David Hula was the top grower in the 2017 National Corn Yield Contest
By Diego Flammini
A grain producer from Charles City, Virginia continues to push the boundaries of what modern agriculture can accomplish.
David Hula’s yield of 542 bushels per acre at Renwood Farms was the highest entry in the National Corn Growers Association’s 2017 Corn Yield Contest.
And the yield breaks the Association’s top ranking – the 532-bushel record Hula set in 2015.
This year, Hula planted Pioneer’s P1197AM on his 6,000-acre no-till farm to achieve his record-breaking yield.
He was quick to give credit to the people and elements that contributed to his bumper crop.
“I learned to surround myself with good agronomists that help us get to this point,” he told Farms.com today. “We also farm some old river-bottom type ground so there’s no threat of flooding. When it comes to sunlight, we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature. And she gave it to us when we needed it.”
A wet start to the spring meant Hula was unable to plant until mid-May, about a month later than his usual planting window.
But he noted the importance of monitoring soil and planting conditions to ensure an even crop emergence.
“Everything always comes back to emergence and getting the crop up uniformly,” he said. “It’s something farmers have a little bit of control over, but they often overlook it.”
As far as next year’s competition is concerned, Hula’s goal is to try to duplicate the results. But he understands not every year can produce a crop like 2017.
“Yields of this magnitude are extremely difficult to achieve,” he said. “But as long as we can have a good crop in 2018, I’ll be happy.”
Hula’s family also won top spots in the competition.
David’s son, Craig, and brother, Johnny, placed second and third with corn yields of 529 and 504 bu/ac, respectively.
Beyond the entries from the Hula family, only two other producers in the contest had yields topping the 400 bu/ac mark.
The family’s impressive yields show that Virginia has a rich history in agriculture, said Ben Rowe, executive director of the Virginia Grain Producers Association.
“Not only is Virginia setting world yield records, but the farmers are doing it on farms that have been in production for between 300 and 400 years,” he told Farms.com today. “It’s a testament to the new seed varieties and production techniques, and it’s definitely something we’re proud of.”