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Corn Yield Contest winners announced

By Lisa Young
lyoung@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 02/06/2014 12:12 PM

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WEST CONCORD, Minn. -- Last year's difficult planting weather led to some surprised winners for the 2013 National Corn Growers Association National Corn Yield Contest.

Bill Smith farms near West Concord, Minn., and submitted yield results from one of his Pioneer corn fields for the contest. He was skeptical about how things would turn out since his May 16 planting date was a month later than he would have preferred.

"I was very surprised," Smith said. "We didn't do anything we don't normally do."

His 211.68 bushels per acre was enough to land him with the second-best yield in the state in the no-till/strip-till, non-irrigated category.

Jeff Edling, who farms near Clear Lake, Minn., attributes his first-place yield in the irrigated category to calendar conflict. Knowing he would be at Mayo Clinic for some health issues the next week when planting conditions might be more favorable, Edling got in the field on May 6 to ensure planting was out of the way. His Edling Farms Inc. ended up hauling in 258.20 bushels per acre on the DeKalb test plot. That the number merited first still caught Edling off guard.

"I was quite surprised," Edling said. "The yield this year was about the same as the first two years."

Edling and Smith both said conditions throughout the growing season and harvest were fairly average. The September and early October weather proved ideal for finishing off the crop, Smith said.

"If it wasn't, my crop would've been way poorer," Smith said.

Elsewhere around the nation, the National Corn Yield Contest set records for number of entries and all-time high yield. In its 49th year, the contest had 8,827 entries, up significantly from 2012's 8,263 entries. David Hula from Charles City, Va., set the nation's highest yield record, topping 454 bushels per acre. Four other producers, two from Georgia, another from Virginia and one from Texas, topped the 400 bushel-per-acre mark. The 18 national winners across six production categories had verified yields averaging more than 354.6 bushels per acre compared to the projected national average of 160.4 bushels per acre in 2013, the NCGA reported.

"While this contest provides individual growers a chance for good-natured competition with their peers, it also advances farming as a whole," said Don Glenn, chairman of NCGA's Production and Stewardship Action Team. "The techniques and practices contest winners develop provide the basis widely used advanced that help farmers across the country excel in a variety of situations. This contest highlights how innovation, from both growers and technology providers, allows us to meet the growing demand fro food, fed, fuel and fiber."