Southwest Iowa farmer Don Waters had entered the National Corn Growers Association’s National Corn Yield Contest for the past five years but never placed until last year.
Waters says he was stunned that he not only captured a first-place state award, but also a third-place national ranking. “I think the stars just aligned last year, and Mother Nature took care of me in that particular field,” he says.
The Cumberland farmer achieved an impressive 343.2 bushels per acre in the AA Non-Irrigated category, which placed first in Iowa and third nationally in that category. Waters was one of only 18 national winners in the six contest production categories, and the only one from Iowa.
Highest yield of all Iowa entries
Perhaps just as impressive, his yield figure was the highest among all Iowa farmers who won awards in the 2017 competition. He won with DeKalb DKC63-35RIB Brand Blend, a 113-day relative maturity corn product.
Waters achieved his high yield despite 2017 being a challenging growing season. “We had a cold, wet spring, but I held off planting until May 7 when the ground had warmed up,” he says. “Then it turned hot and dry, which actually caused the corn roots to work harder pulling up moisture and nutrients. Finally, we had some timely late-season rains that were very beneficial.”
Besides timely planting, he attributes his winning yield to his corn hybrid’s genetics, as well as good soil fertility. The yield contest plot had a plant population of 33,000 seeds per acre. “Because of all the weather issues, I thought the season would be disastrous, but it turned out fantastic,” he says. “I’m really honored to be a yield winner because there were a lot of other high yields this past season.”
1st-place winners honored
Waters, along with other Dekalb and NCGA first-place state and national yield winners, will be guests at 2018 Commodity Classic Feb. 27 to March 1 in Anaheim, Calif. They, along with winners of the Asgrow Soybean Yield Contest, will be recognized by the brands at an awards banquet.
“We’re excited to recognize and honor our yield winners each year at Commodity Classic,” says Pete Uitenbroek, Dekalb-Asgrow brand marketing lead. “During the event, these farmers also have the opportunity to discuss their management practices with each other, exchange ideas and share their passion for farming and performance.”
Go online to view Dekalb 2017 national and state yield winners by state. Winner names can be filtered by state for easy viewing.
The National Corn Growers Association National Corn Yield Contest in 2017 had five national entries surpassing the 400-plus bushel mark. The 18 winners in six production categories had verified yields averaging more than 386 bushels per acre, compared to the USDA estimate of 176.6 bushels per acre for the national yield average for all corn grown in 2017. While there is no overall NCGA contest winner, the highest yield out of all categories topped out at 542.27 bushels per acre.
Sources: Dekalb, NCGA