World record canola crop
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