Press Release

2015 Illinois Yield Challenge Winners Announced

January 04, 2016

Illinois Soybean Farmers Achieve Record Yield

BLOOMINGTON, ILL – Dec. 31, 2015 – Illinois soybean farmers participating in the Illinois Soybean Association’s 2015 Yield Challenge’s three shootout competitions racked up some impressive numbers this year.


Crop District Shootout

Fifteen participants in the 2015 Illinois Soybean Association Yield Challenge are being recognized for having the highest yields in their respective crop districts.

District 1

First, Roger Cogdal with 92.13 bu./acre
Second, Alan Madison with 91.48 bu./acre

District 2

First, Ralph and Don Walters with 85.54 bu./acre
Second, Dan Arkels with 85.41 bu./acre

District 3

First, Grant Strom with 88.73 bu./acre
Second, Brad Hunt with 81.02 bu./acre

District 4

First, John Obery with 79.5 bu./acre
Second, John Breedlove with 59.63 bu./acre

District 5

First, Robert & Jason Lakey with 108.27 bu./acre
Second, Joe Klein with 95.26 bu./acre

District 6

First, Randall Williamson with 85.76 bu./acre
Second, David Wessel with 81.4 bu.acre

District 7

First, Mark Niebrugge with 87.02 bu./acre
Second, Chad & Kyle Kuenstler with 82.91 bu.acre

District 8

First, Matt Krausz with 93.94 bu./acre
Second, Mark Krausz with 89.68 bu./acre

District 9

First: Russ Brazier with 87.58 bu./acre


Side-by-Side Sponsor Plots

The side-by-side Yield Challenge plot competition identifies strategies that increase soybean yields. Participants grow soybeans on one plot using their standard practices and on a similar plot using innovative practices. John Weberpal of Maple Park managed an increased yield of nearly 11 percent. First-place winners will be awarded a $500 cash prize, while second-place winners will receive $250. The 2015 winners are:

• District 2: First place, John Weberpal, 10.97 percent increase

• District 2: Second place, Chuck Diehl, 8.12 percent increase

• District 4: First place, John Breedlove, 9.22 percent increase


100-Bushel Shootout Winners

As previously released, one of the participants in the Yield Challenge produced a new Illinois state record bushel-per-acre yield. The yield is only the second independently verified 100-plus bushel-per-acre soybean yield in Illinois. Champaign County farmers Robert and Jason Lakey produced a yield average of 108.27, making them the official 100-Bushel Winner of $5,000.

“It’s very exciting to be able to move the state record yield higher,” says Jason Lakey. “We’ve worked hard this year to identify the right components of a high-yield soybean program.”

“We’ve known that with the right management program, the genetic potential for soybean yields can be realized,” says John Longley, soybean farmer from Aledo, Ill., ISA District 3 Director and the ISA Production Committee chair. “Setting a new state yield record for the second year in a row indicates that we’re making great strides in establishing Illinois as the leader in innovative and successful soybean management practices.”

“I’m proud to see winners in all nine Illinois districts,” says Daryl Cates, ISA chairman. “It’s good to see such a high level of participation across the state and it’s a testament to the fact that the Yield Challenge is valuable.”

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.  

2015 Yield Challenge winners and top achievers will be recognized at a special dinner on Feb. 24, the night before the 2016 Soybean Summit in Peoria. Information regarding the 2016 Yield Challenge is available at

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) represents more than 43,000 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


For more information, contact:

Amy Roady