Wheat Contest Changes

Wheat Yield Contest Announces New Rankings for 2019

Emily Unglesbee
By  Emily Unglesbee , DTN Staff Reporter
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The National Wheat Foundation has announced new rankings for its 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest. (DTN photo graphic)

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) -- Thinking of adopting some New Year's resolutions?

The National Wheat Yield Contest beat you to it.

The National Wheat Foundation has announced a new set of rankings for its 2019 contest, which organizers hope will better reflect U.S. wheat acreage and growers' yield accomplishments.


For the past three years, the contest has recognized an overall high yield winner. But the winners of the contest's four categories -- dryland and irrigated winter wheat and dryland and irrigated spring wheat -- were determined by the percentage growers yielded above their five-year county average, not raw yield.

As contest organizers had hoped, these national rankings gave growers from lower-yielding regions a chance to shine, said Steve Joehl, director of research and technology for NWF.

But there was a flip side.

The rankings discouraged growers from regions with high county average yields, where it was much harder to place in the contest. "As a result, the National Wheat Yield Contest gets a lot more participation in Kansas than we do in Michigan, or Kentucky or Illinois, for that matter," Joehl said.

The old system also produced some peculiar rankings. For example, in 2018, two growers who nearly matched the contest's record-breaking High Yield entry of 202.53 bushels per acre only ranked third in their categories, because their percentage above the county average wasn't very high.


To address these issues, the National Wheat Foundation has unveiled a new organization for the contest's awards and rankings in 2019.

To start, each category of wheat will have two tiers of winners. One will be based on high yield alone. The other will continue to reward growers for percentages above the county average.

Each tier will have a different number of winners, too, to reflect actual wheat acreage in the U.S., Joehl said. For example, dryland winter wheat, which accounted for 56% of the 2018 entries, will award 1st through 5th place in 2019. But irrigated spring wheat, which only accounted for 5% of the 2018 entries, will only have a single 1st place award in 2019.

2019 National Wheat Yield Contest Award Categories

Category % Above 5-Year County Avg. High Yield
Winter Wheat Dryland 1st -- 5th 1st - 5th
Winter Wheat Irrigated 1st 1st
Spring Wheat Dryland 1st -- 3rd 1st -- 3rd
Spring Wheat Irrigated 1st 1st
Overall High Yield 1st


The quality component of the wheat yield contest, first introduced in 2018, will remain the same, contest organizers confirmed.

In order to be considered for a national or state award in the contest, growers must follow up each initial contest entry with a grain sample, which will be analyzed by an independent lab. Entries must be Grade 1 or 2 to qualify.

The 2019 contest is already open and accepting entries. Winter wheat entries must be entered by May 15 and spring wheat entries by Aug. 1.

See more details on the 2019 contest and its requirements here:


Read about the winners of the 2018 contest here:


Emily Unglesbee can be reached at Emily.unglesbee@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter @Emily_Unglesbee


Emily Unglesbee