Side-by-Side Plots

Current Production Practices Vs. New Techniques

In this Challenge, you are required to set up two side-by-side plots, with a minimum of three acres each. The plots should be located on soil that is as similar as possible, and you must plant the same variety of soybeans to effectively compare and identify strategies that may contribute to yield increase. To start competing in the 2016 Yield Challenge, complete a simple interest form. Registration must be submitted by September 1, 2016. You are welcome to enter as many plots as you like.

What is in the Check Plot?

The “Yield Challenge Plot” is where you will implement an innovative treatment, set of treatments or varied management practices that could enhance yield.

Example layout of a Yield Challenge field and the two-acre harvest areas for each plot:

Am I limited in the number of treatments I use?

You can apply any practice or treatment to your Challenge plot. The only requirement is you must plant the same variety in both plots. The variety that is originally entered must be the same variety in each plot and also reported on your signup form. Entrants must harvest two acres, which must be verified by a third party. Third-party verifiers need to meet ISA guidelines to qualify.

How is the yield verified?

Entrants must harvest two acres, and the grain must be verified by a third party using a weigh wagon. Third-party verifiers need to meet ISA guidelines to qualify and be approved. Harvest must be witnessed by one Harvest Verifier and calculated on the basis of No. 1 soybeans corrected to 13 percent moisture, then converted to bushels per acre. Learn more about who qualifies to be a third-party verifier.

How much does it cost to enter?

Entering the Side-by-Side Plot Challenge is easy! The registration fee for a Yield Challenge Plot is only $25. Entrants may register additional Yield Challenge plots at $25 each. All Yield Challenge plots entered will be treated separately. To start competing in the 2016 Yield Challenge, complete the official registration formMail Entry Form(s) and entry fee(s) of $25 for each entry to  ATTN: Yield Challenge; Illinois Soybean Association; 1605 Commerce Parkway; Bloomington, IL 61704. Make checks payable to the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA). If you prefer to use a credit card, please call the ISA office at 309-663-7692. Entry forms are due on or before September 1, 2016.

Not sure? You can start by simply completing a general interest form by July 1.

How do I submit data?

Yield totals and other production data are easy to collect and must be submitted via the Side-by-Side Plot Harvest Form by November 15, 2016, and verified by an approved third party.

When will winners be announced?

Winners of the Side-by-Side Plot Challenge will be announced at a special recognition dinner before the 2017 Soybean Summit in Peoria, IL.

Can I work with a sponsor?

Absolutely. Collaboration with a sponsor is not only accepted, but encouraged. If you would like a sponsor, but can’t find one to participate, let us know. We have a list of sponsors interested in partnering up.


Call or email Jim Nelson, Yield Challenge Coordinator, at (309) 825-7542 or

Read official rules & guidelines.