Put another crown on David Hula. The Charles City, Virginia, farmer pushed King Corn to 616.20 bushels per acre (bpa) for another world record in the 2019 National Corn Growers Association's National Corn Yield Contest. It is Hula's fourth corn yield world record.
The contest produced 27 national winners in nine separate production categories. Bridget Dowdy, of Valdosta, Georgia, produced the second-highest yield with an irrigated 552.97 bpa. Craig Hula, of Charles City, Virginia, landed the third-highest yield with 545.80 bpa under irrigated conditions. Drew Haines of Middletown, Maryland, topped the non-irrigated entries at 422.35 bpa.
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Despite many growing challenges in 2019, the national contest winning yields averaged more than 383 bpa. The average national corn yield has hovered around 170 bpa in recent years.
"Unlike the rest of the country, we did not have a weather disaster this year," Hula says of his region in eastern Virginia. "The springtime could not have been more ideal."
Aided by plentiful rains and warmth, Hula's winning irrigated field was planted with Pioneer hybrid P1197YHR at 52,000 plants per acre and came up uniformly and rapidly, he recalls. He grid-samples for soil nutrient levels and conducts weekly tissue samples. Hula follows a similar protocol in noncontest fields.
Farming within the Chesapeake Bay region, Hula faces strict nutrient-management rules. "We're not just dumping excess fertilizer," he says. "I am return-on-investment driven. I will give a corn crop a luxury feed, but only if it will respond. So, we focus on when you can influence the crop the most."
For example, research and experimentation have shown there is a key window to influence ear girth at the V4 growth stage, so he targets one fertilizer application then.
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