Saturday, March 21, 2015

March 21st...

You would think I would have plenty to write about since it's been a month since my last post, but winter continues to keep us inside for the most part. The shop has been busy with spring projects such as readying the tillage equipment as well as working on the planters. Most of our seed corn has been delivered, but we don't anticipate needing the rest of it since it's still so cold. On Thursday of this week we missed a rain and were able to start some spring field work by applying anhydrous ammonia on a farm we have East of Ashland that is very well tiled. We covered 170 acres before a late afternoon rain arrived and dumped a quarter to a half inch of unwanted rain. Despite the rain, activities continued with a friend showing up and knocking down an old corn crib on one of our farms and then proceeding to bury it. We have plenty of anhydrous to get applied, but spring will get here when it wants. Some are even predicting snow in April around here....

Our first fieldwork of 2015.  We had a small window to apply
anhydrous ammonia on a very well tiled farm.

Burying a old barn.

Ron doing some welding and fabrication on the arm mower
we use to trim trees during the winter months.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mid February update...

Winter continues to hang around with the tease of warmer weather followed by extreme cold weather. Planting season is two months away, but it's hard to believe given all this cold weather. Most of our time as of late has been consumed by hauling corn out of our grain bins and finalizing our 2015-2018 Farm Program decisions. This has included going to numerous meetings and visiting with landlords regarding their questions and concerns.

Since content is a little low during these winter months, I've included pictures of my Grandfather's (Raymond Mears) planter from the mid 70's. He was an innovator with a homemade rig where he tilled, sprayed and planted all in one pass; quite different than how we operate today. We now drive down to Greenfield and farm the same field you see in the pictures. Grandma used to comment about how what used to take Grandpa weeks to plant now takes us one to two days...

Be well and stay warm!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Week ending Sunday, January 18th...

Winter continues to drag on, but the occasional spike in temperatures allows us to get outside and get a few jobs completed. We continue to haul corn from our bin sites to local terminal delivery points. Also the continued cleaning up of fall harvest and tillage equipment rolls on. Most all of our 2015 cropping plans and inputs have been laid out and put in place. Lately, we have spent a fair amount of time attending Farm Service Agency and Farm Bureau meetings regarding the latest Farm Bill. Digging back through records and updating yields along with deciding which Farm program to choose over the course of the next five years continues to be a heavy decision. Discussions with land owners and farm managers regarding these decisions have also encompassed a lot of time. Otherwise, we spend time at night attending kids basketball and indoor soccer games. 

I hope you enjoy the pictures below of a friend of mine, Ant Bowker who farms in South Africa. We met via this blog and have become modern day "pen pals" if you will. They farm the opposite months we do and I am fortunate that he sends me pictures of his family's farming operation and allows me to post them. You will notice it is very modern and similar to that of grain farms in the United States. 

We are hopeful the warmer weather stays and we miss any future rain showers as we would like to begin applying anhydrous ammonia so the work load isn't so large come this spring's planting season. Typically we get this fertilizer applied in the fall, but the cold and wet weather last fall didn't permit us to get many acres covered.

Removing a large beaver dam on a farm we operate near Jacksonville.
This particular beaver dam was holding back seven feet of water and spanned over 25 feet.  It was backing water up and into our field.
Removing the 2nd smaller beaver dam we discovered down stream.

Replacing the muffler on the forklift. 
The matriarch of our family, Lucile Walbaum Johnson at her 90th birthday party.
Our friend Ant Bowker, who farms in South Africa planting corn on his farm in November.

Ant Bowker side-dressing his corn in South Africa during the month of December.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday, December 14th...

The year is quickly coming to a close with just 16 days until the 1st day of 2015. We have been catching up on year end tax planning and book work along with washing harvest and tillage machinery. We were fortunate that the farms in Greenfield were dry enough for Precision Drainage to arrive and completely install the 160 acres of pattern tile we had planned. From our farm trials, tile continually pays and each year we try to install more acres. We have hauled most of our corn that was sold for December delivery when the weather cooperated. Otherwise, our time has been spent going to meetings and the kids ball games.

From our family to you and yours - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


The big tile plow putting in some of the 4" laterals

Getting some help plowing through a wet spot in the field

The smaller tile plow putting in 4" laterals

The new tile outlet started running as soon as it was connected

Freshly dug ditch for our tile project

160 acres of newly installed tile on one of our Greenfield farms

Washing & winterizing the sprayer

Working on year end tax planning

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Harvest ends...

I am happy to report that we finished our 2014 harvest on Saturday night, November 15th. The last hour we combined in falling snow. It is a great feeling to be done! Our harvest this year lasted 72 days. It was filled with rainy days, mud, snow, hot weather, cold weather and everything in between. After all was said and done, it was our most successful harvest ever. Our yields this year were the best we have ever produced. We feel very blessed and fortunate to have experienced this. And most importantly we couldn't have done it with out the help of all our family and employees. Everyone played an instrumental part in our business' success.  

In the coming days we will be washing machinery, taking down augers, catching up in the office and hopefully starting a large tile project. I'll try to grab more pictures for the next update.  

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Snow starting to fall while we were harvesting our last 10 acres.
Finished!  Through the falling snow headed back home.
FOR SALE: 2013 Demco 1150 grain cart. Tracks, tarp, and scales were all added brand new this fall.  These are the new design Camoplast tracks just released; 36" by 10' foot print.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 4th...

Harvest continues to roll on. We are down to our last 40 acres of soybeans and a mere 700 acres of corn.  Mother Nature continues to pound us with rains we don't need this time of year. Due to the wet field conditions we have added tracks to the combine and added a tracked grain cart. This allows our machinery to somewhat "float" on top of the mud and not sink in as bad as traditional tires.  

Yields remain good and moisture levels in our corn have dropped to where we no longer need the dryer and can put the grain directly in our bins. Unfortunately, due to the wet field conditions there are a lot of machinery ruts in many, many fields in our geography. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate where farmers can get out and till the ruts so as to level them up for the winter's freeze and thaw.

I'm hopeful my next post will be soon and I can proclaim that we have wrapped up our 2014 harvest...

Trying out the tracks on the combine on our Nortonville farm.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week ending October 12th...

We were able to sneak out a good week of harvest despite cloudy and occasionally rainy weather. We had one down day due to adding Rear Wheel Drive to the combine to help combat the wet harvest conditions. Finally, as we approached Saturday afternoon we were able to switch over from corn and work on harvesting soybeans. We had six hours of bean cutting and knocked out 118 acres adjacent to the town of Ashland. The good weather window was short-lived as today brought constant drizzle and enough sloppy weather to keep us out of the fields. Yields remain good. We are 53% complete on corn and 38% on soybeans. The most recent forecast is calling for another 1-2" of rain early this week. We are making more additions/changes to deal with the mud and try to get the remainder of our 2014 crop of the fields.