U.S. farmers not only planted and harvested a large crop successfully in 2020, but they also rolled out some impressive yields in the National Corn Growers Association’s National Corn Yield Contest despite weather challenges, wildfires and a pandemic.

Don Stall of Charlotte, Michigan, produced the highest yield in the contest - 476.9 bushels per acre. This marked the 56th year for the contest and NCGA’s most popular member program.

Two Illinois farmers placed third in the contest. Troy Uphoff of Findlay placed third in the conventional nonirrigated category with 323.8 bushels per acre. He won the Illinois contest in the same category.

Dan Luepkes of Chana placed third nationally in the no-till irrigated category with 310.5 bushels per acre, securing him first place in the Illinois contest.

The 27 national winners in nine production categories had verified yields averaging more than 345.99 bushels per acre, compared to the projected national average of 175 bushels per acre nationwide.

Winners receive national recognition in publications such as the NCYC Corn Yield Guide, as well as trips or other awards from participating sponsoring seed, chemical and crop protection companies. Winners are traditionally honored in March during Commodity Classic. With the convention moving to a virtual format in 2021, NCGA is working with sponsors to find an alternative means to recognize the accomplishments of yield contest winners.

Illinois winners included Melissa Yocum of Oregon, no-till nonirrigated with 307.3 bushels per acre and strip-till/minimum till irrigated with 299.5 bushels per acre; Braden Lee Short of Norris City, strip-till/minimum till nonirrigated, 321.7 bushels per acre; and Phillip Friedrich of Green Valley, conventional irrigated, 306.1 bushels per acre.