Press Release

2014 Illinois Yield Challenge Winners Announced- One Participant Exceeds 100 Bushel-per-Acre Yield

January 21, 2015



2014 Illinois Yield Challenge Winners Announced

One Participant Exceeds 100 Bushel-per-Acre Yield


BLOOMINGTON, ILL – January 21, 2015 – One of the participants in the 2014 Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) Yield Challenge produced the first independently verified 100-plus bushel-per-acre yield in Illinois, establishing a new state record by nearly 15 bushels.


LaSalle County farmer Dan Arkels realized a yield average of 103.95 on his 30-acre test plot near Peru, Ill.  In addition to Arkels' achievement, five other Yield Challenge participants had yields exceeding the 70- or 80 bushel-per-acre program thresholds:

  • Chad Kuenstler: 89.9 bushels per acre
  • Michael Windish: 83.2 bushels per acre
  • Joe Klein: 79.5 bushels per acre
  • Chris Gould: 74.9 bushels per acre
  • Larry Garlisch: 72.6 bushels per acre


Participants who achieved the highest percentage yield increase in each crop reporting district will be recognized for their efforts.  First-place winners will be awarded a $500 cash prize, while second-place winners will receive $250.  The 2014 winners are:

  • District 2 - First Place: Jeff Keifer; Second Place: Michael Deutsch
  • District 4 - First Place: John Breedlove; Second Place: Larry Garlisch
  • District 5 - First Place: Richard Adams
  • District 7 - First Place: Chad Kuenstler; Second Place: Tony Kuenstler


"Illinois consistently has ranked as a top soybean production state, and was number one in the nation with a statewide average yield of 56 bushels per acre and a total soybean production of 547.7 million bushels in 2014.  Now we've had the first verified yield with more than 100 bushels per acre," says Don Guinnip, soybean farmer from Marshall, Ill., and ISA Production Committee chair.  "Innovative crop strategies and technologies tested during the Yield Challenge are making a difference.  Our goal for 2015 is for many more Illinois farmers to reach 100 bushel yields.  We look forward to continuing the exchange of strategies and ideas."


ISA established the Yield Challenge – funded by the Illinois soybean checkoff – 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 2014, 76 farmers participated in the Yield Challenge.  The 100-Bushel Challenge was added in 2013, and more than 25 farmers participated in 2014.


Yield Challenge winners and top achievers will be recognized at the upcoming Soybean Summit at the Keller Convention Center in Effingham, Jan. 30.  There also will be a special Yield Challenge Winners Event in Peoria, Ill., the evening of March 5, which precedes the second Soybean Summit at the Peoria Civic Center, March 6.  Information regarding the 2015 Yield Challenge will be available at


The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) represents more than 45,000 soybean farmers in Illinois through the state soybean checkoff and membership efforts.  The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, promotion, issues management and analysis, communications and education.  Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C.  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



For more information, contact:

Amy Roady


Bruce Helling