Corn Yield Delivers Champion Season For Wisconsin Father, Son

Steigers topped all producers in Badger State with 278.9 bushels per acre in National Corn Growers Contest.

Published on: Apr 25, 2013

By Harlen Persinger

When it comes to bin busting yields, consistency, excellent hybrid genetics and a timely scouting program form the backbone of success at Oak Valley Farms. A snapshot of last season's yields, speak for themselves.

In 2012, Eugene Steiger and his son, Paul, topped all producers across the Badger State, with 278.9 bushels per acre in the strip till non-irrigated category of the National Corn Growers Contest. That total followed a yield of 297.6 bushels per acre the previous year.

"That was no easy feat considering there was only 15 inches of moisture, we had some lengthy stretches without rain and high temperatures wilted corn plants," says Eugene, who farms near Bloomington. 

Eugene Steiger and his son, Paul, farm near Bloomington in Grant County
Eugene Steiger and his son, Paul, farm near Bloomington in Grant County

Besides 560 acres of corn, the Steigers raise soybeans and hay on their 960 acres. During the past five years they have averaged 201 bushels of corn per acre on conventional and no-till ground.

Fertility pays dividends
The father and son team rely on soil testing and grid mapping when applying N, P, K and certain micronutrients. Normal rates per acre are 500 lbs of 46-0-0, 200 lbs of 0-0-61 with urea, 200 lbs of

18-46-0 with area, 200 lbs of 21-01-0-24S with urea and 3 lbs/ton of Agrotain DC with urea. They shoot for yields of 300 bushels per acre.

"We deep chisel in the fall, run duals on all the equipment and always stay off the fields when it's too wet," Eugene notes. "Our optimum planting date is between April 18 and 25."

Precision planting e sets and a 20-20 monitor were used on the contest entry, which measured 15 to 20 acres. Their hybrid of choice was DKC 5750 YGVT3 treated with Acceleron. Kernels were dropped at 42,000 plants per acre in 30-inch rows with a John Deere 1760 Conservation MaxEmerge II planter. The average final stand at harvest was 41,000 plants per acre.

Every decision that you make influences the size and scope for corn yields. From the corn hybrid you select to the seeding rate and row width you choose. Download our FREE report over Maximizing Your Corn Yield.

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Monitoring makes the difference
Making sure that young plants are healthy is also paramount to achieve optimum yields. At planting, various nutrients are applied in the starter program. Acre amounts include: 8 gallons of 9-18-8-5S liquid starter, 15 quarts of 10% zinc, 4 ounces of Ascent, 4 ounces of Capture LFR and 1 gallon of Humitech 6.

To control weeds like foxtail, velvetleaf and giant ragweed, they rely on a pre-emerge application of 2 pints of Harness and 3 ounces of Hornet per acre.

"As plants mature, it's imperative to check the crop two or three times each week," Eugene says. "Walking and eyeballing fields helps determine when to schedule foliar feeding."

Relying on results of tissue samples taken at the V5 to V7 growth stage, they put on 4 ounces of Ascend, 6 ounces of Headline and 1 quart of Max IN ZMB per acre. Their fungicide treatment included 1 quart of Class Act NG and 4 ounces of Interlock per acre.

Crunching the numbers
Another tactic to bump up yields is an aerial application of 6 ounces of Headline plus another quart of Max IN ZMB and 4 ounces of Powerlock per acre when plants reached VT to R1 maturity.

When figuring total input charges for their plot, the Grant County farmers calculated the cost per bushel was $3.94 for 2012 and $3.72 the previous year. Higher corn prices the past two seasons helped ring up a tidy profit.

"Entering the contest allows us to not only compare our yields with other growers across the state and nation but provides an opportunity of looking at new technologies and the latest hybrid research," Eugene adds. "Plus, striving to add more kernels in the bin is a worthy challenge."

Every decision that you make influences the size and scope for corn yields. From the corn hybrid you select to the seeding rate and row width you choose. Download our FREE report over Maximizing Your Corn Yield.