Monday, October 16, 2017

Corn yields of Wisconsin's Top Producers

Every day that passes without a killing frost means more and more cornfields in Wisconsin will mature normally. The extended fall during 2017 should improve grain yield and more importantly reduce grain moisture. We have just begun to harvest the UW Corn Performance Trials and so far, grain yields at Galesville and Chippewa Falls averaged 239 and 226 bu/A. Grain moisture at Galesville averaged 25.6% and 30.7% for the early- and late-maturity trials. At Chippewa Falls, grain moisture averaged 22.7% and 26.4%. Many hybrids yielded above 250 bu/A.

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.