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BIG WINS: Iowa farmers John Ruff and Robert Jensen attribute their winning yields in the 2017 National Corn Growers Yield Contest to great growing conditions, careful management, selection of the right hybrid for each field and good plant health.

Looking back at a big-yield year

Farmers place in state and national corn and soybean yield contests.

The National Corn Growers Association’s 2016 National Corn Yield Contest winners were recently announced, and two Iowa farmers earned both national and state wins.

Farming near Neola in western Iowa, Robert Jensen received second place nationally and in the state for Class D, AA No-Till/Strip-Till Non-Irrigated, with a yield of 332.7 bushels per acre. John Ruff, of Monona in northeast Iowa, won third nationally and second in the state for Class B, AA Non-Irrigated, with a yield of 313.2 bushels per acre.

Jensen planted a Dekalb hybrid, DKC61-54RIB Brand Blend, a little later than he would have liked, but it took off right away. Then in the last week of June, a tornado struck about a mile west of his farm. Fields received a lot of hail, and he was initially worried about the impact on his corn. “We were going to enter the contest that week, but didn’t because I walked into the field, saw the corn was goose-necked and thought there wasn’t a chance,” Jensen recalls. “But within one week, the corn was standing up and you couldn’t tell anything had happened to it. I couldn’t believe it. Everything rolled into place and just clicked.”

Choose best hybrid for each field
Jensen used a hydraulic downforce on his corn planter and spent the past four years fine-tuning it to get the results he wants. He also works with his seed dealer to help choose the best product for his fields. “Last year we hit the buttons right with the planter,” he says. “My corn all came up, even as the whole field took off. We’ve had good results with Dekalb. I like the uniformity when it emerges; the plants look healthy. These hybrids respond to my management practices.”

Ruff attributes his win to great growing conditions and good plant health with DKC62-08RIB Brand Blend. “We saw great stand with our corn, along with healthy plants,” says Ruff. “I knew all along we were in for a good yield. I knew we chose a good hybrid for our field, and we had a terrific growing season.” Ruff also carefully considered his management practices, including spraying with a fungicide at tassel and selecting a hybrid with good drydown.

In all, 7,972 entries were received from throughout the U.S. in the 2016 NCGA yield contest. The full list of Dekalb winners can be found here at

Farmers grow big bean yields
Last year saw big soybean yields, too. The annual Asgrow Yield Contest had two Iowa farms with yields over 100 bushels per acre. Steve and Brad Bergen of Stanton had 103.7 bushels per acre with AG3034 brand. Chris Hunt of Granville had 100.8 bushels per acre with AG2035.

Good growing conditions and healthy plants helped lead Hunt to his yield win this year. He chose specific management practices for his high, dry land, which typically includes an adequate amount of manure on the ground.  “I work the ground once and then plant within 12 hours of working it,” he says. “I’ve been very satisfied with plant health. These beans emerge quickly and uniformly. My stand count is also very good.”

For a full list of Asgrow yield winners, visit

Source: Monsanto

TAGS: Soybean
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