What it takes to grow record yielding crops

Ask Eric Watson or David Weith what special actions they took to achieve the world record wheat yield of 16.791 t/ha and they will tell you that they didn’t do anything over and above what they would have on any other wheat paddock. So how did they grow such a spectacular crop; what was the magic formula?

It boils down to three key factors: belief, attention to detail and working as a team.

Bayer has long been working closely with Canterbury arable farmers and has first-hand experience with just how good they are. These farmers are clearly some of world’s best (two world yield records for cereals speak volumes) and Bayer knew Eric Watson was right up there with the best.

So when the Bayer head office team in Auckland were asked by the Canterbury Regional Manager, David Weith, on behalf of Eric, to support a world record attempt there was no hesitation. The team had every belief the pair could bring the record back to New Zealand.

Bayer’s belief could only carry this attempt so far, it was the drive and unwavering focus of Eric and Maxine, supported by David and all involved in Canterbury which really got this over the line.

Achieving a world record isn’t easy and it wasn’t going to be achieved without attention to detail, but with Eric this was never in question. You only have to step foot on Eric and Maxine’s farm to see the meticulous way it is managed to know immediately that attention to detail is Eric’s strong point.

This was strongly reinforced by David, who showed equal dedication when it came to making sure the crop was monitored on a regular basis.

Inspection of the crop at least weekly allowed Eric and David to stop problems in their tracks. By preventing the crop from wasting energy fighting challenges, whether from weeds, disease or nutritional deficiencies, Eric and David allowed the crop to deliver its full potential. Bayer and Eric would like to thank Paul Johnson of Yara who monitored the nutritional status of the crop and whose help was vital.

This brings us to probably most important point. Team work. Without the trio of Eric, David and Paul working so well together, without the support of Warren Darling, current world record holder for the yield of a barley crop, and without the flexibility and backing of the large number of people in Canterbury, this attempt wouldn’t have been successful.