Illinois Soybean Farmers Achieve New State Record Yield

ISA Announces 2015 Yield Challenge Winners


BLOOMINGTON, ILL – January 4, 2016 – Illinois farmers participating in the Illinois Soybean Association's (ISA) Yield Challenge recorded some impressive yield numbers in 2015.  ISA recently announced winners in the Illinois soybean checkoff-funded program.


"We've known that with the right management program, the genetic potential for soybeans can be realized," says John Longley, soybean farmer from Aledo, Ill., and ISA Production Committee chair. "Setting a state record for the second year in a row indicates we are making great strides in establishing Illinois as the leader in innovative soybean management practices."


ISA established the Yield Challenge with Illinois soybean checkoff dollars 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. 


Crop District Shootout

Fifteen participants in the 2015 ISA 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 and 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 and 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 standard practices and on a similar plot using innovative practices.  John Weberpal, Maple Park, Ill., increased yield nearly 11 percent.  First-place winners will be awarded a $500 cash prize.  Second-place winners will receive $250:


•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 Yield Challenge participant 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 history.  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."


"I am proud to see winners in all nine Illinois districts," says Daryl Cates, soybean farmer from Columbia, Ill., and 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 a valuable program."


The 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, Ill.  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


Brie Getz