The American Farmer has long been viewed, and rightfully so, as the backbone of our nation’s economy and lead provider of the breadbasket for the world. As they strive to meet the growing demand for corn to satisfy increasing world need, two area growers have been honored through the 2019 National Corn Yield Contest.

Eric and Madison Reed of Elora took top honors in both Alabama and Tennessee. Eric placed first in Alabama with the A: Conventional Non-Irrigated Class with a yield of 315.0644 bushels per acre, and Madison won Tennessee with a yield of 328.81 bushels per acre. The hybrid used was DEKALB DKC67-44. Eric’s yield also broke the state record in Alabama.

Kole Phillips of Taft placed second in Tennessee in the G: No-Till Irrigated Class with a yield of 289.5908 bushels per acre. The hybrid used in the winning field was Pioneer P2089VYHR.

The Reeds and Phillips were among 531 state winners nationwide. The national contest, sponsored annually by the National Corn Growers Association, recognizes farmers from across the country for their efforts and exceptional results.

The 2019 contest participation included 7,454 entries from 46 states. Of the state winners, 27 growers – three from each of nine classes – were named national winners, representing 12 states.

The average yield among national winners was more than 383 bushels per acre – greater than the projected 2019 U.S. average of 168.0 bushels per acre. While there is no overall contest winner, yields from first, second and third place farmers overall production categories topped out at 616.1953 bushels per acre.

“The challenges U.S. corn farmers faced in 2019 were, in many ways, a perfect storm. From a slew of weather-related issues to trade disruptions and persistent low prices, farmers were tested in many ways, often many times, over the past year. With determination and whole lot of grit, the American farm families who grow corn persevered. Their harvest again produced an abundance of corn to meet the world’s growing demand for food, feed, and fiber,” said NCGA President Kevin Ross, a corn grower from Minden, Iowa.

“The achievements of these winners contribute to the overall pool of knowledge from which the industry draws while highlighting how adaptation and innovation, when combined with state-of-the-art technology, can help farmers achieve true excellence and inspire their peers,” Ross continued. “These accomplishments highlight not only personal triumphs but also the collective achievements of the industry that supports them.”

Farmers are encouraged through the contest to utilize new, efficient production techniques. Agronomic data gleaned from the contest reveal the following:

  • Average planting population for the national winners was 39,009 seeds per acre, compared to 33,785 for all entrants.
  • National winners applied an average of 323.6666 pounds of nitrogen, 102.4814 pounds of phosphorus and 210.9259 pounds of potassium per acre.
  • Average commercial nitrogen use per bushel of yield was 0.89 pounds for the national winners and 0.87 pounds for all entrants.
  • Thirty-three percent of the national winners applied trace minerals, compared to 8.8 percent of all entrants.
  • Forty percent of national winners applied manure, compared to 7 percent of all entrants.

The National Corn Yield Contest began in 1965 with 20 entries from 3 states. At that time, the highest overall yield was 218.9 bushels per acre, while the national yield average was in the mid-60 bushel-per-acre range.

The winners were recognized Feb. 28 at the 2020 Commodity Classic, the premier convention and trade show of the U.S. corn, soybean, sorghum, wheat and equipment industries, held this year in San Antonio, Texas. For a complete list of winners and for more information about NCYC, visit the NCGA website at www.ncga.com.

The National Corn Growers Association represents our nearly 40,000 members, 50 affiliated state corn grower and checkoff organizations, and over 300,000 corn farmers who contribute to state checkoff programs.

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