Herring yield contest hopes alive after tough 2012

By Matt Reese

Last year, Jim and Phil Herring were first and second in Ohio, respectively, and second and third in the nation in the “AA Non-Irrigated Class” of the National Corn Growers 2011 Corn Yield Contest. Jim’s contest entry with DEKALB 113-day DKC63-84 finished at 305.7750 bushels and Phil’s 110-day Shur Grow SG-720 produced 291.7814 bushels.

Herring Farms has been in the family since the late 1840s and has long been an ideal site for growing corn.

Last year, Jim (front) and Phil Herring of Wyandot County were first and second in Ohio, respectively, and second and third in the nation in the “AA Non-Irrigated Class” of the National Corn Growers 2011 Corn Yield Contest. They are standing at the site of Jim’s state-winning plot. Their father Dave in the background won a yield contest on the same farm in 1952.

“People drive down our road to look at the corn every year,” Phil said. “It’s on good river bottom ground with a gravel base that we can always plant early, so this corn usually looks really good.”

Even with the extremely hot and dry year on the farm and throughout the state, the Herring yield contest plots were still looking pretty good in 2012. The brothers thought the river bottom ground could still produce respectable yields in spite of the tough conditions, but their combine yield monitor was still an unbelievable surprise this fall.

“We ran our National Corn Growers Association contest corn and 289.67 bushels and 282.51 are the two numbers I posted. The plots ranged from 240 to 290 dry, they were over 300 bushels wet. Those were weighed, measured and certified by the NCGA. It was definitely accurate. If someone told me 180 bushels a month ago I would have believed them, but not 100 bushels more than that,” Jim said. “I told my crop insurance adjuster that yield and he said, ‘You mean last year?’ I said, ‘Nope. This year.’ He said, ‘What!?’”

And, while both brothers are thrilled with the yields, Jim’s plots still topped Phil’s plots, even though they switched locations from last year.

“Phil had a plot too and I did beat him again. He picked the number I won with last year. I took a different one this year,” Jim said. “He had a 282 bushels. We couldn’t quite get in the 290s, but that’s pretty good corn.”

All of the top yielding plots were Dekalb hybrids planted in mid-April. The top yielding plot was planted on April 16. Overall, the corn yields on the farm are down significantly from last year following the tough growing season.

“We didn’t get very much rain at all. I can’t imagine what this would have done with some rain,” Jim said. “There are some surprising yields out there, but inconsistent is the word for the corn. It is all over the board. Even on every round we’re seeing numbers from one end to the other. The averages on corn are certainly down compared to beans. I took my worst field off and it was 100 bushels. Some of the better fields have averaged 180.”

Only time will tell how the Herring’s nearly 290-bushel corn will stack up in the NCGA Yield Contest this year after the worst drought in a half century ravaged the country, but it seems that the rich river bottom field from Wyandot County has a fighting chance of once again gracing the national stage.


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