He’s top of the crops

A CHRISTCHURCH smallholder set a world record in August 1955 after growing a fantastic crop of barley from seed supplied by J D Gillett and Son, of Wisbech. The man who grew the crop was John Symons, who had been in farming all his life. He took on his No

A CHRISTCHURCH smallholder set a world record in August 1955 after growing a fantastic crop of barley from seed supplied by J D Gillett and Son, of Wisbech.

The man who grew the crop was John Symons, who had been in farming all his life.

He took on his Norfolk County Council smallholding just after the war but had only been farming the field where the barley was grown for three years.

The previous year he had sowed peas in the field but the crop was so poor he made a loss.


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Gillett and Son sent him a Swedish-bred variety of seed not widely grown in this country. No fertiliser or manure was used in the field but it soon became obvious it was going to produce a bumper crop.

Experts were called in to confirm the crop was a record. It was calculated that the yield was a record-breaking 61.17 hundredweight per acre - the average yield in this country was then 20 hundredweight an acre.

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The picture shows Mr Symons, of Part Primrose Hall, Christchurch, and Capt Derrick Nelson Gillett, of J D Gillett and Son.

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