UK agriculture sets new baker’s dozen world record

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A new unofficial world record of just 15 minutes and 27 seconds to produce 13 loaves from field to plate was set in Essex on Friday August 7th 2015.

The record attempt saw freshly combined Skyfall wheat turned into a baker’s dozen of 1lb loaves over a minute quicker than the official world record of 16 minutes 30.83 seconds set in New South Wales, Australia, in January 2013.

Organised by agronomy company ProCam and seed breeders RAGT at RAGT’s wheat breeding station at Ickeleton, near Saffron Waldron, the attempt will now be submitted to Guinness World Records for consideration.

“It’s a bit of fun really, but there is a serious message behind it in reminding people of the closeness of the link between our countryside and the food they eat,” says ProCam technical director and chief baker for the day Dr. Tudor Dawkins.

“At another level, it focuses the mind on the considerable effort now going into crop production thinking and technology to help growers produce crops that meet the precise needs of consumers in the most cost-effective and sustainable manner possible for the future.”

The new group one wheat variety Skyfall was chosen because of its outstanding yield, quality and milling properties with ProCam agronomist Drummond Scrase involved in the key agronomy decisions to ensure optimum crop specification and maturity for the attempt.

On the day, standing crop was combined and the resulting grain milled, made into a soda-based dough and then oven baked. The process was officially observed by Dr. Sarah Cook from ADAS.

Simon Howell, managing director of plant breeder RAGT Seeds, says the company was delighted with the result.

“To beat the existing record by over a minute, subject to confirmation, is fantastic. Tudor approached us to see if we could help and we were only too pleased to be involved, as ProCam has been helping farmers across the country to ensure Skyfall delivers on farm.

“Skyfall originates from RAGT’s northern European wheat breeding programme and is considered to be a breakthrough milling wheat variety by many in the sector, thanks to its very high yields of high quality grain. So it was a very appropriate choice for the record attempt.”

Early indications in its first commercial harvest showed Skyfall was living up to its billing, Simon Howell adds.

“Feedback from farmers and the seed trade has been incredible. One national seed company has said Skyfall is averaging 13.2% protein so far and is typically delivering 10t/ha.

“Another in the eastern counties said the variety was delivering protein levels between Solstice and Gallant, while producing very high yields, and another based on the south coast reckoned the variety was averaging 13.2% protein.

“It’s fair to say that all group 1 varieties are having a good year, but Skyfall has the advantage of fantastic yield potential. So far, it’s certainly living up to its promise on farms across the south and east.”

Arrangements are now been made to submit video footage of the process with timings so the attempt can be formally considered for a new world record.

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