Berryton, Kan.

Bob and I have been working hard on spring fertilizer applications the last two weeks and finished on April 28. Conditions turned favorable very quickly after Palm Sunday, and we were going as fast as constrained anhydrous supplies would allow. We planted our first field of corn on April 20. We set up a several-acre test plot in that field, with nearly 20 hybrids from three seed companies. I am looking forward to learning as much as possible from that. It’s right by the road east of our house, and we will drive by it often doing our day-to-day work. As of today, we are about 20 percent complete with corn planting and haven’t started on beans. Hopefully, we can get the remaining corn acres in quickly after the rains they are calling for and get the sprayer rolling soon.

We are doing a lot of tests this year, on everything from nitrogen and seeding rates to different closing wheels on the planter. These are not wholesale changes — nothing substantially different than the past — but the technology available today in farming makes experimentation simple and a logical step in the evolution of our agricultural practices. You rarely find two farmers who do everything the same way, and yet these various approaches can be equally successful, differing mostly on cost and how it affects operational schedules. Finding measurable value in a few differences is what we are after.

Our local markets are better than historical average for corn basis (+0.11), but like most places a little weak for beans (-0.60), though I know many areas of the country would be happy to have that basis for beans right now.

My wife is a teacher, and she is looking forward to summer break and getting the garden growing. Her students are starting to get restless for summer, and our kids are no different. Everyone just wants to get outside! — Ryan Johnson