NovaChem > Industry News > 2020 > World record wheat yield a team effort

World record wheat yield a team effort

Published on 09/10/2020

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. On average, irrigated wheat yields in New Zealand produce around 12 tonnes per hectare, demonstrating how remarkable the new record is – an achievement admired by the wider industry, and providing insights into innovations for future growth. Eric Watson worked closely with Bayer CropScience for both of his record breaking crops, receiving agronomy advice and using a range of the company’s crop protection herbicides and fungicides. 

Bayer regional business manager for Midand South Canterbury David Weith said the latest Guinness World Record shows NZ is an important part of the global arable market. It also puts the country at the forefront in developing farming techniques and technologies that can be utilised by other farming nations to feed the world. “We are delighted to see another Guinness World Record come out of NZ and to have contributed to this incredible result. Bayer is focused on improving crop yields through developing innovative products and crop management solutions. Our aim is to help NZ to sustainably become the highest yield producing country in the world.”

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 Eric Watson achieve his fantastic result. 

He himself was thrilled with the outcomeas he continually strives to improve and advance his crop 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 the 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,” he says. "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.” 

Planted in April 2019 and harvested on 17 February 2020, the wheat variety is Kerrin, bred by KWS and supplied by Carrfields Grain and Seed, and it will likely be used for feeding NZ’s beef or dairy herd. NZ farmers harvest approximately 400,000 tonnes of wheat each year. It’s used for high quality ingredients for the NZ food industry as well as for stock food, and contributes millions of dollars in export revenue.


There are two, equally important aspects 
to the world record, namely: 

1. skill, will
ingness to innovate, attention to detail and a little luck with the climate; and

2. meticulously following the Guinness 
World Record guidelines from pre-planting to post-harvest.
Of course, without a higher yield there is no record but not following the rules results in a failed attempt. 

Paddock choice: the paddock used had 
grown pak choy, plantain and, in 2017, the previous world record.

Establishment: single non-inversion culti
vation then Kerrin wheat drilled at 73 kgper ha on 19 April 2019. 

Agrochemical inputs: robust programmeof herbicides (three applications), fungicides (five including 2 SDHIs); and insecticides (five applications). 

Nitrogen: 304 kg/ha in total applied as a 
liquid following measurement of available soil N. 

Trace elements: Zinc and manganese 
based on leaf tissue analysis.
Irrigation: as required based on soil moisture monitoring.

Harvest: 17.389 t/ha harvested 17 February 2020.

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