Historic harvest: Top two national corn yields exceed 500 bushels

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The tallies are in and the National Corn Growers Association Corn Yield Contest is seeing a familiar face at the top of the yield monitor again this year.Georgia farmer Randy Dowdy raked in the highest corn yield with his win in the no-till/strip-till irrigated division at a whopping 521 bushels per acre.The second highest yield went to Kevin Dowdy in the irrigated division at 501 bpa.Both fields found success with the same corn variety — AgriGold A6499 STX/RIB.AgriGold General Manager John Kermicle speaking at the Historic Harvest Press Conference“This was the first time in the history of the NCGA contest that a grower had two yields over 500 bushel in the same year. And on top of that, they were both AgriGold. So a big day for our brand,” said John Kermicle, AgriGold general manager.Leaders of the seed brand came together at the AgReliant Genetics headquarters in Indianapolis on Monday to recognize the outstanding performance of both their hybrids and their customers in this year’s National Corn Growers Association contest.“We’ve been working with Randy Dowdy for the past couple of years. He’s been able to achieve these high yields and we are finding out what from that can we apply to everyday commercial corn production. We’ve learned a lot,” Kermicle said.Kermicle noted the relationship between Dowdy and AgriGold works well as the two have the same priorities in mind.AgriGold Agronomy Manager Mike Kavanaugh presenting the ear of corn award to Dowdy“Really it’s around having the right genetics to begin with, the agronomic knowledge that goes with that, and then working with the growers. The grower knows more about their farm than we do, so we have to rely on them. So it’s when those three things come together that we can have success,” he said.With the current state of the seed industry, Kermicle said it’s good to have a company in AgriGold that has stayed strong and steady in recent years.“The seed industry is going through a lot of transitions, mergers, acquisitions. With AgriGold, we’re celebrating our 80th anniversary this year. We started in 1936 and so we’ve been there, we continue to be there and we continue to grow — very stable and consistent,” he said.That being said, the company is seeing it’s fair share of changes down the road, especially in the area of soybeans.“The one thing that’s kind of interesting, our motto has always been ‘We know corn.’ And we introduced AgriGold soybeans this year so we’re kind of dipping our toe in that — just a limited offering — and we’ll be expanding our soybean offering considerably next year,” Kermicle said.Georgia farmer Randy DowdyThe National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 52nd year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members. Participation in the contest remained strong in 2016, with 7,972 entries received.“The contest provides farmers more than just an opportunity for friendly competition; it generates data that impacts future production practices across the industry,” said Brent Hostetler, chair of NCGA’s Stewardship Action Team. “The techniques first developed by contest winners grow into far-reaching advances, helping farmers across the country excel in a variety of situations. Our contest emphasizes innovation both from growers and technology providers, thus enabling 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 375 bushels per acre, compared to the projected national average of 175.3 bushels per acre in 2016.Randy Dowdy was on hand at the Historic Harvest Press Conference to accept an ear of corn award from AgriGold celebrating the A6499 variety that found success in the past year.“This just shows what their genetics are capable of,” Dowdy said. “They gave us a good tool to work with and then we tried to put it in an environment where we could succeed.”Year after year of success has given Dowdy unprecedented clout in the grain industry. He uses his time away from the farm to speak to farmers, sharing the ideas he’s put into practice. He noted a few such pieces of wisdom on Monday.“Don’t just plant a seed and watch it grow, you need to be a student of that crop,” he said. “You need to be out there making sure that you’re spraying herbicides at the right time. If not, is there a right time and a wrong time to spray? Absolutely. Are you meeting the nutrient demands of that crop throughout the year? How do we know that? Are we applying fertilizer and hoping that everything’s OK? Or do we know it is by checking balance system of pulling tissue test?Dowdy said uniformity and other so-called little things are all too important to be overlooked.“Great yields start with a great stand. Great stands start at the same time — within 10 GDU’s of one another.“It’s not as simple as planting 35,000 and making sure 35,000 came up. We have to make sure they all came up at the same time. That’s the key, that’s the goal. And how do we do that? We need to make sure every seed is placed at the same depth.“And then from that point on, then you start worrying about the other things that are in your control like fertility, fertilizer placement — things like that,” Dowdy said.Dowdy mentioned during his time taking questions from the in-person crowd and an internet audience that he was disappointed his yield monitor only read up to 400 bushels per acre. He says much higher numbers than 500 are possible down the road. Even so, the critics are out there, Dowdy said.“A lot of naysayers out there saying if we make 600 bushel corn, we’ll have $1 corn instead of $3 corn. There’ll be plenty of people that have negative things to say. But I want to sell that 600 bushels. If they don’t want to sell it, that’s OK. I want to sell mine,” Dowdy said.Though Ohio didn’t come in on the national results from this year’s contest, the state contest winners from the Buckeye State included Aaron Stuckey in the non-irrigated division at 254 bushels per acre. Doug Swaim routed the no-till/strip-till non-irrigated division with a 276-bushel entry. Matthew Funderburgh was the top Ohioan in the no-till/strip-till irrigated division at 256 bushels. Byron Gearhart ranked first in the irrigated contest at 258 bushels.last_img