With the 2018 soybean season setting records in Illinois and other states, it is no surprise that several growers topped 100 bushels per acre (bu/A) in the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program’s annual Yield Challenge competition. In its eighth year, 66 entries were considered for the top honors in four different contests—the 100-Bushel Challenge, the Crop Region Contest, Double-Crop Challenge and the Side-by-Side Contest.
“As soybean growers, we are always learning new management practices and techniques that allow us to produce food more sustainably than ever before,” says Lynn Rohrscheib, soybean farmer from Fairmount, Illinois, and chairwoman for the Illinois Soybean Association. “The Yield Challenge encourages growers in that pursuit of continuous improvement, for both our local communities and a growing world population.”
Proving this year to be an exceptional one for soybeans, 15 growers harvested crops above 100 bu/A with another 30 breaking the 90 bu/A mark. Taking the top honor and outyielding last year’s winner by less than a bushel, Paul Klein of Seymour won the 100-Bushel Challenge with 110.94 bu/A on his Champaign County field.
In the irrigated category, Greg McClure broke the century mark with 110.19 bu/A. The winners of the irrigated and non-irrigated categories will each receive a grand prize of $4,000.
2018 – Entrees that made over 100-bu in the 100-Bushel Challenge:
Paul Klein Seymour 2 110.94
Joe Klein Seymour 2 106.28
Marc Padrutt Decatur 2 101.07
Greg McClure St. Francisville 3 105.18
Greg McClure St. Francisville 3 110.19 X
Cameron McClure St. Francisville 3 108.06 X
Edward Logan Griggsville 3 103.19
Duane Noland Decatur 3 102.50
Tom Elmore Farmersville 3 101.89
Travis Rovey Farmersville 3 100.78
Travis Rovey (2nd entry) Farmersville 3 100.54
Entrants in the 100-Bushel Challenge must have the grain weighed on a certified commercial scale, submit original scale ticket and have yield verified by two witnesses, one provided by ISA.
The 2018 Crop Region Contest winners are:
Dan Luepkes Chana 1 1 103.46
Luke and Eric Heaton Ohio 1 2 97.46
Chuck Walsh Bement 2 1 112.48
Joe Klein Seymour 2 2 106.28
Ken Elmore Waggoner 3 1 108.31
Cameron McClure St. Francisville 3 2 108.06
Mark and Matt Krausz New Baden 4 1 90.22
Vernon Mayer Cutler 4 2 75.24
First-place winners of the Crop Region Contest will receive $1,000 each.
The 2018 Side-by-Side winners are:
Bob Jodts Geneseo 1 88.73 89.02 0.32 1
John Breedlove Manito 2 56.43 68.26 20.96 1
Brad Crane Forrest 2 76.16 83.7 9.90 2
Brian Mansfield Woodson 3 76.4 85.7 12.17 1
Mickey Williams Arcola 3 82.01 90.48 10.30 2
The Side-by-Side 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 region will receive $1,000.
The 2018 Double-Crop winners are:
James Kight-Garlisch Delavan 2 62.68 1
Larry Garlisch Forest City 2 58.66 2
Matt and Mark Krausz New Baden 3 64.94 1
Chad Kuenstler Olney 3 61.24 2
The Double-Crop challenge rewards growers who double-crop soybeans after wheat or another crop harvested that same season. First place in each region will receive $1,000.
ISA established the Yield Challenge—funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program—in 2010 to help build Illinois’ position as a global leader in soybean production. The Yield Challenge is an opportunity for growers to explore different management practices and try new tactics, while learning how to improve sustainability and yield in their fields. The competition challenges soybean farmers throughout the state to try new, innovative techniques to continue improving food production for a growing world.
Yield Challenge winners and top achievers will be recognized in Springfield, Illinois, the evening of Feb. 4, at an Awards Banquet hosted on the eve of the 2019 Soybean Summit at the Crowne Plaza Springfield on Feb. 5.

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