Family Secrets: Lessons from contest plots chart a path to higher corn yields.

posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 in Industry

Excerpted from The Furrow . Family Secrets: Lessons from contest plots chart a path to higher corn yields. by Dean Houghton

When the results of the National Corn Growers Association’s National Yield Contest were totaled up for 1963, the winner that year produced a whopping—for that era—218.9 bushels per acre. The current world record was set in 2019 at 616.1953 bushels. Genetics get a lot of the credit for this 355% yield increase, but there’s more to the picture. Contest corn is piling up a treasure-trove of knowledge that growers are passing along to new generations of corn farmers.


Networking. Younger growers are looking to increase their knowledge of family secrets by entering the NCGA’s National Yield Contest. Ben Price and his father, Randy, have been producing eye-catching yields on their northwest Missouri family farm. Ben won first prize in the 2019 conventional non-irrigated class with a 323-bushel yield.

“We have definitely learned a lot about growing higher yields—from hybrid selection to getting the crop off to a good, clean start,” he says. “We gain a little more knowledge every year.”

The next step for Ben is to figure out when a practice will be profitable on non-contest fields. A tactic such as using fungicide has proven itself to the point that the family budgets for it on all corn acres. Other management inputs are more difficult to judge, with variables such as weather and soil type coming into play.

“Practices such as tissue testing can help us figure out what to put in a second or third pass,” he says. “But we still have a lot to learn.”

Ben Price

On his family farm, northwest Missouri, Ben Price & his family grow high-yield corn, & regularly study practices to help provide additional profit on their conventional commodity corn fields.

SNPartners is glad to serve Ben and Randy Price at our Chillicothe dealership. Thank you for using us a trusted partner in your farming operation.