BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — If outstanding soybean yields are the mission, it’s “mission accomplished” for Champaign County farmer Jason Lakey and his father Robert, who set a new verified state soybean record with 108.3 bushel yield as part of the Illinois Soybean Association’s (ISA’s) checkoff-funded 100 Bushel Yield Challenge program.
“It’s a real thrill to reach this level of soybean yields,” explains Jason Lakey of Urbana, Ill. “We’ve had good luck with corn yield contests in the past, but this is the first year we really started chasing big bean yields.”
ISA established the Yield Challenge in 2010 to encourage growers to conduct on-farm research to evaluate different management practices that can increase yields and profits. The 100-Bushel Yield Challenge was added in 2013 and includes a $5,000 top prize.
This year’s Yield Challenge had several growers with yields in the upper 80- to 90-bushel per-acre range, and about half of all participants entered both the standard Yield Challenge and the 100-Bushel Challenge.
“The Lakeys management approach really shows what soybeans are capable of,” says Shelby Kaufman, with Ehler Bros. Co. in Thomasboro, Ill., one of the agronomists working with the Lakeys throughout the season. “The entire team worked closely and had great communication. We monitored plant health and conditions every two to three weeks, and adjusted our approach as needed to keep the plants green and stress-free as long as possible.”