Eastern England sees bumper harvest of wheat crop

Combine Harvester at work on Tom Lindsay's farm near Benwick ENGEMN00120120824161029

Combine Harvester at work on Tom Lindsay's farm near Benwick ENGEMN00120120824161029

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Farmers in the east of England have beaten all other regions in the country and produced the greatest amount of this year’s wheat crop.

The yield from the region weighs in at an impressive 4,170 tonnes. And a new UK wheat crop record has been set as for the first time crops have exceeded 16 million tonnes two years running. Overall the UK has seen some of its biggest harvest in almost 20 years.

Environment Secretary and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, praised UK farmers, which she described as some of the best in the world, and said their methods were leading the field.

She said: “We have some of the world’s best farmers –it’s fantastic to see their hard work and expertise rewarded with a bumper harvest of crops that will be heading to our flour mills and distillers to produce some of our favourite foods, from bread and beer to breakfast cereals.

“It’s a fitting celebration of the work done over the last year by those in the food and farming industry – worth over £100 billion a year.

“From using GPS to increase planting precision, to introducing new water-efficient crop varieties, our innovative farmers are embracing technology to unleash their full potential.

“Through our Food and Farming Plan we will set out our approach to help our farmers better harness data and technology to grow more and sell more British food, creating jobs and investment in this vital industry.”

The use of precision farming methods has grown in the last two decades, helping farmers to increase production and improve crop quality.

For example, using GPS on farm vehicles when applying treatments to a field helps the driver steer accurately and reduces overlap when treating the field in parallel strips, saving 6-10 per cent of inputs, fuel and time.

The percentage of farms applying this method rose from 14 per cent in 2009 to 22 per cent in 2012. Through the Agri-Tech Strategy, the government is investing £160 million to develop new technologies and use agricultural research effectively.