New Zealand farmers break Guinness World Record for wheat yield

New Zealand arable farmer Eric Watson has broken the world wheat growing record
New Zealand arable farmer Eric Watson has broken the world wheat growing record

New Zealand farmers have entered the renowned book of Guinness World Records after producing the world's highest yielding crop of wheat, taking the title from the UK.

Ashburton farmers Eric and Maxine Watson, who farm on the country's South Island, produced 16.791 tonnes per hectare, beating the previous record of 16.519 tonnes held for two years by a British farmer.

On average, irrigated wheat yields in New Zealand were around 12 tons per hectare, the couple said in a statement.

The crop was planted almost a year ago in mid-April 2016 and harvested mid-February this year.

Eric says it's a big relief to have achieved the record, especially after coming close in previous years.

Recognition for New Zealand

Eric, who has been farming on his near coastal property for the last 40 years, said it had been a mixed sheep/cropping property until 24 years ago when he got seriously into cropping.

The record would bring recognition for New Zealand's arable farming industry, the farmer said in a statement.

"It's very small, but there are some good farmers out there and it's good to have the record back in New Zealand again," he said.

"It is an exceptional yield, but I could always do better and that's my aim. 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 world record wheat crop

• Winter wheat, variety Oakley

• Planted mid-April 2016, harvested mid-February 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 harvest will most likely go into animal feed for dairy cows.