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**Video thanks to ABC’s Landline**

World largest wheat paddock to help hospital

An Australian farming family is attempting to set a Guinness World Record for planting the largest paddock of wheat in 24 hours to raise money for medical research.
The Coggan family are fifth generation farmers with their holdings spread over 20,000 hectares at Meandarra in south west Queensland.

Family patriarch, John Coggan, says the family is launching the world record attempt to raise money for the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation.

Three years ago, 60 year old John Coggan received a life saving heart transplant at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane.

“The doctors there are magicians. I only had a 10 percent chance of surviving and they pulled me through,” says John.

John had collapsed and was in an induced coma for seven weeks. During that time his chest was opened up 12 times and he received 150 units of blood and 200 units of factors to allow his blood to clot.

Grateful for his second chance at life the family has contributed privately to the hospital foundation but hope the Guinness World Record Attempt for the Largest Wheat Field Sown in 24 Hours will raise extra funds.

John’s wife Lyn also hopes the event will raise awareness of the severe shortage of transplant organs in the country. “Australia has one of the poorest records for organ donation. I want to encourage people to at least consider being donors. Without organ donation a lot of people lying on hospital beds will die.”

The Coggans have since met their donor’s family. “It’s given the donor’s family some peace and comfort to see three people alive and well because their son was generous enough to donate his heart, lungs and kidneys,” says Lyn.

The idea to attempt the Guinness World Record came from John’s eight year old grandson Tom. He saw a story on an Ukraine farming company setting a seeding world record and said to his father Phillip, “Do you think we could do that. Could we set a world record Dad?”

The challenge has grown into an all-consuming family affair with Phillip’s wife Cindy spending a year organising the event and gaining the necessary permission from Guinness World Records.

Now they are waiting for planting rain before the end of July so they can launch their world record attempt.

To set a world record a team of four will plant non-stop for 24 hours with commercially available equipment. They must cover more than 500 hectares with at least 120 wheat seeds per square meter.

The Coggan’s planting rig consists of a non modified 120 foot Multiplanter. One of the largest of its type in the world it is manufactured by Multi Farming Systems at Banana in Queensland. It will be coupled with a 12000 litre Simplicity Air Seeder and pulled by one of the largest John Deere Tractors, a 9630T, which has 530 horsepower.

The attempt will be monitored by independent adjudicators and also by the world with Telstra setting up a webcam to broadcast the event over the internet.

Phillip Coggan is confident of success. “We should be able to cover 41 hectares an hour.” After a pause he adds, “As long as nothing goes wrong.”

The Coggans called on the machinery companies to “rattle the till” and John Deere, Chesterfield Australia, Multi Farming Systems and Simplicity Australia have all come on board to sponsor the charitable world first event.

The world’s leading food and fibre bank, Rabobank, has also opened an account so the public can contribute to the fund raising attempt through their local branch.

John Coggan hasn’t set a figure for how much they want to raise. “I haven’t set a target because it might be too ambitious or not ambitious enough. But I hope it’s a considerable sum.”

As one of Queensland’s largest grain growers there is confidence in the industry that if anyone can raise money and set a new world record at the same time it will be the Coggan family.

Together John and Lyn, Phillip and Cindy, work closely as a family partnership sharing their passion for life on the land.

Over the years they’ve grown their cropping and cattle business from the original home block of Enarra, where John grew up, to cover nine properties which now support ten working families.

Their progressive style of farming was recognised in 2005 when they were named Queensland’s Graingrowers of the Year.

John is larger than life as he steps off the header after a 12 hour shift on their sorghum harvest. He’s a farmer born and bred. “I love what I do. It’s a challenge. Now I’m back I appreciate it more than ever.”

Tears come to John’s eyes as he talks about walking his youngest daughter, Julie-Ann, down the aisle and seeing his other daughter, Rhonda, present them with their sixth grandchild. “It’s given me the greatest joy because I didn’t think I’d be here to see it.”

He feels indebted to so many people for his current health and well being and is excited that his chance to say a heartfelt thank you is just about to begin.

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