New Zealand farmer breaks wheat growing world record

A farmer in New Zealand has broken the world record for wheat growing, after his crop amassed a yield of 16.791t per hectare.

This equated to a total of 249.68 bushels per acre. The crop of wheat was harvested from a 11.8918ha (29.39ac) paddock in February 2017.

The Kiwi farmer’s crop beat the previous record of 16.519t per hectare – a record that has been held for the past two years by a farmer in the UK.

Owned by Eric and Maxine Watson, the crop was planted on April 9, 2016; a winter wheat variety called Oakley was used in this record attempt.

It is believed that irrigated wheat yields in New Zealand generally average around 12t per hectare. That figure demonstrates the sizeable record that Watson has achieved.

The record wheat yield achieved in New Zealand is substantially higher than the averages achieved by Irish farmers in 2016.

The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that Irish farmers achieved an average wheat yield of 9.5t per hectare in 2016; this dropped from 10.7t per hectare in 2015.

Watson has been attempting to earn the title for the past few years, but had come up short in previous attempts.

The paddock was situated close to Wakanui, Canterbury, on New Zealand’s South Island.

Global Wheat production expected to fall in 2017

Earlier this year, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations announced that global wheat production is expected to fall in 2017.

The FAO forecasts that global wheat production will amount to 744.5m tonnes, which would equate to a 1.8% drop from the record high levels seen in 2016.

But the estimate for 2017 is set to remain above the five-year average, the FAO said.

The decline would mostly reflect the projected decrease in plantings in North America, and a return to normal production levels in Australia following an exceptionally high output this past season, it added.