Scot set to grab world winter wheat record..?

18 July 1997

Scot set to grab world winter wheat record..?

COULD the world winter wheat yield record tumble this harvest? One Scottish grower thinks he has crops which could do the trick.

Initial estimates of three fields of Riband on Alastair Millers Ferrygate Farm at North Berwick in Lothian all point to a yield potential of over 15t/ha (6t/acre).

That would outstrip the 16-year-old 13.99t/ha (5.66t/acre) world record held by Scottish farming brothers Jim and Gordon Rennie.

Workshop Field, which shows the top yield potential, could yield 15.78t/ha (6.38t/acre), based on an average of 772 ears a sq m and 49.6 grains an ear.

The idea of going for the record was suggested by Jonathan Farmer, Cyanamid manager for Scotland. Local agronomist David Luke then persuaded Mr Miller the attempt was worthwhile.

"Up until the crops flag-leaf stage, the thought of a record hadnt entered my head," admits Mr Luke, managing director of Lothian Crop Specialists.

"I reckon the record has been broken on numerous occasions in this area since 1981 without anyone knowing. We tend to get higher yields than in southern England, because we have a longer growing period, and insufficient soil moisture is rarely a limiting factor."

Mr Miller who farms 263ha (650 acres) of winter wheat, calabrese, potatoes, vining peas, grass seed and spring barley remains cautious. "The crops look remarkably good. Theyre unusually thick and the ears unusually long. But, Im not counting any chickens because its still a long way to go to harvest."

However, Mr Luke is confident one or more of the fields will break the record, provided crops keep standing.

The crops were drilled in early October, established very well and faced little weed competition. "Inputs have been a bit higher than normal, although our customers usually apply a four-spray programme and Alastair likes to push his crops to the sensible limit," explains Mr Luke.


&#8226 Three fields of Riband on medium clay loam in Lothian.

&#8226 Initial estimates suggest 15.78t/ha based on 772ears a sq m and 49.6 grains an ear.

Gunning for the winter wheat

yield record – Lothian farmer Alastair Miller in Riband.

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