Author

Zach Johnson, MN Millennial Farmer

Zach Johnson, MN Millennial Farmer

To his hundreds of thousands of YouTube channel subscribers, Zach Johnson is better known as the MN Millennial Farmer. He is an FBN member and a fifth-generation farmer from Lowry, Minnesota, where he and his wife Becky live with their three children and their niece, and farm with Zach’s father. His great-grandfather came over from Sweden and homesteaded their land in 1876, which they still farm as a row crop operation today.


On our farms, we have planted traited corn and soybeans for the last 25 years. We’ve scaled it down recently—we aren’t planting all stacked traits like we were 8-10 years ago. Those trait stacks can get costly, so we started planting a lot of straight glyphosate-tolerant corn. However, we weren’t getting full control with glyphosate, so we started asking ourselves if we really even needed that trait. We decided that if we could find corn with good genetics that didn't have the glyphosate-tolerant trait but could yield up there with some of the other hybrids we've planted, why not see how it would work for our operation. So that's what we’ve done in 2019. We've got some conventional corn that we're trying and 40 acres of non-GMO soybeans, a specialty item that will be available through in the futurem and so far both look really good. This year, had two maturities that would work in our area. One was a little short and one was a little long, so we decided to plant some of each. We're stacking them up against some pretty tough competition. We split plant both with a competitor’s corn that we've planted a lot of the last five years and know well. We'll see how it compares, and we’ll compare the cost difference and see what is really going to provide a better return for us. The story has been yield for a long time now, but you have to think about your overall profits. We didn’t need to change our chemical plan that much to go to conventional. We’ve stuck with what our plan has been in years past, but we just removed the glyphosate. And I’ve been watching the soybeans closely because I drive by them several times a day.  We put on a down a pre-emerge that's worked for us. But, it's the same stuff we put on the rest of our fields. And the fields have been really clean. We’ve had some grasses come through, but we have some chemistry set aside to spray for that, and I'm not worried about it at all. I need to know that if we were to go to larger scale (possibly all conventional or non-GMO) that we'd still be able to control our weeds. We want to make sure we have something that provides a good return. And that could be a more affordable hybrid that may not out-yield a competitor, but still yields well enough to outdo the competitor on our bottom line. I'm doing that with the small acreages that we have this year, but if we choose that right hybrid or variety for our operation and get our weed program figured out, I think a specialty market that provides a premium could provide an even bigger return in the future. Stay tuned for more updates from Zach on growing conventional corn and specialty soybeans from this season. Read our recent Q&A with Zach Johnson, AKA the MN Millennial Farmer Learn more here.  “F2F Genetics Network” branded seed products and other seed products are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. Terms & Conditions are subject to change at anytime and without notice. See sales order form for additional terms and conditions.