400 bu/a Corn So Close, Yet So Far


NC State Extension corn specialist, Dr. Ron Heiniger was all but certain going into harvest that North Carolina’s first 400 bu/a corn yield was out there this year, but he says it was not to be:

“We’re drawing to a close the opportunity here to record corn yields for 2017.  And, of course, the last day comes with a lot of big, thick packages of field entries, its human nature that everyone waits for the last moment.

“This was a year when we had a lot of anticipation, particularly when we saw how nice the corn looked in early June and even into the late summer, and we had a lot of growers smacking their lips hoping their combines would record a big yield.  And we certainly had some big yields, we’re certainly in some yields in the high 300’s, which is a sight to see. 

“But, of course, we always had our sights set on that 400 bu/a that would draw a check from the commissioner, and sort of give us some satisfaction that we’d set another milestone.  And I hate to tell you it sure doesn’t look like it’s happened this year.

“I probably am as disappointed as anybody, because I’m an optimist in my nature, and so when I see good looking corn, and I see how good the growers are doing, things they’re accomplishing, I just naturally feel we’re going to make that thing happen.  And I certainly don’t want to take away from anything, this was an excellent year.  I’m anticipating a record average yield for this year.  We’ve had growers in many regions, Coastal Plain, and southern Piedmont to talk about yields that they just haven’t seen before.  We’ve certainly knocked on the door, we just stumbled short of the finish line, I’m afraid, as far as hitting that 400 bu/a.”

You had a couple of growers that were so close, that if you’d just thrown a couple of extra cobs in the field, they’d have gone over.

“That’s exactly right.  That makes it even more frustrating, when you’re so close, you want to just lean against the scale a little bit, it would have been a big difference.  Of course, some of these are national contest entries, where you have to take three separate checks, and there were some places where that that corn fed over 400 bu/a, but when you have to have three separate checks and you’re covering three acres, it makes it harder to get over that hump.  So, you can see how close we are, you’d think you could just wish it and that number would appear, we just didn’t quite make it.”

We’ll be hearing further from Dr. Ron Heiniger next week on the agronomics of the season here on Today’s Topic.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.