Development of a Team-Based On-Farm Learning Program While Challenging Soybean Growers to Increase Yield
Illinois soybean growers have not been satisfied with recent lagging yield trends. A yield "challenge" was created to blend the motivation and creativity of a yield contest with the learning power of teamwork and on-farm demonstration. In the initial year (2010), 123 on-farm side-by-side demonstration plots were located throughout the state; 81% of those locations showed increased soybean yields through additional management, and 55% of the experimental challenge plots were profitable. Participant surveys indicated that 92% learned a new production practice and that 69% would adopt experimental practices on more production acres the following year.