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David Hula harvested the highest yield ever recorded in the national corn yield contest. The Charles City, Va., grower turned in a yield of 532 bushels per acre in the 2015 National Corn Growers Association contest.
Randy Dowdy had the top yield in the 2016 contest with 521 bushels per acre on his Valdosta, Ga., farm. Both Dowdy and Hula entered these top yields in the no-till/strip-till irrigated category. They and other family members have been consistent yield contest winners for a number of years.
So why do these two growers rely on no-till to win yield contests? Why aren’t growers using extensive tillage also setting yield records?
That’s a question we asked several crop educators and suppliers. Here’s what they had to say.
Long-term no-tillers have a major advantage since they farm healthier soils that have been improved over the years with no-till. By following the best possible management practices, the healthier no-till soils tend to turn out the highest yields.
These no-tillers rely on irrigation to overcome moisture shortages throughout the growing season. They recognize how no-till residue reduces evaporation and keeps the soil moist. They understand how increased biological activity in the soil starts with eliminating tillage and leads to more efficient use of nutrients throughout the growing season.
These high-yield no-tillers understand the soil and production capabilities of corn and why tillage limits yield. They stay on top of full-season fertility needs through constant soil, stalk and leaf analysis.