Ashburton farmer takes out new Guinness World Record for wheat

Author
The Country,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Jul 2020, 3:43PM
Harvesting the world record crop. Photo / Supplied

Ashburton farmer takes out new Guinness World Record for wheat

Author
The Country,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Jul 2020, 3:43PM

Eric Watson from Ashburton has taken out the Guinness World Record for the highest wheat yield - for the second consecutive time.

Watson produced an incredible 17.398 tonnes per hectare wheat crop, beating his previous record crop grown in 2017 of 16.791 tonnes per hectare.

To put that into perspective, on average, irrigated wheat yields in New Zealand produce around 12 tonnes per hectare.

The achievement has been admired by the wider industry, and is providing insights into innovations for future growth.

Watson was thrilled with the result, saying he strives to continually improve and make
advancements to his yields and farming operation.

"We are very proud to have achieved such a result. The Guinness World Record is a nice recognition of our hard work and new innovations we've put in place. While we were thrilled with the record result in 2017, we saw ways in which we could make improvements and achieve an even higher yield."

Top of the crops: Eric Watson (left) and Bayer Regional Business Manager for Mid and South Canterbury David Weith. Photo / Supplied
Top of the crops: Eric Watson (left) and Bayer Regional Business Manager for Mid and South Canterbury David Weith. Photo / Supplied

"By trying new cultivars, switching to liquid nitrogen and monitoring plant health more regularly we were able to achieve another incredible result. Because of the high wheat yields we can grow on our farm we are pleased if we see yields increase year-on-year by 100-200 kg/ha. So to beat my last crop by almost 600 kg/ha exceeded even my hopes" said Watson.

Key facts about the new world record wheat crop:
• Location – Paddock 15, Wakanui, Canterbury, New Zealand

• Yield – 17.398 tonnes/ha (6.93 tons/acre or 258.70 bushels/acre).
• New Zealand farmers harvest approximately 400,000 tonnes of wheat each year (Foundation for Arable Research).
• Wheat is used to produce high quality ingredients for the food industry in New Zealand and contributes to millions of dollars in export revenue.

Planted in April 2019 and harvested on 17 February 2020, the wheat variety is Kerrin, bred by KWS and supplied by Carrfields Grain & Seed, and it will likely be used for feeding New Zealand's beef or dairy herd.

Watson worked closely with Bayer Crop Science for both of his records, receiving agronomy advice and using a range of its crop protection herbicides and fungicides.

Kerrin wheat. Photo / Supplied
Kerrin wheat. Photo / Supplied

The latest Guinness World Record showed New Zealand was an important part of the global arable market and put the country at the forefront in developing farming techniques and technologies that can be utilised by other farming nations to feed the world, Bayer Regional Business Manager for Mid and South Canterbury David Weith.

"We are delighted to see another Guinness World Record come out of New Zealand and to have contributed to this incredible result" Weith said.

The record attempt was a team partnership with PGG Wrightson Rural Supplies, Yara Fertilisers, SGS, Davis Ogilvie and Hill Laboratories in particular, working alongside Bayer to help Watson achieve his results.