Just when you thought wheat yields couldn't improve

World-record holding Ashburton arable farmer Eric Watson. Photo: supplied.
Ashburton arable farmer Eric Watson after his first world record in 2017. Photo: Supplied.
Ashburton arable farmer Eric Watson has taken out the Guinness World Record for the Highest wheat yield for the second time, beating his former record crop density by 607 kilograms per hectare.

Mr Watson, who farms with his wife, Maxine, at Wakanui, produced an incredible 17.398 tonnes per hectare wheat crop, beating his previous record crop grown in 2017 that delivered 16.791 tonnes of wheat per hectare.

On average, irrigated wheat yields in New Zealand produce about 12 tonnes per hectare, demonstrating how remarkable the latest record is as an achievement admired by the wider industry, and providing insights into innovations for future growth.

Mr Watson was thrilled with the result as he strove 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," he said.

"While we we’re thrilled with the record result in 2017, we saw ways in which we could make improvements and achieve an even higher yield."

"By trying new cultivars, switching to liquid nitrogen [fertiliser] 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 100-200kg/ha," he said.

"So to beat my last crop by [just over] 600 kg/ha exceeded even my hopes."

The Kerrin wheat variety was planted in April 2019 and harvested this year on February 17. It was bred by agricultural company KWS and supplied by Carrfields Grain and Seed.

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