Friday, April 22, 2011

Week ending April 23rd...

Rain, rain, and more rain was the theme of the week. It has rained "inches" this week since Monday evening. We were able to sneak in one day of planting on Monday west of Jacksonville on our Chapin farms where they apparently missed the majority of last weekend's rains. We planted with both planters until the rains rolled in late in the evening and wrapped up field work for the week. Thanks to Mark Staake for allowing us to park our equipment at his farm while we are on this rain delay. With Monday's contribution, we are now ~45% planted. The first three days of our 2011 corn planting have accumulated enough Growing Degree Units (GDU's) to emerge despite the rain and recent cold weather. Our corn planted a week ago has a nice 1/4" sprout. We normally do not like to plant corn ahead of a cold rain, but with the forecast calling for weeks worth of rains we went ahead and planted every hour we could. It appears that the next time we will be able to get back in the fields to plant will be May...

Happy Easter from all of us at Johnson Family Farms!

David working ground at Chapin

Bob planting the first field at Chapin and David with the Quadtrac in the distance

Newly emerged corn on our first planted field of 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Week ending April 16th....

Planting corn on highly erodible soils using the conservation practice of strip-till where the only tillage for this year's corn crop is from last fall's strip-till bar.

Finishing the field just ahead of a powerful thunderstorm

A sporadic week of corn planting. We dodged of lot of the heavier rains in the beginning of the week which allowed us to get back in the fields on Wednesday afternoon and plant through Thursday. Thursday evening a light shower kept us out until Friday afternoon. We were only able to get in 45 minutes of planting on Friday before the really strong thunderstorms rolled in and pounded us with rain. Most farms received anywhere from six tenths of an inch to right around an inch. These storms also brought with them cooler temperatures which will imped our soils ability to dry out so we can get back in the fields. Earlier in the week it was dry enough to begin spraying herbicides on a few of our fields. We originally intended to wait and spray the corn with a one-pass herbicide program, but the warmer temperatures of last week brought the weeds out; specifically henbit and chick-weed which if ignored will choke out any corn seedlings robbing them of water and nutrients. We also played around with our new ditcher. We have never owned one of these before, but because of last year's wet fields we decided to purchase one. Our goal was to create ditches on a few of our traditionally wet fields before the rains fell in hopes of getting the water off the field and into the nearby road ditch. It was quite a sight to see us throwing dirt 40-50' in the air while we ditched - I will have to get pictures of this as I forgot to bring along the camera that day.

We are not quite 45% completed with our 2011 corn planting and with the wetter and cooler forecast ahead I hope we don't have to go back and replant any of that which we already planted...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

And so it begins...

Planting along Rt. 125 on the Doolin Farm

On Wednesday morning we begin planting our 2011 corn crop. With the warmer temperatures and forecasted wet weather ahead we decided to get some corn in the ground. We were able to plant Wednesday through Friday and with two planters it did not take long to cover a lot of acres. While day one of our planting season did not set any acreage records, it did allow us to work the bugs out of the planters. Right or wrong, we focused our initial efforts on planting the fields that tend to be wet and can stay wet for extended periods of time. Recent tillage on those particular farms gave us some of the best seed bed conditions to plant into in recent years, so we decided to plant those wetter fields now versus gambling on whether they would stay dry and allow for timely planting later in the spring.

An unexpected 30% chance of rain halted all planters this morning as we received anywhere from 0.25 to 0.70" of precipitation. However, the sun reappeared this afternoon and 80 degree temperatures will allow planters to start again on Sunday before the next 60% chance of rain.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Week ending April 2nd...

David leveling ground with the QuadTrac and Landsman

Winter seed production arriving from Wyffels

Trimming the treeline on the Chapin Farms

The tree trimming crew - (from left) Uncle Bob, Darin, David, & Dad in the tractor seat

Another trailer load of trees and tree roots from the Emerald Acres West 20
Another week closer to the kick-off of planting season. The soils have dried enough to allow us to begin working ground ahead of the planter. Originally, we thought we would not have to work our continuous corn ground because we leveled it last fall and hoped Old Man Winter would mellow it out. Unfortunately, the clods our deep tillage created last fall did not "melt" as good as we had hoped so on Monday this past week we began working the soil with our Krause Landsman. We also spread another 20# of nitrogen in the form of ammonium sulfate so it made sense to incorporate that into the soil profile as well. As the week progressed the soils dried out quickly and we are now hoping for a rain to recharge them. Later in the week we received another load of Wyffels seed corn which just five days ago was put on an airplane in Chile, South America and now is in our shed. Towards the end of the week we worked on trimming trees at the Chapin farm and then later in Greenfield as we picked up tree roots and worked on taking out the remaining fence. We hope to receive a rain tonight, but if not our planters may begin this week. I have not seen anyone planting around us, but we heard of a handful of farmers planting in Christian County.