The National Corn Growers Association says the number of entries in its National Corn Yield Contest is another example of a potential record-breaking 2007 corn crop in the making.

With forms still being tabulated, more than 4,700 entries have been submitted by the Aug. 1 deadline. That shatters the previous record of 3,676 contestants in 1996, according to the NCGA.

“It's exciting to see there's that much interest,” said NCGA President Ken McCauley. Preliminary results show a large jump in the number of contestants in both Southern and Midwestern states, as well a sizable increase in the number of first-time entrants.

While it is too early to predict final yields, McCauley sees the record number of entries as a sign of grower confidence in this year's crop. “I wouldn't be surprised to see yields through the barriers we've had before,” he predicted. “That could play into our national yield (average).”

The next step will be for contestants to have yields for their contest plots witnessed by contest supervisors. Results will be announced in mid-December. Contest winners will be honored at the 2008 Commodity Classic, Feb. 28-March 1 in Nashville, Tenn.

A former contestant himself, McCauley believes that most growers do not set out to achieve a championship yield, but instead decide to enter the NCYC after they have evaluated the progress of their corn crop.

“When you get out there and look, and count the stalks, to see you've got a good stand with high fertility — all of the sudden you want to enter (the contest),” McCauley said. “That's what this is all about.”