TAPS Awards Banquet Culminates 2023 Competitions

Kenny Reinke
Kenny Reinke, right, along with his son, Tyler, left, received the Most Profitable Award in the 2023 TAPS Sprinkler Corn Competition.
January 24, 2024

Lincoln, Neb. —The Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) awards banquet held on Saturday, January 13, was the culmination event for the program’s seventh year of farm management competitions. The TAPS program was created by University of Nebraska educators and specialists, as an innovative way of connecting producers to industry professionals and offering a way of testing out new, advancing technologies through farm management competitions facilitated in North Platte, Neb., at the West Central Research, Extension, and Education Center.

Despite the winter weather, the event was a night of interaction and celebration of the 2023 competitions, which included popcorn, sorghum, subsurface drip irrigated (SDI) corn, and sprinkler irrigated corn. The participants in each competition made their own individual input decisions for their plots located in the same field as fellow competitors. These decisions differed for each competition including crop insurance, hybrid and seeding rate, nitrogen timing and amount, irrigation timing and amount, insecticide, fungicide, and, lastly, marketing of their crop.  

For the first time in the seven-year history of the program the competition fields located in North Platte were affected by hail, which ultimately resulted in changes to the remaining management decisions and the final results.

Awards were given in each competition for greatest grain yield, highest input use efficiency, and most profitable. These designations came with a cash prize, along with a plaque, oversized check, and personalized TAPS apparel item.

The sorghum contest, in its sixth year, included both a dryland and irrigated portion, which were relocated this year to the Henry J. Stumpf International Wheat Center near Grant, Neb. There were 18 teams that competed. The team that included Brandon Rimpley of Orleans, Neb, and Ron Robison of Alma, Neb., earned all three of the top honors for yield, efficiency, and profitability.  

The program’s newest competition, the irrigated popcorn competition had 13 teams compete. The winners in the popcorn competition included: Roger Lansman of Ord, Neb., for the Greatest Yield award; Nate Freitag of Byron, Neb., area took home the Highest Input Use Efficiency accolade; and AK Acres from Imperial, Neb., won the award for Most Profitable.

In the fifth year of the SDI corn competition, 16 teams competed. The award winners in the SDI corn competition included: Lorn Dizmang of Dizmang Ag in Moorefield, Neb., for the Greatest Yield award the Rattlesnake Boys from Wood River, Neb., took home the Highest Input Use Efficiency accolade; and Jamey Balthazor and Dan Fitts from Scottsbluff and Gering, Neb., won the award for Most Profitable. The Rattlesnake Boys team consisted of Kevin & Amy Harsch, Jay Johnson, and Jeremy Gewecke.

The seventh year of the sprinkler corn competition had 38 teams participate. The Greatest Grain Yield award was won by Tom Carpenter of Bartley, Neb. The Perkins Group team from the Grant, Neb., area earned the Highest Input Use Efficiency award. The team was made up of Brent Gloy, Bruce Young, Curt Richmond, Jeremy Hagan, Nick Turner, Pat McGreer, Shawn Turner, Ted Tietjen, and Troy Kemling. Kenny Reinke of Neligh, Neb., won the award for Most Profitable.

The last award presented was the Outstanding TAPS Advocate, which honors an organization, person, or business that went above and beyond in supporting the UNL-TAPS program. This year, the award recipient was Tracy Zink of Indianola, Nebr. Since the moment Zink heard about the TAPS program, she has not only chosen to participate, but also to share what she has learned, invite others to join the program and promoted TAPS across many avenues that she engages in across the state and nationally.

The full 2023 TAPS Competition Report can be found online at www.taps.unl.edu/reports.  

The TAPS program would like to thank all the sponsors, supporters, and participants for being a part of and making the program a continued success.

The 2024 TAPS competitions are already being planned. Anyone interested in the program can email Krystle Rhoades, TAPS Program Manager, at taps@unl.edu.

Founded in 2017, the Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) program is an innovative program developed by University of Nebraska research and extension specialists and educators. Rather than the typical teacher and student paradigm, the program facilitates a number of interactive real-life farm management competitions. For more information visit taps.unl.edu