2016 Illinois Yield Challenge Winners Announced; 100-Bushel Yields Continue

BLOOMINGTON, ILL – January 3, 2017 –Several soybean growers topped 90 bushels per acre in the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program’s annual Yield Challenge competition. Now in its sixth year, the Yield Challenge offers farmers three ways to compete – the 100-Bushel Challenge, the Crop District Shootout or the Side-by-Side Sponsor Plots. 
“As production and crop technology innovations continue to grow, it’s exciting to see the new frontiers our farmers are exploring in not only their yields but their crop strategies,” says John Longley, soybean farmer from Aledo, Ill., and ISA Production and Outreach Committee chair.
Robert and Jason Lakey won the 100-Bushel Challenge with a 106.29-per-acre yield on their Champaign County test plot, the second time the pair have achieved the independently verified 100-plus bushel-per-acre goal.  The 100-Bushel winner receives a check for $5,000.  

First-place winners of the Crop District Shootout who achieved the highest percentage yield increase in each crop reporting district will be awarded a $500 cash prize; second place winners receive $250. 

The 2016 District winners are:

  District Place Yield
Ron Schlesinger 1 1st 89.01 bushels per acre
Dan Arkels 2 1st 95.99 bushels per acre
Dan Arkles 2 2nd 92.09 bushels per acre
Grant Strom   1st bushels per acre
Grant Strom   2nd bushels per acre
Earl Boyer   1st bushels per acre
Rick Boyer   2nd bushels per acre
Robert & Jason Lakey   100 bu winner, 1st bushels per acre
Joe Klein   2nd bushels per acre
Eric Dolbeare   2nd bushels per acre
David Wessel   1st bushels per acre
Aaron Niebrugge   1st bushels per acre
Chad and Kyle Kuenstler   2nd bushels per acre


The Side-by-Side Sponsor Plots contest rewards growers for testing innovative practices in a challenge plot against their regular practices in a standard plot. The grower with the highest percentage yield increase in his or her district gets $500. Second highest gets $250.
The 2016 Side-by-Side winners are:

  District Bushels per Acre Check Plot Bushels per Acre Challenge Plot YC Advantage Place
Chris Gould 2 72.29 83.01 10.72 1st
John Weberpal 2 57.97 63.53 5.56 2nd
Jon Stuber 4 51.99 71.06 19.07 1st
Tim Dawson 4 62.02 72.1 10.08 2nd
Mike Trainor 5 74.8 76.49 1.69 1st
Eric Dolbeare 6 80.12 84.98 4.86 1st
Brian Willenborg 7 60.02 67.96 7.94 1st


ISA established the Yield Challenge – funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program – in 2010 as a way to help build Illinois' position as a global leader in soybean production.  The competition challenges soybean farmers throughout all nine crop reporting districts to set up side-by-side plots: one using traditional methods; the other using new, innovative techniques.  For 2016, 69 farmers participated in the Yield Challenge.  

Yield Challenge winners and top achievers will be recognized in Peoria, Ill., the evening of Feb. 15, during an event held ahead of the Soybean Summit at the Peoria Civic Center, Feb. 16.  
Farmers are encouraged to visit www.ilsoyadvisor.com for valuable information on new soybean management practices and other key updates.  

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, issues analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C., through the Illinois Soybean Growers. ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace. For more information, visit the website www.ilsoy.org.