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TAPS winners use innovative strategiesTAPS winners use innovative strategies

The contest winners were announced Jan.14 at the annual UNL-TAPS awards banquet.

February 8, 2023

3 Min Read
Shawn Woollen from Wilcox, Neb., who won the Highest Input Efficiency Use award in the sprinkler corn division, with Nebraska
BEST OF THE BEST: Winners in sorghum, SDI corn and sprinkler corn were announced at the 2022 TAPS awards banquet. Pictured here is Shawn Woollen (left) of Wilcox, Neb., who won the Highest Input Efficiency Use award in the sprinkler corn division, with Nebraska Extension water and cropping systems educator Chuck Burr presenting. Curt Arens

by Krystle Rhoades

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Testing Ag Performance Solutions awards ceremony culminated the program’s sixth year of farm management competitions on Jan. 14 with the announcement of winners for the 2022 growing season.

Founded in 2017, the TAPS program is an innovative program developed by UNL research and Extension specialists and educators. Rather than the typical teacher and student paradigm, the program facilitates a number of interactive real-life farm management competitions and has offered a unique way of connecting producers to industry professionals, as well as providing a way of testing new, advancing technologies through competitions at the West Central Research, Extension, and Education Center in North Platte, Neb.

The TAPS awards event was a night of interaction and celebration of the 2022 competitions, which included sorghum, subsurface drip irrigated (SDI) corn and sprinkler irrigated corn. The participants in each competition make their own individual input decisions for their plots on the same field as competitors.

These decisions include crop insurance, hybrid and seeding rate, nitrogen timing and amount, irrigation timing and amount, and, lastly, marketing of their crop. Awards are given in each competition for greatest grain yield, highest input use efficiency and most profitable. These designations come with a cash prize, along with a plaque, oversized check and personalized TAPS apparel item.


The sorghum contest, in its fifth year, included both a dryland and irrigated portion, and involved 18 teams. Tracy Zink of Indianola, Neb., earned all three of the top honors for yield, efficiency and profitability.

SDI corn

In the fourth year of the SDI corn competition, 16 teams competed. The award winners in the SDI competition included: Lorn Dizmang of Dizmang Ag in Moorefield, Neb., for the Greatest Yield award; Tri-Basin Water Watchers of Holdrege, Neb., for the Highest Input Use Efficiency accolade; and the Rattlesnake Boys from Wood River, Neb., for Most Profitable.

Pat Nott, Chris Ecklun, Reed Philips, Rick Reinsch, Logan Reed, Darrin Swanson and Curtis Scheele made up the Tri-Basin Water Watchers team. The Rattlesnake Boys team consisted of Kevin and Amy Harsch, Jay Johnson, and Jeremy Gewecke.

Sprinkler corn

The sixth year of the sprinkler corn competition had 33 teams participate. The Greatest Yield award was won by Luke Olson of McCook, Neb. Shawn Woollen of Wilcox, Neb., earned the Highest Input Use Efficiency award.

The Perkins Group team from the Grant, Neb., area won the top award for Most Profitable. The team was made up of Brent Gloy, Bruce Young, Curt Richmond, Jeremy Hagan, Nick Turner, Pat McGreer, Shawn Turner, Ted Tietjen and Troy Kemling.

Outstanding advocate

The last award presented was the Outstanding TAPS Advocate, which honors an organization, person or business that went above and beyond in supporting the UNL-TAPS program. This year, the award recipient was Amy Kremen of Boulder, Colo.

Kremen has advocated for the TAPS program since its inception by recruiting participants, assisting with funding proposals, promoting partnerships and aiding in starting new TAPS competitions in other states.

The full 2022 TAPS Competition Report can be found online at taps.unl.edu. The TAPS program would like to thank all the sponsors, supporters and participants for being a part of and making the program a continued success. The 2023 TAPS competitions are already in planning. Anyone interested in the program can email [email protected].

Rhoades is the program manager for UNL-TAPS.

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