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Record corn yield starts with ideal planting weatherRecord corn yield starts with ideal planting weather

Drew Haines of Middletown, Md., had the third-highest overall yield in the National Corn Yield Contest.

Chris Torres

December 24, 2019

7 Min Read
A combine harvests corn
BETTER THAN AVERAGE: According to the National Corn Growers Association, the average yield in the 2019 National Corn Yield Contest was 383 bushels, more than double the national average corn yield of 167 bushels. fotokostic/Getty Images

Maryland farmer Drew Haines has outdone himself again with another record-breaking performance in the National Corn Yield Contest.

His contest plot yielded 422.35 bushels, enough for first place in the No-till, Nonirrigated category and third-highest yield overall.

For Haines, who farms in Middletown, Md., the foundation for another record-breaking growing season was laid in the spring.

“We had a great window to plant and with optimal soil moisture at planting no rain for five days after. Our Dekalb 68-69RIB corn was up and running,” he says.

2018 was a wet year in the Northeast. As a result, he spread out his nitrogen and potassium applications, running a “vigorous foliar program by helicopter.”

“We ran a full cocktail over the corn five times, keeping it hitting on all cylinders as you would pulling a tractor. Having the corn happy is a must, and never wanting for anything,” he says. “Other things that help add test weights and kernel fill like my home-brew dillweed juice and super energy source nectar help keep the plant healthy longer.”

The dillweed juice is a mix of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; boron and zine; humic and fulvic acids; and other things Haines likes to keep a secret. He applies 3 gallons an acre.

But “spoon-feeding” the corn doesn’t matter if the soil isn’t in good shape.

“As the years of being in the contest move on, I have implemented more and more of the same practices on all our corn acres and found that they responded with yield increases also,” he says. “The first step, though, is building that soil foundation. The soil is what makes it all grow and, of course, Mother Nature.”

Dominick Santini of Phillipsburg, N.J., won the Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till, Nonirrigated category with 339.09 bushels, planting Pioneer P1197.

Other high placings for regional growers:

No-till, Nonirrigated

  • Second place, Chris Santini, Stewartsville, N.J., Pioneer P1464AML, 344.51 bushels

  • Third place, Darren Charles, Lancaster Pa., Dekalb DKC62-52RIB, 335.93 bushels

Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till, Nonirrigated

  • Second place, Scott Clucas, Califon, N.J., Dekalb DKC64-34RIB, 335.03 bushels

  • Third place, Daryl L. Alger, Lebanon, Pa., Dekalb DKC62-53RIB, 319.84 bushels

No-till, Irrigated

  • Third place, Carly Santini, Stewartsville, N.J., Pioneer P1197AMT, 345.28 bushels

Shattered records

David Hula of Charles City, Va., achieved the highest yield on record with 616.19 bushels per acre.

The 27 winners in nine production categories had verified yields averaging more than 383 bushels per acre, according to the National Corn Growers Association. That’s more than double the national average of 167 bushels per acre in 2019.

Drew Haines stands beside his record-yielding corn field
RECORD-BREAKING YEAR: Drew Haines likes to spoon-feed his crops, but the foundation of his record yields started with building the soil, and a good planting season.

Winners receive national recognition in publications such as the NCYC Corn Yield Guide, as well as cash trips or other awards from participating sponsoring seed, chemical and crop protection companies. The winners will be honored during Commodity Classic 2020 in San Antonio, Texas.

State winners across Mid-Atlantic, Northeast

Here is a list of Mid-Atlantic and Northeast winners by state and category. Please note that some names are not listed with a placing. This is because contestants are only allowed to win one class even though they might have high yields across multiple classes.


Conventional, Nonirrigated

  1. Jim Logue, Woodbury, Channel 209-51VT2PRIB, 277.58 bushels

  2. Michael Logue, Woodbury, Dyna-Gro D52VC63RIB, 275.7918 bushels
        Michael Logue, Woodbury, Dekalb DKC55-20RIB, 245.9905 bushels

  3. Harris Cohen, Ellington, Dekalb DKC64-34RIB, 243.5136 bushels



Conventional, Nonirrigated

  1. Bill Alfree, Middletown, Dekalb DKC64-87RIB, 287.79 bushels

  2. Jonathan Snow, Smyrna, Pioneer P1380AM, 239.80 bushels
        Jonathan Snow, Smyrna, Pioneer P1077AM, 239.71 bushels

  3. Russell Hudson, Frankford, Dekalb DKC67-44RIB, 226.37 bushels

No-till, Nonirrigated

  1. Aaron R. Thompson, Hartly, Channel 215-60TRERIB, 259.58 bushels

  2. Whitney Snow, Smyrna, Pioneer P1464AM, 254.74 bushels

  3. Sherry Hudson, Frankford, Dekalb DKC67-44RIB, 225.32 bushels

No-till, Irrigated

  1. Gary C Ockels, Milton, Dekalb DKC64-35RIB, 320.10 bushels
        Gary C Ockels, Milton, Dekalb DKC62-53RIB, 318.83 bushels

  2. Mark Collins, Laurel, Channel 213-19VT2PRIB, 314.89 bushels
        Mark Collins, Laurel, Dekalb DKC62-53RIB, 308.73 bushels.

  3. B. Mark Wilson, Smyrna, Dekalb DKC65-20RIB, 299.99 bushels

Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till Irrigated

  1. C. Melvin Wyatt Jr., Harrington, Dekalb DKC62-53RIB, 296.28 bushels

Conventional Irrigated

  1. Brian Tull, Seaford, Dekalb DKC65-95RIB, 312.93 bushels

  2. Zachary Collins, Laurel, Axis 62A58, 305.07 bushels

  3. Clarence Gregory Dempsey Jr., Dover, Hubner H4890RC2P, 298.72 bushels



Conventional, Nonirrigated

  1. James Hilton, Norridgewock, Mycogen Seeds MY84S86, 150.26 bushels

Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till, Nonirrigated

  1. Alexander Hilton, Norridgewock, Channel 187-49VT2PRIB, 186.71 bushels



Conventional, Nonirrigated

  1. Brian Llewelyn, Northfield, Pioneer P9840AM, 321 bushels.

No-till, Nonirrigated

  1. Wanda Llewelyn, Northfield, Pioneer P9840AM, 324.37 bushels.

Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till, Nonirrigated

  1. Jack Letourneau, Northfield, Pioneer P9998AM, 302.15 bushels

No-till Irrigated

  1. Sarah Henry, Southampton, Channel 197-90VT2PRIB, 270.64 bushels

Conventional, Irrigated

  1. William Edward Llewelyn, Northfield, Pioneer P9998AM, 307.83 bushels



Conventional Nonirrigated

  1. Brenda J. Walsh, Hampstead, AgriGold A641-06 VT2RIB, 307.97 bushels

  2. Michael R. Harrison, Woodbine, Dekalb DKC64-35RIB, 287.68 bushels

  3. Gregory Monroe Dell, Westminster, Channel 213-19VT2PRIB, 271.68 bushels

No-till, Nonirrigated

  1. Drew Haines, Middletown, Dekalb DKC68-69RIB, 422.35 bushels

  2. Brad D. Rill, Hampstead, Dekalb DKC67-44RIB, 311.08 bushels
        Brad D. Rill, Hampstead, Dekalb DKC70-27RIB, 309.05 bushels
        Brad D. Rill, Hampstead, LG Seeds LG5618VT2RIB, 299.53 bushels

  3. William F Willard, Poolesville, Dekalb DKC64-35RIB, 295.80 bushels

Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till, Nonirrigated

  1. David Hill, Kennedyville, Pioneer P0574AM, 231.93 bushels

  2. Edward Appenzeller Jr., Millington, Dekalb DKC62-53RIB, 216.29 bushels

No-till, Irrigated

  1. Marion Wilson, Centreville, Dekalb DKC67-44RIB, 288.82 bushels

  2. David and Ronnie Andrews, Hurlock, Pioneer P1197AM, 266.90 bushels

  3. William H. Layton, Vienna, Dekalb DKC62-53RIB, 258.94 bushels

Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till, Irrigated

  1. Bruce Bartz, Denton, Dekalb DKC70-27RIB, 318.69 bushels

  2. Gary L. King, Princess Anne, Pioneer P1197AM, 286.76 bushels

  3. Catherine G. Bostic, Church Hill, AgriGold A6544 STXRIB, 278.79 bushels

Conventional Irrigated

  1. Jason Larry Sheubrooks, Sudlersville, Dekalb DKC62-53RIB, 296.19 bushels

  2. David Denny, Queen Anne, Dekalb DKC67-44RIB, 285.91 bushels

  3. Michael R. Bostic Sr., Church Hill, Pioneer P1464AML, 285.69 bushels


New Hampshire

Conventional Non-Irrigated

  1. William Llewelyn, Northfield, Channel 195-18VT2PRIB, 230.47 bushels

No-till, Nonirrigated

  1. Mary E. Llewelyn, Northfield, Pioneer P9998AM, 253.70 bushels

No-till, Irrigated

  1. Dan Llewelyn, Northfield, Pioneer P9998AM, 259.83 bushels

Conventional, Irrigated

  1. Frederick Llewelyn, Northfield, Channel 203-44STXRIB, 233.03 bushels


New Jersey

Conventional, Nonirrigated

  1. Sam Santini, Stewartsville, Pioneer P1464AML, 346.78 bushels

No-till, Nonirrigated

  1. Chris Santini, Stewartsville, Pioneer P1464AML, 344.51 bushels

  2. Robert A. Santini, Phillipsburg, Pioneer P1197, 311.43 bushels

Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till, Nonirrigated

  1. Dominick Santini, Phillipsburg, Pioneer P1197, 339.09 bushels

  2. Scott Clucas, Califon, Dekalb DKC64-34RIB, 335.02 bushels

  3. Leonard S. Truszkowski, Stewartsville, Dyna-Gro D52VC63RIB, 315.34 bushels

No-till Irrigated

  1. Carly Santini, Stewartsville, Pioneer P1197AMT, 345.28 bushels

Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till, Irrigated

  1. Tim Doyle, Clayton, Pioneer P1197AM, 299.93 bushels

  2. Eric Matthew Eachus, Mullica Hill, Dekalb DKC64-34RIB, 287.79 bushels

Conventional Irrigated

  1. Matt Santini, Phillipsburg, Pioneer P1197, 309.50 bushels

  2. Alan A. Danser, Cranbury, Pioneer P1602AM, 295.74 bushels


New York

Conventional, Nonirrigated

  1. Jeremy J. Silsby, Gasport, Dekalb DKC53-56RIB, 254.64 bushels

  2. Henry G. Everman, Dansville, Dekalb DKC64-34RIB, 251.98 bushels
        Jason Swede, Pavilion, Dekalb DKC57-75RIB, 243.03 bushels

  3. Panayiotis Ioannou, Middleburgh, Dyna-Gro D35SS58RIB, 230.76 bushels

No-till, Nonirrigated

  1. John Macauley, Mount Morris LG Seeds LG5470VT2RIB, 229.31 bushels
    John Macauley, Mount Morris, LG Seeds LG5499VT2RIB, 216.85 bushels

Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till, Nonirrigated

  1. Adam Kirby, Albion, Pioneer P0843AM, 277 bushels

  2. Jason Swede, Pavilion, Dekalb DKC52-84RIB, 259.83 bushels

  3. Gary Swede, Pavilion, Dekalb DKC57-75RIB, 255.37 bushels

Conventional Irrigated

  1. Paul Campbell, Nichols, Dekalb DKC52-84RIB, 258.54 bushels
        Paul Campbell, Nichols, Dekalb DKC52-85RIB, 254.62 bushels



Conventional, Nonirrigated

  1. Jess A. Powell, Greenville, Pioneer P0574AMXT, 266.88 bushels

  2. Gavin Mast, Morgantown, Pioneer P1422AM, 263.80 bushels

  3. Howard A. Deshong, Elizabethtown, Pioneer P0843AM, 263.19 bushels

No-till, Nonirrigated

  1. Darren Charles, Lancaster, Dekalb DKC62-52RIB, 335.93 bushels

  2. Clifford Charles, Lancaster, Pioneer P1197AM, 335.01 bushels

  3. Nelson Beam, Elverson, Pioneer P0843AM, 310.88 bushels

Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till, Nonirrigated

  1. Daryl L. Alger, Lebanon, Dekalb DKC62-53RIB, 319.84 bushels

  2. Dave Kenneth Kratz, Hamburg, Channel 213-19VT2PRIB, 302.25 bushels

  3. Glen R. Krall, Lebanon, Pioneer P1415Q, 293.18 bushels

No-till, Irrigated

    Eric Charles, Lancaster, Pioneer P1415Q, 318.99 bushels

  1. Karl Dirks, Mount Joy, Dekalb DKC60-88RIB, 304.76 bushels
        Eric Charles, Lancaster Seed Consultants SCS1087YHR, 303.56 bushels

  2. Paul D. Mast, Morgantown, Pioneer P1443AM, 287.74 bushels

  3. Rhonda Mast, Morgantown, Pioneer P1283AM, 285.25 bushels

Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till, Irrigated

  1. Eric Charles, Lancaster, Dekalb DKC62-52RIB, 323.19 bushels

Conventional Irrigated

  1. Jeremy Sands, Shippensburg, AgriGold A647-46 STX, 317.28 bushels

  2. Eric Nelson Meyers, Mercersburg, Pioneer P1197AM, 290.86 bushels

  3. Christopher Mast, Morgantown, Pioneer P1197AMXT, 245.36 bushels



Conventional, Nonirrigated

  1. Theodore Grembowicz, North Clarendon, Dekalb DKC34-82RIB, 155.95 bushels

Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till, Nonirrigated

  1. Jeffrey T. Grembowicz, West Rutland, Dekalb DKC34-82RIB, 160.53 bushels


West Virginia

Conventional, Nonirrigated

  1. Chris Miltenberger, Keyser, Dekalb DKC70-27RIB, 309.82 bushels
        Grant Smith, Keyser, Pioneer P0843AM, 251.36 bushels

No-till, Nonirrigated

  1. Justice Family Farms, Daniels, Dekalb DKC65-20, 273.29 bushels

  2. Paul R. Miltenberger, Keyser, Dekalb DKC70-27RIB, 270.28 bushels
        Grant Smith, Keyser, Pioneer P1197AM, 261.10 bushels

  3. Ronald L. Widmyer, Charles Town, Pioneer P1197AM, 224.71 bushels

Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till, Nonirrigated

  1. Margaret W. Miltenberger, Keyser, Dekalb DKC70-27RIB, 246.91 bushels

  2. Lynn Widmyer, Charles Town, Pioneer P1197AM, 136.46 bushels

No-till, Irrigated

  1. Todd Widmyer, Charles Town, Pioneer P1298AM, 246.11 bushels

Strip, Min, Mulch, Ridge-till, Irrigated

  1. Ann Coleen Widmyer, Charles Town, Pioneer P1197AM, 237.38 bushels

Conventional, Irrigated

  1. Grant Smith, Keyser, Pioneer P1197AM, 277.02 bushels

  2. Louis Miltenberger, Keyser, Dekalb DKC67-44RIB, 259.92 bushels

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Chris Torres

Editor, American Agriculturist

Chris Torres, editor of American Agriculturist, previously worked at Lancaster Farming, where he started in 2006 as a staff writer and later became regional editor. Torres is a seven-time winner of the Keystone Press Awards, handed out by the Pennsylvania Press Association, and he is a Pennsylvania State University graduate.

Torres says he wants American Agriculturist to be farmers' "go-to product, continuing the legacy and high standard (former American Agriculturist editor) John Vogel has set." Torres succeeds Vogel, who retired after 47 years with Farm Progress and its related publications.

"The news business is a challenging job," Torres says. "It makes you think outside your small box, and you have to formulate what the reader wants to see from the overall product. It's rewarding to see a nice product in the end."

Torres' family is based in Lebanon County, Pa. His wife grew up on a small farm in Berks County, Pa., where they raised corn, soybeans, feeder cattle and more. Torres and his wife are parents to three young boys.

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