South Georgia farmer Randy Dowdy says some of his neighbors have remarked that if he had good dirt, there’s no telling what he could do.

What he has done, on mediocre soils, is to break Georgia’s state corn yield record by more than 60 bushels, with an astounding 364 bushels per acres this past season. He also was the state’s corn yield champ in 2010 and winner of the National Corn Growers’ Yield Contest for Georgia with a high of 279 bushels per acre.

“My heart is in corn production,” says Dowdy, who farms in Brooks County, Ga. “I really enjoy it — you might say I’m a student of growing corn.”

Dowdy says he is most competitive with himself and not others when it comes to corn yields, and he is always aiming to beat his yields from the previous year.

“I’ve been doing variety plots for Pioneer and DeKalb for the past five to six years, and each year, they have asked me to enter the National Corn Growers Association yield contest. I was hesitant to enter the contest in the beginning, but last year I decided to enter the NCGA yield contest and I was blessed to win,” he says.  The winners of this year’s contest will be announced by the NCGA in December. 

As a result of winning in 2010, Dowdy says he attended the Commodity Classic in Tampa in hopes of learning something new, but was disappointed that the other national and state yield winners wouldn’t share any specifics of their production.

“I wasn’t looking to re-invent the wheel, but I was looking for ways to improve. The advice from growers was limited, but advice from Glenn Rountree, a Pioneer sales consultant and friend, proved beneficial. The experience motivated me, since I always like to try new things, and I share whatever I’m doing with other growers. I spend a lot of time on corn production, to the point to where my family and friends say I need a hobby. But my hobby is growing corn because I don’t consider it work.”