Illinois soybean growers are invited to test their yield limits in the first-ever Illinois Soybean Association's Yield Contest, which starts with the 2009 crop year.
"The world record soybean yield was set in 2007 at 154.7 bushels per acre in neighboring Missouri. The average soybean yield in Illinois was 43 bushels per acre," says David Hartke, soybean grower from Teutopolis and ISA chairman. "Clearly, that indicates that yield capacity for soybeans is considerably higher than most people realize. That higher yield is attainable by focusing on multiple aspects of production management, which is what we hope growers will do through the contest."
ISA leaders hope to raise awareness among growers about such agronomic decisions made every year to maximize yields such as seed selection, inputs, scouting and harvest.
The contest is open to any soybean grower who farms in Illinois. Growers are encouraged to consider field locations for the 2009 contest as they are harvesting this fall. Each entry must be at least 10 contiguous acres of soybeans in contour or straight rows. Regional and statewide prices will be given in four categories: irrigated, conventional till, no or strip till and double crop.
Nine regional winners will receive a prize of $1,000, while state winners will receive airfare, lodging and meal costs to visit soybean research plots in Puerto Rico. State winners will report back to Illinois growers about their visit.
"It is up to us to find new and better ways to optimize our resources in a sustainable manner," says Hartke. "We are fortunate to farm in an era where biotechnology allows us to adopt new events and discoveries more rapidly than before. The contest will help reveal the potential of today's soybean genetics and management practices and to document the impact that management practices have in Illinois environments."
Entry fees are $25 for ISA members. Non-members can enter for $120, which includes a one-year ISA membership. Or, non-members can enter for $220 which includes a three-year ISA membership, plus membership benefits totaling more than $200.
More details about the regions and other contest rules are available at www.soybeanyieldcontest.org.