Champion farmer grows best wheat crop for sixth year running
A west Norfolk farmer has won his club’s prize for the best winter wheat crop for the sixth year in a row.
Robert Smart from Marshland St James was awarded the trophy for Stoke Ferry Agricultural Society’s annual competition after impressing the judges with his crop of Zyatt wheat, which had a specific weight of 82.4.
Second place went to Jim Smart, also from Marshland St James, with a sample of Skyfall with a specific weight of 79.2 and Roger Eyles from Northwold claimed third place with a sample of Dunston with a specific weight of 77.2.
After the presentation, club members heard a talk from Bill Clark, technical director at NIAB (National Institute of Agricultural Botany), about the latest plant breeding efforts and new fungicide developments to combat yield-killing wheat diseases such as septoria.
The plant pathologist told the society that during NIAB’s 100 years of plant science there has been a increase in average wheat yields from 2t/ha (tonnes per hectare) to 10t/ha – but although wheat yields are increasing by around 0.5pc per year, world population is increasing by over 2pc.
The society’s next meeting is on February 5 at Ryston Park Golf Club near Downham Market, with a talk by Thorney farmer Michael Sly on “educating the public on food”.