SHULLSBURG, Wis. – Producing a corn yield of 322 bushels per acre, grain farmer Tim Appell of Shullsburg won awards in the 2019 National Corn Growers Association Yield Contest. He took second place nationally in the conventional non-irrigated category. His yield ranked first place in the same category in Wisconsin.

Jennie Pete verified Appell’s yield. She has verified yields for about 10 years in southwestern Wisconsin for the National Corn Growers annual contest. Pete is an agribusiness-lending officer and crop-insurance specialist for Mound City Bank.

Appell said he was happy to win the contest. Producing that winning yield on land his grandparents had owned was icing on the cake. His grandparents – Earl and Lois Roper – are deceased, but had shared their farming experience with Appell when he was young. He had worked part-time on their farm. And 15 years ago he and his wife, Wendy Appell, purchased that farm.

“Tim’s grandfather and my dad were friends, and Earl always had that piece of ground in a test plot,” said Pat Herbst, a certified crop specialist for Insight FS, a division of Growmark.

Herbst and Jason Potter, in crop sales for Insight FS, provide crop-input recommendations to Appell. They recommended Appell plant DKC64-34RIB on his contest acres. He planted April 23 the 114-day DeKalb hybrid blend, harvesting it in late November.

“It’s a full-season hybrid that has done well in this area in the past,” Herbst said.

Appell planted the hybrid at a seeding rate to attain a plant population of 38,000 plants per acre. He planted the hybrid on well-drained Tama soil.

“It’s a honey hole,” Herbst said of the field conditions.

The contest ground received ample amounts of fertilizer, he said; Acuron herbicide was applied in late May. Callisto Xtra herbicide and Trivapro fungicide were applied when corn was at the V-5 stage. The fungicide was applied again at tassel.

Appell attributes his success to the crop inputs as well as FieldView technology. It helps provide him with variable-rate-planting prescriptions. He planted the contest ground with a Kinze 3600 planter, harvested it with an 8230 Case combine and measured yield with a Brent grain cart.

Despite extremely wet weather in Wisconsin, Appell’s area had good growing conditions.

“We dodged the bullet,” Pete said of the area around Shullsburg.

But Appell said the growing-degree days weren’t where he had hoped. And fall harvest was delayed until December in some fields because of wet weather.

The Appells currently farm about 1,600 acres. They plant four other DeKalb hybrids on those acres, averaging about 240 bushels per acre. Appell has generally planted a corn-soybean rotation but said he’s moving more toward corn-on-corn.

The 2019 yield winner already is making plans for the 2020 contest. Which hybrid? To be determined, he said.

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