Advanced production techniques, informed growing practices and improved seed varieties helped corn growers achieve high yields in the National Corn Growers Association 2012 National Corn Yield Contest. Despite a severe drought that plagued most of the Corn Belt, entrants continued to far surpass the national average corn yield, even doubling it in some circumstances.
The National Corn Yield Contest is in its 48th year and remains NCGA's most popular program for members. With 8,262 entries, the 2012 NCGA National Corn Yield Contest neared the participation record set last year of 8,425 entries. Notably, 2012 still marks a dramatic trend toward higher entry rates, far surpassing the previous entry record set in 2010 of 7,125 entries.
"While this contest provides individual growers a chance for good-natured competition with their peers, it also advances farming as a whole, said Dean Taylor, chairman of NCGA's Production and Stewardship Action Team. "The techniques and practices contest winners develop provide the basis for widely used advances that help farmers across the country excel in a variety of situations, including drought. This contest highlights how innovation, from both growers and technology providers, allows us to meet the growing demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber.
The 18 winners in six production categories had verified yields averaging more than 316.3222 bushels per acre, compared to the projected national average of 122.3 bushels per acre in 2012. Notably, while the national average declined significantly from a projection of 146.7 bushels per acre at this time in 2011, the contest average rose by more than three bushels per acre. While there is no overall contest winner, yields from first, second and third place farmers overall production categories topped out at 384.3609.
"Many of our members first joined NCGA so that they could participate in the National Corn Yield Contest and test their skills as a farmer, said Brandon Hunnicutt, chairman of NCGA's Grower Services Action Team. "While they join to gain entry, their view of the organization, and corresponding level of participation, evolves. Once a contest participant looks at our activities and achievements on behalf of all American growers, they see the value in a grassroots approach that unites the voices of corn farmers across the country to affect change. Reluctant joiners turn into vital members, spokespeople for their industry and active advocates of NCGA membership.
The national and state contest winners will be honored at the 2013 Commodity Classic in Kissimmee, Fla. Feb. 28 - March 2.
Please visit National Corn Growers Association website www.ncga.com for the complete list of National winners.