Earnings for the quarter rose to $9.9 million compared to $400,000 in the comparable quarter last year. Earnings per share rose to $1.21 from $0.05. Earnings year-to-date, $19.2 million versus $2.15 million last year. Earnings per share year-to-date $2.34 versus $0.26 last year. Sales were off a little bit. As we received lower corn prices we passed some of that back on to -- back down to our customers. The biggest reason why we did so well this quarter and why things are going so well is our gross margins went up so much. They increased 386%, from $3.7 million last year to $18.2 million in the quarter.
The reasons again why we're doing well and things are going as they are currently and there are a few reasons. The first is the increase in crush spread. Corn prices, our harvest came in and we benefited -- some of that benefit came in this quarter. With the harvest coming in, corn prices for us fell quicker than ethanol selling prices. We were paying significantly over basis for corn for most of this year. And with a good crop in, our prices have gone down dramatically relative to basis, and a lot of that's been put in -- a lot of that has come into our margin.
Going forward, fourth quarter is continuing very strong. We definitely will outperform last year. Last year, we had a large loss in the fourth quarter. And based on current results, if things stay as they have been and we're already over a quarter -- over a month into the quarter, we currently expect to outperform our results of the third quarter. We currently benefit from strong ethanol demand. Inventories are low, crush spreads are at very profitable levels. Our corn prices now the harvest is in, so corn prices are in our favor. We're paying significantly less for corn relative to basis that we had previous during the year. So things are currently looking very, very good.