By Kansas Corn Commission

During its recent corn yield contest, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) tabulated entries that far surpassed the national average corn yield, posting several impressive yields on the state level and setting an all-time high yield of 454 bushels per acre.

The National Corn Yield Contest, in its 49th year, is NCGA's most popular member program. With 8,827 contest entries, 2013 surpassed all other years of the competition and awarded 18 winners in six production categories with verified yields averaging more than 354.6 bushels per acre. This was compared to the projected national average of 160.4 bushels per acre this year. All four of Kansas first place state winners had a combined average yield of 296.3 bushels per acre.

At 308 bushels per acre, Gale Frank Farms, Copeland, had the top yield in the state competing in the irrigated division. Kansas grower Brad Taylor, White Cloud, ranked first in the state's non-irrigated contest with Taylor T8845 and a  yield of 276.9525 bushels. Second place from Kansas was Jason Taylor, White Cloud, with Taylor 9922VT3 ProRIB and a yield of 274.3154. Alex Noll, Winchester, ranked third in Kansas using DEKALB DKC64-69.

State winners in the no-till/strip-till non-irrigated contest were the Koelzer brothers, Onaga. Jeff Koelzer used DEKALB DKC63-33RIB with a yield of 293.2033 bushels while Clem Koelzer planted DEKALB  DKC62-98RIB for a harvest yield of 268.5546 bushels. Third place in this division was Henry Farms Inc., Robinson, with Pioneer P1395HR and a yield of 248.0049 bushels.

In the irrigated division, Gale Frank Farms #2, Copeland, earned top honors with Pioneer P1625HR with a yield of 308.6494. Gale Frank Farms #1, also of Copeland, utilized Pioneer 3 3D47 for a yield of 305.1683 bushels. Gale Frank Farms won third place with Pioneer P1625HR and a yield of 303.6014 bushels.

Winners in the No-Till/Strip Till Irrigated contest for Kansas are Josh Koehn, Montezuma, in first place with Pioneer P1625HR, which yielded 306.5698 bushels. Robbie Yost, Montezuma, used Pioneer P1625HR to earn second place with a yield of 297.9833 bushels. Third place in this division goes to Fred Goossen, Montezuma, with his Pioneer P1625HR variety yielding 296.7249 bushels.

Brandon Hunnicutt, chair of NCGA's Grower Services Action Team, said many members join NCGA to participate in the National Corn Yield Contest. The event tests their skills as a farmer, he said.

"While they join to gain entry, their view of the organization and corresponding level of participation, evolves," Hunnicutt, a Neb., grower, said. "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."

National and state contest winners will be honored at the 2014 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas, in late February and early March and will be featured in publications such as the NCYC Corn Yield Guide. Many of the winners also receive awards from participating sponsoring seed, chemical and crop protection companies.