New Wheat Yield Record Set in New Zealand

A farming couple from New Zealand has entered the book of Guinness World Records for growing the highest wheat yield on record.

Eric and Maxine Watson of Ashburton harvested a 249.68 bushels/acre crop (16.791 tonnes/ha) on February 17.

“We’re absolutely delighted to have set a new record – I feel a bit overcome in a way, it’s quite an achievement,” said Eric in a news release on Monday. “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…and it’s good to have the record back in New Zealand again.”

The Watsons surpassed the previous record of 246 bu/ac (16.519 tonnes/ha) set by UK farmer Rod Smith in 2015.

Eric and Maxine Watson (supplied)

“We hope that achievements such as this will help promote New Zealand as a global leader in growing grain and seed for both the local and global markets,” noted Bayer New Zealand Crop Science Country Manager, Scott Hanson. “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 New Zealand at the forefront of worldwide farming.”

Having all but reached the 250 bu/ac threshold, Watson said he saw room to improve on their record result.

“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.”

Key facts about the Watsons’ new world record wheat crop:

  • Winter wheat, variety Oakley (irrigated)
  • Planted April 9, 2016, harvested February 17, 2017
  • Location – Paddock 15, Wakanui, Canterbury, New Zealand
  • Yield – 16.791 tonnes/ha (6.69 ton/acre or 249.68 bushels/acre)
  • Harvested from 11.89 ha (29.39 acres)
  • The wheat will most likely go into animal feed for dairy cows.

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