Corn grain yield progress continues. Nationally the two highest yielding years were 2015 and 2016 at 171.8 and 174.6 bu/A. U.S. farmers have added about 1.7 bu/A per year since 1996. Likewise, the two highest yielding years in Wisconsin were 2015 and 2016 at 164 and 178 bu/A. A similar grain yield rate increase of 1.7 bu/A per year is seen for Wisconsin since 1996.
Grain yields of the top-producers in Wisconsin are nearly double the state average. The highest recorded grain yields in the National Corn Growers Association Yield Contest range from 278 bu/A for the No Till/Strip Till Irrigated category to 327 bu /A for the Irrigated category (Table 1). The top-producers in Wisconsin have been adding 3.0 to 4.2 bu/A per year (Figure 1).
Figure 1 shows the relative progress between rain-fed and irrigated corn production systems in Wisconsin. There is little difference between systems for maximum yield. The rate of yield increase is slower for irrigated (3.0 to 3.6 bu/A per year) than for rain-fed systems (4.0 to 4.2 bu/A per year). In most years, rain-fed systems have greater yields.
Table 1. Highest recorded yields by Wisconsin growers in the NCGA corn yield contest (1983-2016).
Figure 1. Corn yield progress (bu/A yr) of top producers in Wisconsin. Data derived from NCGA CYC categories 1983-2016.