At the 2020 Sorghum Yield Contest Gala, National Sorghum Producers congratulated national winners in each of the Sorghum Yield Contest divisions.
With 60 inches of rain in New Jersey during planting, growing and harvesting seasons, Dryland-No Till East winner Chris Santini found just the right time to put her seed in the ground. Santini said a culmination of ideal soil conditions, effective fertilizer application and the opportunity to plant allowed her to grow a crop yielding nearly 207 bushels per acre.
“[I get satisfaction] in knowing that we can compete with other proud farmers,” Santini said, reflecting on what it means to be a sorghum yield contest winner.
Dryland-No Till West winner and past Hall of Fame inductee Ki Gamble is a sorghum farmer from Greensburg, Kansas, and has always been a heavy hitter in the NSP Yield Contest—this year was no exception. Gamble contributes a timely plant date, a sugarcane aphid-free growing season and minimal weed pressure to his 195-bushel harvest.
“It means a lot to have recognition in the industry we work so hard for,” Gamble said.
Although sorghum was difficult to get planted in the 2019 growing season, regular moisture helped Dryland-Tillage East and 2019 Bin Buster winner Santino Santini grow a fantastic sorghum crop yielding almost 213 bushels per acre. With lower commodity prices than typical, Santini said his operation is careful to use only what is necessary to produce an effective crop. The New Jersey farmer is no stranger to growing the nation’s top yields and is proud to continue that legacy.
“It’s nice to know that a farmer from New Jersey can compete with farmers across the United States,” Santini said.
Ronald Glissendorf earned the national title in Dryland-Tillage West after going through one of the “most difficult and interesting years” he can remember. Glissendorf said he could not remember a time he had experienced excess moisture from start to finish but still managed to produce an impressive yield of 172 bushels per acre thanks to smart management decisions and a little luck.
“It gives me confidence that I might be doing a few things right and that Mother Nature was good to me,” Glissendorf said.
New England farmer Robert Santini won the Irrigated-No Till East category with a yield of 206 bushels per acre. While excess rainfall and planting difficulties impacted Santini’s operation, he was able to produce a competitive crop.
Santini’s operation, River Hollow Farms, is not the only Santini operation to make it into this year’s top placings. He is joined by Chris, Santino and Michelle Santini who each won their respective categories.
Irrigated-No Till West winner Nathan Miller said the 2019 growing season was extremely difficult due to several forced re-plants, excess moisture and hot spells in July. Despite the challenges facing Miller, his sorghum plot still produced a 160 bushel yield thanks to effective fertilizer application and irrigation technologies.
“Extremely humbling,” Miller said, reflecting on his recent win in NSP’s Yield Contest. “I enjoy learning and always try to eliminate yield limiting factors.”
Sanduff Farm’s Michelle Santini won the Irrigated Tillage East category. Rainfall in the northeastern parts of the country coupled with sound management practices helped push Santini’s yield to nearly 200 bushels per acre.
Santini is surrounded by family members who push one another to be competitive in the sorghum yield contest. She is one of four Santinis recognized as national winners in the 2019 NSP Yield Contest.
Kimberly Gamble, Irrigated-Tillage West winner, reports a successful year for the Kansas farm despite excess moisture and a summer dry spell. Gamble said she did the best she could with the hand she was dealt and harvested almost 205 bushels per acre.
“We can’t control the weather or the markets,” Gamble said. “We just maximize how we work with our circumstances.”
Kimberly and her husband had top yields in 2019, and she credits this accomplishment to her family’s competitive nature and motivation to be the best they can be.
Visit SorghumGrowers.com/yield-contest for all winners and rule changes.
This story originally appeared in the Spring 2020 Issue of Sorghum Grower magazine in the features department.