ST. LOUIS — Improved seed varieties, advanced production techniques and innovative growing practices helped corn growers achieve ever-higher yields in the National Corn Growers Association 2016 National Corn Yield Contest. Additionally, a record five national entries surpassed the 400-plus bushel per acre mark.

The contest is now in its 52nd year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members. Participation in the contest remained strong in 2016, with 7,972 entries received.

“The contest provides farmers more than just an opportunity for friendly competition; it generates data that impacts future production practices across the industry,” said Brent Hostetler, chair of NCGA’s Stewardship Action Team. “The techniques first developed by contest winners grow into far-reaching advances, helping farmers across the country excel in a variety of situations. Our contest emphasizes innovation both from growers and technology providers, thus enabling us to meet the growing demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber.”

The 18 winners in six production categories had verified yields averaging more than 375 bushels per acre, compared to the projected national average of 175.3 bushels per acre in 2016. While there is no overall contest winner, yields from first-, second-and third-place farmers, overall production categories topped out at 521.3968.

“So many corn farmers initially join the National Corn Growers Association for the chance to participate in the National Corn Yield Contest,” said Paul Taylor, chair of NCGA’s Engaging Members Committee. “Yet, as they become more familiar with the breadth of activities NCGA carries out on the behalf of farmers, these members become increasingly involved and supportive. Just as the contest promotes the on-farm techniques developed by many single growers to benefit all corn farmers, NCGA’s grassroots efforts join the single voices of members together to create positive change and real opportunities for our industry.”

Winners receive national recognition in publications such as the NCYC Corn Yield Guide, as well as cash trips or other awards from participating sponsoring seed, chemical and crop protection companies.

First-place regional winners as follows:

National Winners

A Non-Irrigated

Heath Cuttrell, Chesapeake, Va.

State Winners

A. Non-Irrigated

Dan Logue, Woodbury, Conn.

Jonathan Snow, Smyrna, Del.

Brian Llewelyn, Northfield, Mass.

Drew Haines, Middletown, Md.

James Hilton, Norridgewock, Maine

William Llewelyn, Northfield, N.H.

Pat Giberson, Pemberton, N.J.

Henry Everman, Dansville, N.Y.

Richard Alger, Lebanon, Pa.

Heath Cutrell, Chesapeake, Va.

Theodore Grembowicz, North Clarendon, Vt.

Chris Miltenberger, Keyser, W.Va.

AA Non-Irrigated

Aaron Stuckey, Archbold, Ohio

A No-Till/Strip-Till Non-Irrigated

Jessica Snow, Smyrna, Del.

Wanda Llewelyn, Northfield, Mass.

Drew Haines, Middletown, Md.

James Hilton, Norridgewock, Maine

Mary E. Llewelyn, Northfield, N.H.

Matt Santini, Phillipsburg, N.J.

Matt Kludt, Kendall, N.Y.

David Wolfskill, Wernersville, Pa.

Dan King, Vernon, Vt.

Jill Justice, Daniels, W.Va.

AA No-Till/Strip-Till Non-Irrigated

Doug Swaim, Cedarville, Ohio

No-Till/Till Irrigated

Robert Garey, Felton, Del.

Sarah Henry, Southampton, Mass.

Bruce Bartz, Denton, Md.

Dominick Santini, Phillipsburg, N.J.

Matthew Funderburgh, North Lewisburg, Ohio

Rhoda Mast, Morgantown, Pa.

David Hula, Charles City, Va.

Chris Stiles, Berryville, W.Va.

Irrigated

Randall Willin Jr., Seaford, Del.

William Llewelyn, Northfield, Mass.

Randall Willin Jr., Seaford, Md.

Frederick Llewelyn, Northfield, N.H.

Garrett Woolf, Monroe Township, N.J.

Charles Campbell, Nichols, N.Y.

Byron Gearhart, Chillicothe, Ohio

Doug Scipioni, Newmanstown, Pa.

Brett Wightman, Edinburg, Va.

Jeff Grembowicz, North Clarendon, Vt.

Visit the National Corn Growers Association’s website at www.ncga.com for the complete list of national and state winners.