108-Bushel Yield Breaks Illinois Soybean Record
Farmer Jason Lakey and his father, Robert, have set a new state record for the most impressive soybean yield in Illinois at 108.3 bushels.
The Lakeys used 20-inch rows with a 4.1 maturity group variety, Asgrow AG4135, on their yield challenge plot. The 20-inch spacing allowed for air movement but also resulted in a nice canopy later in the season that helped keep weeds down. Planting happened on April 23 on their Champaign County plot.
“Early planting is really key, as is using a good full-season bean variety, like a 3.8 to 4.2,” said Lakey. “We want those plants to stay green as long as possible, and collect more sunlight to maximize the yields. We used a combination of defensive approaches and offensive approaches, and that helped us learn what beans can do.”
The father-son duo was participating in the 100-Bushel Yield Challenge program that is put on by the Illinois Soybean Association. The program’s top prize is $5,000; other growers participating in the program have seen yields in the upper 80s to 90-bushel-per-acre range.
A hands-on management approach and impressive communication contributed to the success of the plot. Plant health and conditions were monitored every two to three weeks. If something needed to be adjusted, there was no hesitation to change conditions to keep the plants stress-free.
“It’s a real thrill to reach this level of soybean yields,” Lakey said. “We’ve had good luck with corn yields in the past, but this is the first year we really started chasing big bean yields.”
The Lakeys worked closely with agronomists from Ehler Bros. Co. and representatives from Asgrow, StollerUSA, Illini FS, and Rosen’s Inc. to make decisions for the plot.