For the third consecutive year, a participant in the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program Yield Challenge has exceeded 100 bushels per acre of harvested soybeans. Robert and Jason Lakey produced a 106.29-per-acre yield on their Champaign County 2.02 acre harvested plot in 2016.
It is the second time the duo have achieved the independently verified 100-plus bushel-per-acre goal. In 2015, they won the 100-Bushel Challenge with 108.27 bushels of soybeans per acre.
“We cannot emphasize enough how important early planting is,” says Robert Lakey. “Our strategy has been to keep plants green so they can absorb the most sunlight. With that approach, we’ve been able to see our beans’ potential grow. Our strategy was based on a 135,000 population on 20-inch rows with Vault seed inoculation, followed by two types of fungicides to protect the crop. Fall fertilization and preemergence herbicide set the stage.”
"Every year we see more clearly what a difference this progressive thinking and technology exploration makes for soybeans in the Yield Challenge,” says John Longley, soybean farmer from Aledo, Ill., and ISA Production and Outreach Committee chair. “As we look ahead to 2017, we’re confident we’ll see more farmers reach 100-bushel yields and sustainably improve their soybean production through the continued exchange of innovative ideas and crop strategies.”
ISA established the Yield Challenge in 2010 as an incentive for growers to try better practices and new technologies to increase yield and to help build Illinois' position as a global leader in soybean production.