• Apr 11, 2017

National Corn Yield Winners Share Secrets to Their Success

Corn leaves
Farmers in New Mexico and Ohio were among those taking top honors in this year’s National Corn Growers Association yield contest using CROPLAN® seed.
  • Kent Gordon achieved 283.01 bushels per acre with CROPLAN® 7087VT2P/RIB (first place in New Mexico).
  • Doug Swaim and Chris Waymire topped out at 265.17 bushels per acre with CROPLAN® 6110SS/RIB (tied for second place in Ohio).
We’re proud that CROPLAN® seed continues to deliver great performance and offer exceptional yield potential to growers across the country. We talked with Gordon and Swaim about what they did to achieve those yields. The simple answer: by sticking to their game plan and not getting too fancy. Here are some of their tips for award-winning management.
Kent Gordon – New Mexico
The soil on Gordon’s farm ranges from sandy to rocky, with the latter containing caliche — a rock commonly found in the Southwest. “We have maybe 3 or 4 inches of soil above the caliche rock,” he says. “The CROPLAN® seed held a good yield throughout these soil types.”

Fertigated acres
?Gordon’s farm is 100 percent irrigated, and he uses fertigation. “Eighty percent of our nitrogen goes on through the pivot, and we believe that makes a big difference,” he says. “Once we plant, we don’t go into the field with another piece of equipment.”

Pre-plant prep
Gordon applies fertilizer before planting with either a strip-till or injection rig. Then, starter fertilizer and Ascend® plant growth regulator are placed in-furrow at planting. “Every acre our planter goes over gets in-furrow Ascend® PGR,” says Gordon.  

Targeted nitrogen, fungicide
Starting at V4 or V5, Gordon starts spoon-feeding nitrogen to the corn crop. “We start our pumps off pretty slowly, determine how much nitrogen the plant is using, and only give what it needs,” he says. “We’ll run our fertilizer pumps until tassel, then give another shot of nitrogen at brown silk.”
A fungicide is also applied just after VT at silking on all corn acres. “We believe in putting fungicides down,” says Gordon, “and we see a return.” Any nutrient deficiencies detected through scouting or tissue sampling are also promptly addressed.
Doug Swaim and Chris Waymire – Ohio
Swaim trusts his agronomist to help choose the right seed for the acres he farms with Waymire. “I put a lot of faith in my agronomist, her knowledge and what she sees coming,” says Swaim.

For the last several years, Swaim has spread nitrogen applications out over the season and uses different products. “We’ll go down with a pre-plant ammonia early when we can,” he says. “Then we’ll put down a liquid fertilizer with the planter. Anywhere from V6 to V10 we’ll do a urea application. We’re always trying to feed nitrogen at those critical stages.”

Swaim and his agronomist take advantage of R7® Tool technology and “use variable-rate technology to be very targeted with crop input applications,” he says. “We know the location of those acres that bring better yield potential, and we apply inputs accordingly.”

Crop protection
Swaim usually applies fungicide at V5 and most always at tassel “depending on where we see disease early in the plant. There are times we do split fungicide applications at V5 and at tassel. And we always use insecticide in the row with our corn.”

Swaim raises hogs, which provides added value to his corn and soybean crops. “Manure is a huge benefit for building organic matter, phosphate levels and nitrogen sources,” he says.
“We treat every acre pretty much the same based on soil type and yield potential. Every acre is important.”

Congratulations to our CROPLAN® seed winners! To find out more about how you can optimize the yield potential of your corn crop this season, talk with your local agronomist.

* Because of factors outside of Winfield Solutions' control, such as weather, applicator factors, etc., results to be obtained, including but not limited to yields, financial performance, or profits, cannot be predicted or guaranteed by Winfield Solutions. Actual results may vary.