World record canola crop

Waitaki Herald - - ADVERTISING FEATURE - By GRA­HAM KEEP (Keepie)

Chris and Kay Den­ni­son farm a prop­erty in Cor­bett Rd, right on the 45th par­al­lel and thanks to this year’s Canola crop they are world fa­mous, and not just in North Otago.

Chris said that de­spite con­vert­ing part of the prop­erty to dairy farm­ing 18 years ago, his pas­sion has al­ways been for crop farm­ing. The dairy farm is man­aged by a sharemilker and the crop­ping area is used as graz­ing for the dairy cows.

Other sto­ries about the world record har­vest re­ferred to both Canola and Oil Seed Rape, which lead me to ask Chris what the dif­fer­ence is. The sim­ple an­swer is no dif­fer­ence at all.

Chris said that oil seed rape was re­named Canola by the Cana­di­ans as a mar­ket­ing ex­er­cise to in­di­cate that it did in­deed come from Canada, af­ter which the name stuck world­wide.

Af­ter read­ing an ar­ti­cle in the EnglishFarm­er­sWeekly about an English farmer, Mr Lamy­man, who was claim­ing a world record canola crop, Chris was sure his yields were higher.

Lamy­man quoted a yield of 6.14 tonnes per hectare and Chris was al­ready record­ing yields in ex­cess of 6.5 tonnes per hectare. Chris said that mod­ern head­ers were fit­ted with equip­ment that will in­di­cate an es­ti­mated yield for a crop.

Although Guin­ness Book of Records only recog­nises wheat or bar­ley, Chris se­lected a pad­dock and de­cided to have a crack at the canola record.

Chris said the pad­dock was planted with two va­ri­eties of canola, ‘‘Flash’’ and ‘‘Vis­tive’’, and re­ceived no spe­cial agron­omy treat­ment, but did have 35 mil­lime­tres of ir­ri­ga­tion.

Chris also said the pad­dock had been used to graze dairy cows and he was of the opin­ion that this would have helped.

To claim a record the crop needed to com­ply with spe­cific re­quire­ments such as mois­ture, qual­ity and cover a min­i­mum area.

The pad­dock was mea­sured by a reg­is­tered sur­veyor, and wit­nessed by To­tora farmer Jock Web­ster along with Matt Mur­ney from Pure Oil, the com­pany that pur­chases the fi­nal prod­uct.

Trucks were weighed and the crop weight ad­justed to a 9 per cent mois­ture con­tent, all dully wit­nessed.

When all the cal­cu­la­tions were com­plete and ev­ery­thing wit­nessed the fi­nal re­sult was a yield of 6.31 tonnes per hectare over a 10.2 hectare area, and the world record be­longed to Chris Den­ni­son.

Although the canola crop record is not recog­nised by the Guin­ness Book of Records, Chris was in the record book in 2003 as the first New Zealand farmer to hold the world record for the high­est yield for a wheat crop, a record he held for three years, and now held by Mike So­lari of South­land.

Chris said that his crop would be used to pro­duce canola cooking oil and the left­over meal sold as stock food.

We of­ten hear about crops such as canola be­ing pro­cessed as a re­place­ment for diesel, but Chris said that it is not fi­nan­cially vi­able at this time.

Chris is cer­tainly a per­son of in­ter­est to talk to, mak­ing the point that he would need 10 per cent of his farm pro­duc­ing canola oil to power his farm ma­chin­ery and that two or three gen­er­a­tions back, when horses did the work, 10 per cent of a farm was used to grow feed for the horses.

It just goes to show that although farm­ing has, on the face of it, changed dramatically, there are cer­tain rules that re­main con­stant.

The team: From left, Pete Rap­son (farm worker), Matt Mur­ney (Pure Oil rep), Jock Web­ster (record wit­ness), Jim Den­ni­son (fa­ther), Chris Den­ni­son, Gor­don Bar­ney (farm worker).

World record: Chris and Kay Den­ni­son of Cor­bett Rd near Oa­maru grew a world record canola crop this sea­son. Chris with his record crop. Pho­tos: Sup­plied

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