2016 was a super year for corn in the Dakotas, and it showed up big time in the 2016 National Corn Yield Contest, sponsored in part by the South Dakota Corn Growers Association and North Dakota Corn Growers Association.
In South Dakota, nine winning entries topped 280 bushels per acre. The highest yield was 294.35 bushels per acre in the irrigated category, produced by repeat winner Kory Standy of Platte, S.D. Scott McKee of Hawarden, Iowa, who farms in South Dakota, is a first-place winner for the fourth consecutive year, claiming honors in the nonirrigated category.
Standy subsurface drip irrigates corn with water from the Missouri River. He’s recently made three changes that he says helped increase his yields:
- He installed more subsurface irrigation lines. Lines are now spaced 30 inches rather than 60 inches apart. Standy applies nitrogen through the drip lines as he irrigates.
- He works the field with a heavy harrow to spread residue more evenly. He says it has helped corn emerge more uniformly.
- He upped the plant population from 36,000 to 37,000 plants per acre.
In North Dakota, eight winning entries topped the 280-bushel-per-acre mark. The highest yield was 289.9727 bushels per acre in the nonirrigated category, produced by Cara Myers, Colfax, N.D. Cara farms with her husband, Jay. They also operate AgroValley Solutions and are Conklin fertilizer dealers. The 289-bushel entry was their personal best contest yield: Things that helped them set a record:
- They have been tiling land for the past five years and 90% of their corn was planted on tiled ground this year.
- For fertilizer placement, they strip-till and place about a third of the nutrients for corn 6 inches directly beneath the row. The seed is treated with Conklin Amplify-L seed treatment and placed about 2 inches below the soil surface, so the fertilizer band ends up about 4 inches below the seed. They apply a Conklin ortho 3-18-18 plus SideKick starter fertilizer and micronutrients in furrow. They apply another third of the fertilizer in two bands 1 ½ to 2 inches deep and 3 inches on either side of the row. They sidedress the final third of the fertilizer with a 360 Y-drop applicator. They use a 360 Soilscan from 360 Yield Center to monitor nutrient availability through the growing season and apply additional N as needed.
- They apply AgroValley Solutions’ Kickstart, a proprietary blend of algae extracts, when planting and sidedressing.
South Dakota’s and North Dakota’s contests are held in conjunction with the National Corn Yield Contest, which is in its 52nd year. Nationally, 7,972 entries were received and five surpassed the 400-bushel-per-acre mark. Randy Dowdy, Valdosta, Ga., had the highest yield in the contest with 521 bushels per acre in the no-till/strip-till irrigated category. In the Midwest Tim, Dan and Joe Durick, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, had a 333-bushel entry in the AA No-till/Strip-till nonirrigated category.
The South Dakota and North Dakota state winners by category are:
For a list of national winners and results from all contestants, see ncga.com/for-farmers/national-corn-yield-contest.