Wakanui World Record Holder Crops ‘The Best Land in Canterbury’
Eric and Maxine Watson have farmed in Wakanui for 25 years, growing a range of crops including cereals, perennial ryegrass and fescues, vegetables for seed, and alternative pasture species, depending on what there’s a market and a contract available for.
Though he’s not one to blow his own trumpet, Eric Watson is widely respected for his innovative thinking and knowledge of technology, which he and Maxine harness to improve productivity. Eric was this year named Federated Farmers’ arable farmer of the year.
The Watsons embraced precision farming techniques nearly a decade ago. Their tractor, harvester and sprayer all have GPS-guided auto-steer which, with a base station for differential correction, gives them accuracy to 2cm. Their sprayer has auto-nozzle shut down to prevent any overlap and they use variable-rate spreading of phosphate, potash and lime with the aim of creating a more even fertility across the paddock. These are just some of the contributing factors that allowed the Watsons to take out the world record for wheat yield last summer and this year’s coveted title of arable farmer of the year. Congratulations Eric and Maxine!