Lorne Loeppky has never topped 150 bushels per acre since he began growing corn in 1997.
This year he hit 160 bu. per acre.
Loeppky, who farms near Niverville, Man., completed his corn harvest Oct. 23. His fields received timely rain this summer and no excessive moisture.
“The growing conditions were just excellent,” said Loeppky, who grows around 1,200 acres of corn.
“This year we got Iowa corn yields.”
He said fellow corn growers in southeastern Manitoba have told him they harvested yields of 140 to 180 bu. per acre this year.
Manitoba’s five-year average is 115 to 120 bu. per acre.
Manitoba Corn Growers Association general manager Theresa Bergsma said average corn yields in the eastern half of the province are higher.
“The (provincial) average takes in a lot of areas that aren’t your higher yielding areas,” she said.
“For the last number of years, the guys in the main corn growing areas have been getting from 120 to 160.”
Farmers west of Portage la Prairie still have thousands of corn acres to harvest, so the provincial picture will be clearer in a few weeks, Bergsma said.
Loeppky said his best corn yield before this year had been 145 bu. per acre, but the number on his combine’s yield monitor this year was shocking.
“I knew we were going to have a good crop, but I didn’t expect the big bushels.”
The provincial crop’s fortunes didn’t look near as bright three months ago when three weeks of cool weather in late July and early August slowed crop development. However, heat in late August and the absence of a September frost pushed yields turned things around.
Loeppky said bushel weight was a bit down for a few corn varieties on his farm, but overall quality was excellent.
He said the high yields should boost Manitoba’s corn industry because some growers tried the crop for the first time this year.
“What a year to start of,” he said.
“They have a sweet taste in their mouths.”
Bergsma said falling prices mean there’s no guarantee Manitoba corn acres will jump next year. Farmers planted more that 340,000 acres of grain corn this year, setting another provincial record.
Loeppky said his part of the province, east of the Red River, is beginning to resemble Iowa.
“We have the hog barns and every year you’re seeing more corn and more soy.”