Friday, December 14, 2018

December 14th...

Harvest 2018 is finally in the books! And what a harvest it was... We finally finished harvest on November 14th. It took several attempts with a few snow events and rains in between, but we are done. All in all we experienced very good yields. Our corn did not eclipse the record yields of 2014, but our soybean crop was the best we've ever harvested. 

After completing harvest we immediately went to work trying to catch up on tillage. Mother Nature had other plans and we completed all our local tillage by utilizing the layer of frost on top to keep traction. Our area has turned very wet from several large rains to the largest November snowfall event we've experienced in the last decade. We were not able to get any fall anhydrous ammonia applied, but we do have all the dry fertilizer spread. We would have also loved to get more fall herbicide burn-down applied, but we will see if the winter allows us any opportunities to wrap that up. We've turned our focus to cleaning up fall equipment, hauling our December grain contracts and catching up on book work in the office. We are excited to hear that China is back in the market for our corn and soybeans and hope that brings higher grain prices as we close out 2018. Thank you to all who helped us get the 2018 crop out, we couldn't have done it without you and the long hours you put in.

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR from those of us at Johnson Family Farms !!!

Harvesting the last 65 acres in the snow on our Williamsville farm.

Chiseling corn stalks under in the snow.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

November 3rd, 2018...

Harvest 2018 is all but over for us this year. We have 65 acres of corn remaining, but Mother Nature isn't allowing us to get finished up quite yet. Corn yields were good this year, but not record or better than 2014's. Soybean yields on the other hand were a new whole farm record for us. Fungicide applications on both crops proved to be extremely beneficial for the highest yields. We have a lot of the tillage completed and have not yet started applying anhydrous ammonia.

Harvesting soybeans as the moon rises.

Harvesting white corn outside Pleasant Plains.

Filling two trucks at a time in Greenfield.

Filling another truck at night.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Harvest begins...

Harvest began in earnest on Tuesday, September 4th although admittedly we played around with the machines on Labor Day.  Corn yields have been better than our estimates which is always a good sign.  Corn moistures are not dropping much, with everything we've harvested so far being dried down at our grain center through our continuous flow dryer.  We have not cut any soybeans yet, but localized reports have been nothing short of fantastic.  Tropical Storm Gordon has arrived and has so far dumped 3-5" on the bulk of our farms with our South farm receiving not quite an inch yet. Below are some pictures I've taken so far of our first few days of harvest.  Be safe everyone and watch out for harvest machinery on the roads this fall.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Mid August...

Harvest is quickly approaching and we are working to get all the equipment and grain bins ready.  The corn crop looks good, but will not be a record for us in this geography.  As for the soybeans, the jury is still out on them but they do look really good at this point.  The kids started school today and the time continues to fly by.  Below are pictures of some of the things we've been up lately.  My next update will include harvest photos. 

Dave K from Consolidated Grain & Barge in Illinois brought nonGMO corn buyers from Japan by the farm for a tour of the growing crop. It was interesting to listen to them talk about their concern of certainty of a supply of this grain every year; regardless of a drought as well as what they use this grain for in Japan.

We also had a group of farmers from all over Australia stopped by the farm as well. They gave the crops and machinery a good inspection.  It was a great time visiting with them about farming Down Under versus what we do here.

A Friday evening crop tour from the air with the boys.

Mowing roadsides at our Williamsville farm.  

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Late July...

The crops have been progressing nicely since my last blog post.  Our corn is all pollinated and appears it has good potential.  The soybeans also look great, but the verdict is still out on those.  Trade and tariffs have the markets upside down, but hopefully that can be resolved after harvest and give us another opportunity to market the remainder of our crop.  We have been busy cleaning out grain bins, mowing roadsides, scouting crops for aerial fungicide applications, and youth baseball.  Despite starting to plant two weeks later than normal, the hot weather has accelerated our crops to the point where we are actually almost a full two weeks ahead of schedule.  This means there may be a fair amount of corn harvested in our immediate area ahead of Labor Day.  Given that scenario, we have started working on harvest equipment as time allows. 

Loading the airplanes to spray fungicide and insecticide on soybeans at our Elkhart & Williamsville farms.

Hauling lime from the rock quarry and staging it on farms we will spread it on this fall.

Spraying fungicide on corn with a helicopter.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's Day...

The crops are off to fast start and the entire countryside is very green.  Corn is now head high and we anticipate seeing a few tassels this week in our earliest planted fields.  The soybeans are slowly closing the rows and soon we will be spraying fungicide on both crops.  We finally received a decent rain a week ago, but unfortunately the rains arrived with severe winds which flattened several spots within our corn fields as well as one entire field.  Luckily, that storm was 10 days or so ahead of pollination and the corn mostly straightened back up within five days of the winds.  We have all the soybeans sprayed with their last pass of herbicide and are now focusing our efforts on mowing roadsides and finishing up putting the planting equipment away.  Summer youth baseball and other activities are also picking up and the days are flying by.  Harvest will be here before we know it...

Spraying soybeans a couple weeks ago.  Using the drone to take pictures.

Corn leaned over from straight-line winds.

Walking beans with the boys.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Planting continues...

We started planting our 2018 crop in earnest on April 20th with soybeans. On Saturday, April 21st we made the switch to corn and never looked back. Nine days later we finished corn. This was one of the most fast paced planting seasons we've experienced in several years. The soil worked up extremely well. While we planted corn we also planted soybeans with another planter which sped up our planting season. The weather turned from cold to hot and windy. These conditions wicked the moisture out of the planting profile quickly and as we turned the calendar over to May we actually became concerned about the lack of moisture in the top three inches of soil. As luck would have it, we received a very welcomed rain on Thursday, May 3rd. This gave the freshly planted corn and soybeans a great start, but it also gave everyone time away from the farm to spend with their families and catching up on office work. We have about 900 acres of soybeans left to plant, but with three planters it should not take longer than a couple days. 

20" strip-till corn at high-speed. It planted beautifully this year.

Planting no-till corn on the University of Illinois farm.

Our April 20th planted soybeans are up and looking good!

Several of our April 21-24th planted corn is already up!

Adding more tile and new tile risers on the University of Illinois Hunter #3 Farm we operate.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Plant 18 has begun!

Despite Mother Nature dropping another Sunday's snowfall on us, the 2018 planting season did get underway at Johnson Family Farms this past week. We went from a couple inches of snow to 80 degree temperatures to over two inches of rainfall by the weekend. This is some of the wildest weather I can remember and from the sound of news the weather is all out of whack all over our country. We hope to be back in the fields planting this week, but the forecast does not look promising.

Snow in April in Central Illinois???

Re-seeding a waterway on the Dunlap Young Farm.

Working ground ahead of the planter on Thursday.

Time to get the soybean planter going. Friday the 13th - why not?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Pre-planting activity...

The calendar is getting closer to April 1st and the start of the 2018 planting season. The neighborhood has been fairly active with tile projects, emptying grain bins, a little field work and other jobs. We have been hauling grain, getting equipment ready, taking delivery of our seed and finalizing our 2018 crop plans. Although the calendar is two weeks from April 1st, Mother Nature seems determined to keep things cold and windy in the 10 day forecast. Soil conditions in our area are very dry as they have been since last July. We do have moisture in the top 1-2 feet of the soil profile, but below that where the corn and soybean roots will need to grow we are still extremely dry.  

Neighbor's tile main cutting through the South end of our Grand Prairie farm.

Notice how dry the soil is. Our area is still included in the latest drought monitor.

18" tile main being laid through our farm. This will drain 120 acres that is over a mile away from us.

Uncle Bob applying anhydrous ammonia to his Atwood farm today.

Cleaning out the last of the small bins we filled with soybeans last fall. Storing soybeans paid nicely this year.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

January means hauling grain...

The New Year has come and gone and we are now focused on what lies ahead in 2018. While the January weather may be taking drastic swings from bitter cold to a pleasant 50 degrees, we remain focused on getting our 1st of the Year grain sales delivered. Since January 2nd we have been busy hauling our stored grain to a variety of locations. We have delivered nonGMO soybeans to ADM in Decatur, white corn to Bartlett Grain in South Jacksonville as well as traditional yellow corn and soybeans to Beardstown. We even answered the call from a local feed mill that was nearly out of corn during the bitterly cold days after the first of the year. When the weather was not fit to move grain we've spent time in the office getting end of the year reports and accounting caught up. We have also attended several informative meetings such as the Precision Planting Winter Conference in nearby Tremont. Their were some intriguing new technologies unveiled at that conference and we are in discussions on how those could impact our business' bottom-line. 

Unloading the temporary white corn storage into a semi. We had about 550 bushels of white corn that would not fit in the grain bins during harvest, so we stored the overrun bushels in a wagon in our cold storage area of our shop until the time came to deliver the first bushels on the contract.

Beautiful sunset while unloading the temporary storage.

We are very fortunate that Bartlett Grain in South Jacksonville is open weeknight's until 9pm. That allows us to deliver to other places during the day or attend a meeting and still be able to deliver grain later in the day.