A New Zealand farming couple have smashed a 25 year-old world record and their supporters say the achievement could help solve world hunger.

Timaru-based farmers Warren and Joy Darling have entered the book of Guinness World Records after producing the world's largest crop of barley.

They produced 13.8 tonnes per hectare, eclipsing the previous record of 12.2 tonnes a Scottish grower had held since 1989.

"The new record is an exciting achievement for New Zealand, and the world. Producing greater harvests from the same amount of land will have a big part to play in helping solve the world hunger problem, and feeding a growing population," chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer said in a statement.


"Judging by this new record - New Zealand will be leading the charge."The Darlings produced the equivalent of more than 17,000 loaves of bread per hectare.

"We are absolutely delighted for Warren and Joy and the role Bayer played in the generation of this record-breaking yield," said Dr Holger Detje, Bayer New Zealand managing director and head of CropScience.

"There are many factors that determine the success of a great harvest like this - soil, climate, technologically advanced farming machinery as well as farm inputs like the seed variety, nutrients and crop protection solutions," Dr Detje added.

"Applying all of these factors with skilled farmers like Warren and Joy means we can produce a staggering amount of food.Most of the world's barley crop was used for animal feed, Bayer said.

The Darling's crop would feed dairy cattle.

Bayer said globally, barley's main use in human consumption was for beer.

The crop was also used in bread, sweets and porridge.

"This just goes to show how New Zealand farmers are among the best in the world and people like Warren and Joy will help ensure healthy and sufficient food supplies will be available for everyone," Dr Detje said.


A spokeswoman for Bayer said the Darlings notified Guinness of their bumper crop in January and Guinness confirmed the world record this week.