop. Dad also took advantage of the good weather and spent a few days trimming trees alongside fields and making surface drains on some of our poorly drained fields. A few anhydrous ammonia toolbars could be seen late last week in our area despite the dry soil conditions and warm weather. Thankfully a rain Saturday morning along with another Sunday evening gave the ground ample moisture for us to begin putting on anhydrous as soon as the soils dry.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Week ending October 17th...

Harvesting soybeans on the Alderson Farm

Two combines in the night

Lincoln Land FS spreading lime on the Williamsville Farm

Tearing out fence rows in Greenfield

The fence row demolition crew - from left; Jim Black, Mark Twitchell, & JL Ford
What a week! We wrapped up our 2010 harvest on Friday afternoon. The harvest this year was completed in 45 days, but more importantly we are done 53 days earlier than last year. Corn yields were somewhat disappointing, but soybean yields were fantastic across the board.
We continue to work on tillage and spreading lime. We also are taking advantage of the great weather and working on projects that we planned to get completed last fall/winter. On Saturday I traveled to our Greene County farms and helped remove old fence rows with a few neighbors. What a great crew! A big thanks goes out to Mark Twitchell, JL Ford, and Jim Black for all their help yesterday. With two skid-steers we tore out just over 3/4 of a mile of fence rows and now each neighbor will gain another two rows of crops in place of dilapidated fence and weeds.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week ending October 10th...

Owen ready to go to the elevator in the semi.

Harvesting on the Elkhart farm.

Owen inspecting the corn to make sure it meets his standards.

Taking a cat nap in the combine.

The end of harvest is near - we hope to wrap up harvest this week. What a pleasant change from last year. While harvest may be coming to an end, our tillage operations still have plenty of acres to go. The ground is dry this fall and we are taking advantage of that by tilling our ground deeper than we have in the last two years. When the soils are dry they shatter better with each tillage pass, thus helping to remove compaction from previous years' crops. Unfortunately, going deeper does not always correlate to going faster so we are not able to cover the acres as quick as usual. Yields are still all over the board on corn, but soybean yields continue to impress. The USDA finally came to grips with this short crop on Friday's report. Look for volatile markets in the interim.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Week ending October 3rd, 2010...

Harvesting soybeans on the Williamsville farm.

Another very good week of harvest at Johnson Family Farms. This week we mainly focused on soybeans, but a 20% chance of rain Friday evening that turned into two tenths of rain and clouds made us switch back to corn. To-date we have just under a third of our harvest left to complete. Our tillage operations progress nicely as we continue to chisel under corn stalks as well as run the MacFarlane Reel-till on a lot of acres sizing up corn residue. Diplodia was again an issue with our corn this year, so we are focusing on chopping up the residue and getting it buried early in hopes we've seen the last of the diplodia. The ten day forecast has no rain in sight, which should allow us to wrap up harvest in the upcoming weeks.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week ending September 26th...

Harvesting on the Emerald Acres Farm

Another good week of harvest progress. We began the week harvesting soybeans, but another 1.3" rain fell late Tuesday evening. Our Greene County farms missed the rains, so we moved south. In two days we knocked out all our acreage in Greenfield and Friday night were moving back to Ashland. Thank you to everyone who put in some late hours on Thursday evening trying to get as many acres harvested as possible before Friday's forecasted rains. Yields in Greene County were variable to say the least, but moistures were 14.5 to 16.2% which is a pleasant change from last year's harvest. Due to slow drying corn and soaked fields, we were not able to finish these farms last year until November 30th. This much earlier harvest will allow us to get lime applied and the stalks buried under in preparation for next year's crop.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week ending September 19th...

The sun sets as we harvest on the University of Illinois Hunter #3 farm.

A nice shot of Darren filling a semi headed to the bin.

We decided to try a MacDon draper header this year for soybeans - so far we really like it.

Uncle Bob chiseling on the Clearview Farm.

Harvest continues at a rapid pace here at Johnson Family Farms. We are making great progress as the weather continues to dry corn down in the field allowing us to put most of it directly into grain bins. Corn yields remain variable, but our over-all farm average is increasing the more we harvest. We had a brief window where we were able to harvest a couple hundred acres of early soybeans and the beans are yielding surprisingly well. Most reports we hear are that of good bean yields as well throughout the state. The tillage operations continue to chase the combines and trucks spreading lime and fertilizer. The forecast for this week is spotty, but we will continue to work on corn unless a window opens where the beans dry down and cut a little easier.
What a difference a year makes...last year we did not even start harvest until September 20th due to the cooler weather.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week ending September 12th...

Another good week of harvest. We were rained out Friday evening by another inch of rain. On top of the four plus inches we had last week we were not able to harvest any this weekend. Most of our corn is testing 15-20% and yields have varied drastically from 147 to 255 bpa. We also started tillage this past week and have a couple hundred acres of corn stalks already chiseled under. This week we plan to continue to harvest our earlier maturity corn and by Wednesday we are hoping a few of our bean fields will be ready to cut.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Week ending Sept. 6th

A view from the grain cart operator's seat looking back at the combine as it unloads "on-the-go"

Our new grain bin is up.

After four inches of rain since last Wednesday & Thursday we were finally able to get back in the fields and resume harvesting corn. Moistures have dropped from 20-22% to 18-19%. This week we will continue to harvest corn as well as start our fall tillage. It will be interesting to see how hard or easy the implements pull this fall considering all the early rains followed by drier conditions.

Many of you may remember our grain bin fire from last fall. Over the course of the weekend Range Implement took down the old bin and put up our new GSI bin. We still have wiring and a few other odds and ends to finish up before we can put corn in it, but we are relieved it is up and just in time.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Harvest begins...

Harvest began yesterday at Johnson Family Farms. This field was planted on April 15th to a 109 rm hybrid. It has been multiple year continuous corn. The moistures were less than we anticipated, especially considering how green the tops of the plants were. The yields were all over the board with the yield monitor hitting 270 bpa all the way down to 115 bpa. That being said, there is more poor-yielding corn than great corn. Compared to last year this field is yielding 25% less... We believe that the corn planted behind soybeans will be significantly better.

I've posted a video of our first day of harvest at the bottom of the blog.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Week ending August 28th...

Owen is ready for harvest to begin...

Our friends at J&D Farms, Inc. delivering our new MacDon draper head.

Owen helping Daryl Bachman drive the Kenworth.

Owen giving the trailer & platform a thorough inspection.

Harvest will be here soon. We continue to mow roadsides and get equipment ready for harvest. A few neighbors have started combining with reported yields and moistures all over the board. A few of the early plots that have been harvested are yielding 10-15% less than last year. It appears that 200 bpa corn will be rare on corn following corn with corn planted on bean stubble yielding significantly more. Weather dependent, we plan to start harvest this week. Although we would not turn down one more nice rain to give the soybeans a strong finish.

Monday, August 23, 2010

New addition...

Friday afternoon, Max Ryan Johnson was born to Elizabeth and I. He weighed eight pounds even and was twenty-one inches long. Max and his mommy are doing great. The picture above is of Max and his older brother Owen after we returned home from the hospital. Owen is already very helpful and always concerned about who is holding his little brother. Max still has his days and nights backwards, but we hope that will quickly change.

The crops are still progressing quickly and I anticipate some area farmers to begin harvesting end rows and a few early maturity fields this week.

Enjoy the cooler weather this week!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Week ending August 14th...

Mowing filter strips down in Greenfield.

Taking 20' at time makes mowing a quick job.

Another good week at the farm. The crops were showing signs of moisture stress and just in time Mother Nature dropped anywhere from seven tenths to three inches of rain on our farms. That is a million dollar rain for the soybean crop in our area as the beans always yield better with an August State Fair rain. This past week we completed another round of mowing on all the farms. We also continue to work on harvest machinery and grain bins. We still would like to start harvest after Labor Day, but with the continued extreme hot and humid days we may have to begin prior to our initial target date due to the corn loosing it's moisture too fast. As of right now, it appears we will harvest a lot of corn before we cut any soybeans. The corn continues to turn from green to it's harvest gold color and most beans are still green. However, we are seeing spots of Sudden Death Syndrome in a few of our bean fields. I have heard that Iowa is seeing lots of SDS in their soybeans. Many of you remember our grain bin fire from last fall. We hope that Range Implement shows up this week and gets the old bin torn down and new bigger bin erected and ready to wire. This will be cutting it close, but Darold assures me that they can get the old one down and new one up in five days - time will tell...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Week ending August 7th...

This ear was discovered by a friend while out scouting fields a couple weeks ago.
I've never seen anything like it - a true double-ear.

This might explain why our tile didn't work.
Turns out the power company sliced right through our old tile line last summer.
A view looking SW of the area the tile did not get drained this spring/summer.

The crops continue to progress along at a rapid pace with the hot & humid weather. We are busily trying to get summer projects wrapped up and get equipment ready for harvest. This past week we continued to mow road banks and work on various projects. Harvest appears to be right around the corner with many area farmers thinking they might try to harvest some corn before Labor Day weekend. The corn yield projections are starting to decline in our immediate area due to lower kernel counts and severe kernel abortion due to the hot weather. Yield estimates are anywhere from 185-210 bpa on the good fields.