Hard work, planning ahead and working with great local Ag Businesses is what helped a local farmer win an international competition.  

Brent Oswald of Cottonwood Farms, south of Steinbach says they plan ahead to make sure they give the seed the best chance to yield.  

“We know everything that is going to be seeded next year already. We would be more than a year in advance with fertility programs and chemical rotations, because everything has become so advanced genetics wise, that the further ahead you can plan out, the better your results are.” 

Oswald notes a proud moment in his farming career came this March at an event in Houston Texas.

It all started when, in 2023, Cottonwood Holsteins participated in a contest through a local seed company.   

“Actually, last year we won the highest corn yield in Western Canada through a contest put on by Pioneer Hybrid, and they sent us to the Commodity Classic in Houston, TX, and we actually had a higher recorded corn yield in our plot work than three of the United States winners.” 

Oswald continues, “Just the fact that we can beat three U.S. states, you know sometimes they think they're so much ahead, or so much better than us. I mean, they've got better growing conditions. But we beat West Virginia and Washington state.” 

He notes that their farm won from Canadian and American farmers that entered the competition. “There could have been people that were better, but the people that were in that contest, we beat three States and I was surprised.” 

“When they were announcing all the winners and you know, we beat them. We beat those guys. We are from Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada like, wow. We can swing with some of the big boys. So that was kind of cool.”

Announcing Cottonwood Holsteins winner of corn yields (photo submitted)Announcing Cottonwood Holsteins winner of corn yields at Commodity Classic 2024 event in Houston Texas. (photo submitted)

Oswald says the entire week was special. “You meet these people. Looking around I was thinking everybody here does something phenomenally well, that's why they won the contest. And now we are sitting with the best of the best.” 

He tells us what he might have enjoyed the most. 

“I love picking their brains to see what we can try to pull and incorporate into our own operation. And then when you start telling them the yields, they’re like, "how far north are you? No, no, you can't grow corn up there." And I say, “Oh, we can you. You'd be surprised.” I even have pictures, and they're not photoshopped, like it's legit pictures.” 

"Once you get talking with them as much as our scenarios are totally different. They are also very much the same.” 

Oswald says the Commodity Classic is a 5-day event and was held from February 29 to March 2 in Houston Texas this year.  

He adds, “You're surrounded by everybody else that's striving to be that much better. No one there is comfortable with where they're at. They're always looking for that next step, next edge, next something special.” 

Oswald says that winning the Top Corn Yield award would not be possible without the support of many local Ag Businesses in the Southeast.  

“And without great partnerships like the relationship we have with the team at Marc Hutlet Seeds, none of this would be possible.” 

Marc Hutlet and Karis Hutlet, traveled to Texas for the 2024 Commodity Classic.

And when it comes to getting that award winning corn crop in the ground, Oswald noted earlier this week, "We didn't beat the rain with the corn. But we should get it finished in the next day or two. We have started beans, then we'll flip the drill into wheat if all goes according to plan."