Keeping It in the Family — A Colfax County IYCC Team

Keeping It in the Family — A Colfax County IYCC Team January 26, 2018

2018 IYCC Winners

See who won and learn more about the Innovative Youth Corn Challenge (IYCC) in this article.

The Innovative Youth Corn Challenge offers youth a chance to test a new production practice in the field under real world conditions, such as untimely spring rains in 2017. The Lost Creek 4-H Club from Colfax County, consisting of brothers Logan, Gavin, and Rylan Nelson and father Steve Nelson (sponsor), tested and compared yield effects of using automatic down pressure against other pressure settings.

The rains meant their plot was planted later than they had hoped and planted into wetter conditions than they would have liked to beat forecasted rain that didn’t occur.  

Nelson, a precision planting dealer, said he was working with a customer interested in doing a test plot, which meshed well with the boys’ interest in participating in the Innovative Youth Corn Challenge.

The three brothers shared and traded responsibilities so all had a hand in planting, evaluating emergence, taking stand counts, digging root samples, and examining ear development. Their father/sponsor’s job: helping them understand what they were doing and ensuring they got to the field when they needed to amid busy summer activity schedules.

In addition to learning about crop growth and development, the team learned about shared responsibilities. When it was time to plant, Gavin and Rylan had a conflicting baseball game so Logan stayed back to help. Later, when Logan had a conflict due to his summer job, Gavin and Rylan dug roots.

“A little give and take went a long way here,” noted his dad. 

In the end, the yields were not what they had hoped, Nelson said, likely due to planting in wet conditions and the seed slice never fully closing, causing the seed trench to dry out and corn emergence to be delayed. That’s one of the lessons learned: Let the field dry out enough to provide good planting conditions.

“I would recommend this contest to other kids as it is a great way to get into the field and learn,” Nelson said. “Plus there are some cash prizes that make it worthwhile as well.”

The Lost Creek 4-H Club team from Colfax County came in third, earning them a $250 prize.

The Nelsons learned about the contest when Logan competed in the Nebraska Extension Crop Scouting Contest, where his Colfax County 4-H team won first place. For information on either the Innovative Youth Corn Challenge or the Crop Scouting Contest, visit the Youth section of CropWatch.