NEW Zealand farmers Eric and Maxine Watson have entered the renowned book of Guinness World Records after producing the world’s highest yielding crop of wheat.
The couple produced a staggering 16.791 tonnes an hectare, beating the previous record of 16.519t/ha held for two years by a United Kingdom farmer.
On average, irrigated wheat yields in NZ are about 12t/ha.
The crop was planted at Wakanui, Canterbury, almost a year ago, in mid-April 2016, and harvested mid-February this year.
Mr Watson says it’s a relief to have achieved the record, especially after coming close in previous years.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have set a new record – I feel a bit overcome in a way, it’s quite an achievement,” he said.
“It’s a very good feeling after all these years of achieving high yields to get the World Record, after all, it’s what we set out to do. Possibly one of the things that will come out of this is recognition of the NA Arable Industry.
“It’s very small but there are some good farmers out there and it’s good to have the record back in NZ again.”
Mr Watson puts his success down to the agronomy advice from Bayer and nutrition input from Yara.
“We’ve been achieving high yields for several years but have never bothered about the world record,” he said.
“The record definitely became harder to achieve after the 16.5t/ha barrier was broken in the 2015 UK harvest.”
Bayer NZ Crop Science country manager Scott Hanson says the record is not only an important achievement for the Watsons, but for NZ as a whole.
“We hope that achievements such as this will help promote NZ as a global leader in growing grain and seed for both the local and global markets,” he said.
“Two years ago we worked with Warren Darling of Timaru to get the world record for barley. The addition of the wheat world record firmly puts NZ at the forefront of worldwide farming.”
Yara Fertilisers NZ arable specialist Paul Johnston gave advice on nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur and magnesium.
“Regular herbage testing was also a very important factor as this guided the timely inputs of foliar trace elements,” he said.
As for the future, Mr Watson believes he can do even better.
“It is an exceptional yield, but I could always do better and that’s my aim,” he said.
“There were things I saw when I was out there in the combine harvester and I thought, yeah, I could do this a whole lot better.”
The Watsons have won numerous farming awards, including Lincoln University’s ‘South Island Farmer of the Year’ Award and the ‘Supreme Award’ in the Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Achieving the Guinness World Record is the pinnacle of their success.
- Details: bayer.com.au
- Winter wheat variety Oakley
- Planted mid-April 2016, harvested mid-February 2017
- Location – Wakanui, Canterbury, NZ
- Yield – 16.791t/ha
- Harvested from 11.89ha
- The harvest will most likely go into animal feed for dairy cows.