December 13, 2012

Awards handed out for Innovative Corn Youth Challenge; challenge open for 2013

Ten teams across Nebraska signed up for the inaugural Innovative Corn Youth Challenge in 2012, with six completing the project proposal and five completing the program.

The challenge was implemented by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension with financial support from the Nebraska Corn Board. It is designed to encourage young people to pursue an agricultural career and return to rural Nebraska. (For more on the challenge, click here.)

Each team received $50 for their efforts and a copy of the Hybrid Maize CD, a computer program that simulates the growth of a corn crop under non-limiting or water-limited (rainfed or irrigated) conditions based on daily weather data.

The five teams completing the challenge and awards presented to them earlier this month include:
  • Elizabeth Blaser and Reid Fullner, members from the Wranglers 4-H Club in Platte County, with sponsor Alex Labenz, received first place and $1,000 in the Corn Production Challenge.
  • Kaylyn Kucera, Sidney Kucera, and Andy Zessin, members of the Pioneers 4-H Club from Madison, with their sponsor Regan Kucera, received second place and $500 in the Corn Production Challenge.
  • Spencer Beller and Lynn Slama, members from the Humphrey FFA, and adviser Robyn Graham, received third place and a $250 award in the Corn Production Challenge.
  • Rob Buhl and Bennett Nelson of Osceola, members from the Super Strong 4-H Club of Polk County, and adviser Tim Pallas, received the Innovation Award.
  • Austin Tatro and Trevor BirkyMembers from the Strang 4-Bar-H Club from Fillmore County, with Brandy VanDeWalle as sponsor, received the Data Completion Award and $200 for excellent record-keeping.

(Scroll down for details on teach team’s project.)

A second Innovative Youth Corn Challenge is planned for 2013 with the addition of another award. The limited resources award will be given to the team that achieved the highest yield per inch of water.

Entry forms to participate in this program are available at and are due March 1, 2013. For more information, contact Brandy VanDeWalle at or (402)759-3712.
Those attending the Innovative Youth Corn Challenge Banquet held Dec. 5 at
UNL’s East Campus were: Dennis Gengenbach, Nebraska Corn Board,
Austin Tatro, Sidney Kucera, Elizabeth Blaser, Reid Fullner, Rob Buhl
and Alan Tiemann, Nebraska Corn Board Past Chair.

Participants and their sponsors:
Super Strong H’s from Osceola consisted of Rob Buhl and Bennett Nelson with Tim Pallas as their supervisor. This team focused on planting populations in dryland conditions with populations at 26K and 30K. Yields of 49.05 bushels/acre with 30K and 52.65 bushels with the 26K respectively. This team did well on explaining the importance of increased yield to feed our growing population and also explained the important role of drought tolerant hybrid technology.

Humphrey FFA members Spencer Beller and Lynn Slama tested strip till with a starter and nitrogen in the furrow vs. a perplant application of starter and nitrogen 15” from the row. They exceled with crop scouting records and their rainfall report. Their challenge plot yield was 217.5 bushels. Their project sponsor was Robyn Graham, FFA advisor.

The Wranglers 4-H Club from Platte County tested the use of a foliar fungicide to early-stage corn (V5) to help corn reach its yield potential by protecting the corn plant from early-season diseases. Their challenge plot using Headline was 250 bushels and without was 254.8 bushels. Detailed crop scouting reports were completed with production information and a very complete budget. Their sponsor was Alex Labenz.

Strang 4-Bar-H Club in Fillmore County members Austin Tatro and Trevor Birky tested planting populations. On irrigated ground they tested 34K and 30K per acre compared to a check plot of 32K seeds per acre. Their economic analysis was complete and showed the difference in costs between treatments. Planting population at 30K yielded 223 bushels, while 34K yielded 216 bushels and their check was 226 bushels/acre. Project sponsor was Brandy VanDeWalle.

The Pioneers 4-H Club from Madison County consisted of Kaylyn Kucera, Sidney Kucera, and Andy Zessin. They tested a higher population (30 vs. 38K), increased nitrogen rate (200 vs. 250# N) and a biological growth enhancer. Their challenge plot yielded 249.1 bushels while their check yielded 237.5 bushels. In addition to great production records, they documented visual differences in their report. Regan Kucera was their sponsor.

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