Press Release

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

January 09, 2017



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


BLOOMINGTON, ILL – January 9, 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+-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

Jeff Basset                  2                      2nd                   95.02 bushels per acre

Grant Strom                3                      1st                    90.83 bushels per acre

Grant Strom                3                      2nd                   89.88 bushels per acre

Earl Boyer                   4                      1st                    93.50 bushels per acre

Rick Boyer                  4                      2nd                   91.19 bushels per acre

Robert &                                            100 bu           

Jason Lakey              5                      winner, 1st       106.29 bushels per acre

Joe Klein                     5                      2nd                   96.21 bushels per acre

David Wessel              6                      1st                    98.77 bushels per acre

Eric Dolbeare              6                      2nd                   80.12 bushels per acre

Aaron Niebrugge        7                      1st                    91.86 bushels per acre

Chad and Kyle

Kuenstler                     7                      2nd                   85.61 bushels per acre

Matt Krausz                 8                      1st                        82.27 bushels per acre

Mark Krausz                8                      2nd                       79.32 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                Bushels per                YC                  Place

    Acre Check                Acre                            Advantage                

    Plot                             Challenge Plot          

Chris Gould      2                      72.29                           83.01                           10.72               1st


Weberpal         2                      57.97                           63.53                           5.56                 2nd

Don 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


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 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




For more information, contact:
Amy Roady


Brie Getz