2016 Harvest Results!

By Troy


Corn kernels at harvest. Both came from the same ear, but the kernel on the right shows the abscission (black) layer. That means it’s mature and will be ready for harvest soon!

We’ve calculated the totals, we’ve done some analyzing of the results, and now we’re ready to announce the winner of the Fantasy Farming Challenge for 2016!

For the second year in a row, one school was first place in both yield and profitability.

Congratulations to VIT High School! They yielded 236 bushels per acre at a value of $36.73 profit per acre. Well done!

Take a look below at this year’s results for all schools. For reference, you can see all of the choices each school made on the Participants page. Note that even though several schools produced similar yields, profitability varied widely depending on the decisions each school made.



This next graph is really interesting. It breaks down how much each plot cost versus how much yield (in bushels/acre) the plot produced.


You’ll notice that VIT had a relatively low cost of inputs, but the data point for yield shows a big spike. The most expensive plots are not the highest yielding, and the cheapest plots are not the most profitable. Making the right inputs that have the best return on investment is a balance farmers try to find each season.

How were the results calculated?

That’s a great question. In the harvest post, you can see the combine that we use at the Learning Center. It’s an older model, and it’s a great size for some of the work we do in the fields, including on the Fantasy Farming Challenge plots. The combine has been modified with a system that provides yield analysis while it’s harvesting. Check out the video below for more information.

Calculating Yield During Harvest from Monsanto STEM Education Outreach on Vimeo.

What you don’t see is the computer screen in the cab of the combine that shows the results for each plot as we go. It’s a great tool for us to ensure we are precise with our data. While this is a pretty specific digital tool for our purposes, a lot of farmers use digital tools to help them understand different ways to approach their fields. They might use these tools throughout the season, not just at harvest.

This was another fantastic year with the participating students! I love that each season is so different from the last. It means that we can learn something new every year.

Stay tuned for a deeper analysis on this year’s challenge and to learn more about how a combine works. If you want to know how last year’s Challenge turned out, you can see the results here!


Troy is formerly a high school Agriculture teacher and FFA advisor who is passionate about teaching Agronomics, Ag Science, and Plant Biology. Now the manager of the Monmouth Learning Center, Troy has led the Fantasy Farming Challenge since 2013, helping hundreds of high school students to understand the choices farmers make against the challenges of weather, disease, weed management, and insect pressure.

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