The Illinois Soybean Association recently announced the results of the 2011 Yield Challenge.
The 14 winning teams, and all of the other growers who participated, not only deserve recognition for their outstanding achievements but also for the way they embraced this opportunity to exchange ideas and strategies as they explored different approaches to boost their soybean yields. Together they helped make 2011 another successful year for the program, reporting an overall average yield increase of 6.45% – a 1.25% increase over 2010.
The two teams with the highest percent yield increase in each district receive awards for their accomplishments. Each member of a first place team receives $500, and those on a second place team are given $250. The 2011 winners are:
District 1 – First Place: Syngenta District 1N; Second Place: Pioneer District 1
District 2 – First Place: Elburn Coop; Second Place: BASF District 2
District 3 – First Place: CPS Ferris; Second Place: CPS Blandinsville
District 4 – First Place: Sunrise FS; Second Place: AgLand FS
District 5 – First Place: The Good 5th; Second Place: Vinson Seed Service
District 6 – First Place: Shipman Elevator; Second Place: Lincoln Land FS
District 7 – First Place: South Central FS; Second Place: BRT Ag and Turf
Ross Prough, a soybean farmer from Greenfield and ISA director, expressed his thoughts about this year's Yield Challenge: "We couldn't be happier with the results. Everyone worked hard, and that really shows in the final yields. I have participated in both years of the Challenge, tracking my plots on SoyCam, and feel that the overall experience provided me with a lot of valuable knowledge. At first glance, it seems like it would be a large time commitment, but in reality, it's quite simple and a lot of fun… that's why I've already signed up again for next year."
Results for Districts 8 and 9 are still being compiled and will be announced at a later date. Winners of the student portion of the Challenge also are not yet available. Their results are based on their plot yields as compared to their counties' averages, and this information is not typically available until the first quarter of the following year. Once those figures are released, ISA will evaluate and announce those results.
Additionally, because a significant component of the Yield Challenge is compiling data to help generate recommendations for future production years, ISA will be releasing a complete report in early 2012, which will be available for downloading on the Yield Challenge website.
The Yield Challenge – funded by the Illinois soybean checkoff – was established in 2010 as a way to help ensure Illinois' position as a global leader in soybean production. It requires growers throughout all nine crop reporting districts to farm side-by-side plots using traditional methods on one and innovative techniques on the other. Along the way, participants complete routine crop scouting and crop management records.