Research Report 2017/2018
  1. Projects financed 2017-2018

    1. Evaluation of PRF soybean elite lines under South African conditions

      GP De Beer and WF van Wyk
      Contractors, Protein Research Foundation

      During the past season (2017-2018), only two institutions participated in the soybean elite trials. They were EEAOC (Argentina) and EMBRAPA (Brazil).

      Forty-five (45) lines obtained from these two institutions were compared to five (5) South African cultivars at six (6) localities in South Africa. The six localities were representative of the most prominent soybean growing areas in the country.

      The planting dates were as follows: Potchefstroom (30 October 2017); Bethlehem (1 November 2017); Stoffberg (1 November 2017); Ukulinga (10 November 2017); Atlanta (22 November 2017) and Pretoria (UP) (24 November 2017).

      The maturity groups (MG) of the 45 lines varied between MG 4,0 and MG 7,0. The five registered cultivars were in the groups MG 4,0, MG 4, MG 4,5, MG 6,0 and MG 7,2.

      Grain yields of more than 5,0 tons per hectare were achieved and only a few lines rendered higher yields than the registered cultivars. Six of the EEAOC lines and three of the EMBRAPA lines were selected for further tests by Sensako, aimed at possible registration as cultivars.

      Apart from the grain yield, valuable physiological characteristics such as flower colour, growth pattern (determinate or indeterminate), leaf shape, lodging percentage, shattering percentage and other were recorded. These characteristics are used in association with grain yield when selecting cultivars.

      This project has been terminated and will not be repeated in the forthcoming season. Positive results were achieved, with five lines registered as cultivars, and another four lines being considered for registration. Additional lines are being tested by Sensako, aimed at submission for registration.

    2. Studies on Lecanicillium muscarium as a mycoparasite of the soybean rust fungus, Phakopsora pachyrhizi, and its use as a biocontrol agent against soybean rust

      KS Yobo
      University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)

      In this study, a Isolate N-08, a mycoparasitic fungus, was isolated from Assagay coffee farm, Cato Ridge, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, where it was observed parasitising Hemileia vastatrix, the causal agent of coffee rust. Based on morphological and molecular studies the Isolate N-08 was identified as Lecanicillium muscarium and it was deposited into the National collection of fungi (Accession number PPRI 13715).

      Co-inoculation studies of L. muscarium and P. pachyrhizi were done in the UKZN Plant Pathology disease garden. The Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM) observation of the interactions showed a mycophilic attraction of L. muscarium to P. pachyrhizi urediniospores. Long L. muscarium phialides were observed penetrating and wrapping tightly around P. pachyrhizi urediniospores.

      In vitro studies to test the effect of the L. muscarium strain N-08 on P. pachyrhizi, the soybean rust fungus, were done. L. muscarium strain N-08 was observed colonising P. pachyrhizi under light microscope and ESEM. Laboratory experiments were conducted to assess the effects of different growing conditions (temperatures, artificial growing media, natural substrates and UV radiation) on colony growth and conidia production. Optimisation of growing conditions is one of the essential aspects which must be taken into consideration to produce an effective biocontrol agent. L. muscarium strain N-08 grows best at temperatures between 21 to 25ºC. The highest radial growth was observed at 24ºC (46.54mm). V8 juice agar was the best media for colony growth with the mean value of 42.75mm followed by SDA with 37.86mm. When the isolates were exposed to UV light, the results did not show a significant difference between different media on mycelia growth. The highest conidia production occurred on millet cereal (4.2 x 109 conidia/ml) followed by wheat bran (3.2 x 109 conidia/ml) and pearled barley (2.9 x 109 conidia/ml).

      The optimal dose level for disease control was assessed in the greenhouse and in field trials. It was found that 106 and 108 conidia/ml was more effective and 106 conidia/ml was chosen as the optimum dose for the field application.

      Effect of L. muscarium against soybean rust was evaluated in the field. Two field experimental trials (2014-2015 and 2015-2016) were run at Ukulinga Research Farm. Compared to the pathogen inoculated control, all of the three L. muscarium doses (104, 106, 108 conidia/ml) and the fungicide control (Score) decreased disease severity by 73.3%, 88.2%, 89.1%, and 90% respectively. The Area Under the Disease Progress Curve (AUDPC) for the treatments were as follows: 1st trial, Score (172.2 units), 108 conidia/ml (186.2 units), 106 conidia/ml (202.16 units), 104 (457.8 units) and pathogen inoculated control (1 716.8 units). 2nd trial, score (259.7 units), 108 (284.9 units), 106 (319.9 units), 104 (462.7 units) and the pathogen inoculated control (1 053.5 units). Treated plots showed higher yield increase compared to the pathogen inoculated pathogen. However, dry seed weight did not significantly differ between the L. muscarium strain N-08 treated and Score fungicide treated plots.

    3. Chemical manipulation of vegetative growth, reproductive development and grain yield in canola

      GA Agenbag
      Stellenbosch University

      Canola (Brassica napus L.) is one of the most important sources of plant oil in the world and is rapidly becoming an important crop in South Africa as well. Despite yield per hectare increases during recent years due to the introduction of hybrid cultivars and improved production techniques, yield per hectare is still low compared to leading world producers such as Canada.

      Lower than expected yields may be the result of several factors such as low and uneven plant populations, insect pests, poor plant nutrition management and weed control as well as harvesting losses. The highest yields in South Africa are achieved with early plantings on high fertility sites, but this practice often produces bulky crops, which when combined with high plant populations may result in lodging during pod development.

      Research done in Australia showed that shorter plants are much more resistant to lodging than taller plants. By shortening the stem and changing the canopy structure with the use of plant growth regulators (PGR's), an even, compact pod canopy can be produced. As a result, competition for assimilates and light can be reduced, ripening will be more uniform, pod shattering will be reduced, and harvesting will be more efficient.

      No PGR's are at present registered for use in canola in the RSA, but preliminary research done recently with the PGR's Primo Maxx® and Moddus® as well as liquid seaweed extract (Kelpak®) showed promising results in both pot and field trails.

      For this reason two sets of field trials were conducted during the period 2015 to 2017 at 3 localities in the Swartland (2) and Southern Cape (1) canola producing areas. In the Swartland, a high rainfall locality, Altona, with a long term annual rainfall of 645mm and a medium rainfall locality, Langgewens (473mm annually), were used while Roodebloem (563mm annually) represented the climatic conditions in the Southern Cape. Two trials were conducted at each site. In the first, five spraying treatments, namely an unsprayed control compared to Kelpak® (liquid seaweed extract) at 2.0 and 4.0 L ha-1 and Moddus® (trinexapac-ethyl) at 0.4 and 0.8 L ha-1 were tested with the spraying treatments done at budding stage (start of stem elongation) or at budding and start of flowering. The different application rates represent the recommended and double the recommended rates. In the second set of trials the above mentioned spraying treatments were done in combination with two plant densities, namely a low density (30-40 plants m-2) and a high density (> 70 plants m-2).

      In the Swartland two extremely dry years (2015 and 2017) were experienced during the experimental period (2015-2017), while below average but well distributed rainfall was recorded in 2016. Rainfall at the Southern Cape locality of Roodebloem was close to the long term average during all experimental years.

      In spite of generally poor growing conditions, in the Swartland especially, due to low rainfall during 2015, the chemical manipulation of canola growth with the use of Moddus® and Kelpak® showed very promising results. Moddus® as a plant growth regulator reduces plant height, while both chemicals stimulated reproductive growth as measured by the number of flowering stems and pods per plant. As a result, grain yields were also increased. Although no clear trends with regard to the effect of dosage rate, time of application and density of the canola crop were shown, results supported the findings of research conducted in Australia. Unfortunately, these promising results were not repeated during 2016 and especially 2017, indicating that results due to the application of these chemical might be very inconsistent.

    4. Nitrogen topdressings in canola; time of application and rates

      GA Agenbag
      Stellenbosch University

      Previous research projects in the Western Cape showed that application rates of 80-120kg of N/ha and 15-30/kg S/ha are needed to produce canola grain yields of more than 2.0 tons/ha in soil with low organic C contents. These high fertiliser requirements increase production costs and often make nitrogen and sulphur fertilisation the most costly production factor in canola.

      The efficiency of applications is affected by soil properties and climatic conditions and very importantly by time of application. Research done in Canada showed that although the nitrogen uptake by canola is the highest from the 5-leaf to 50% flower (which in the Western Cape is reached at 80-90 days after planting), uptake remains high till 50% podded stage (120-130 days after planting). These results indicated that nitrogen topdressing during the flowering stage of canola may be important in high yielding canola crops.

      In order to determine optimum nitrogen application strategies for different soil and climatic conditions, field trials were conducted during 2015 to 2017 at 3 localities in the Swartland (2) and Southern Cape (1) canola producing areas. Four nitrogen rates namely 60, 90, 120 and 150kg N/ha were tested, with 20kg N/ha applied at planting and the remaining nitrogen applied as a single top dressing at 30 days after planting (dap); divided between 30 and 60 dap or divided between 30, 60 and 90 dap (full flowering stage). Control plots did not receive any nitrogen fertiliser.

      In contrast to 2015 and 2017 when extremely low rainfall was experienced, most canola producing areas in the Western Cape experienced rainfall during the 2016 growing season which was close to the long term average. These conditions together with generally low maximum temperatures during September resulted in high canola grain yields. Mean yields in trials varied between 1 681kg/ha at Langgewens (low rainfall locality) to 3 300kg/ha at the high rainfall locality of Altona. In the Southern Cape (Roodebloem locality) a mean yield of 1 877kg/ha was recorded.

      At the high rainfall locality of Altona, the highest yield of 3 420kg/ha was obtained with a nitrogen application of 120kg/ha, of which 20kg/N ha was applied at planting and the rest (100kg/N) divided between 30 and 60 days after planting.

      At Roodebloem, the highest yield of 2228 kg/ha was also obtained with 120kg/N ha, but at this locality it was achieved with only one topdressing at 30 days after planting. At Langgewens (low rainfall locality), the highest grain yield of 1779 kg/ha was obtained with only 90kg/N ha, but with topdressings at 30, 60 and 90 days after planting.

      During the low rainfall years of 2015 and 2017, the application of different nitrogen application rates and times of application had very little effect on the grain yield of canola.

    5. Grain Yield Competition for canola 2017

      GA Agenbag
      Stellenbosch University

      The 2017 growing season for canola will certainly be remembered by especially canola producers in the Swartland area as one of the most difficult ones. The rainy season not only started late, but rainfall was also extremely low. Canola producers however showed that canola can be a winner even under these difficult conditions.

      Mr Andries Louw, farmer at Sondagsfontein outside the town of Durbanville won the Swartland competition, while the Southern Cape competition was for the second successive year won by Mr Pieter Beukes from Yahshua Boerdery near Caledon.

      Given the very low rainfall received, Mr Louw obtained an excellent grain yield of 2,215 ton per hectare on a field of 54,7 hectare growing the DuPont-Pioneer canola cultivar 45Y88. Mr Beukes, not only won for the second successive year but, as in 2016, harvested more than 3,0 ton per hectare. He produced his winning yield of 3,159 ton per hectare on a field of 35 hectare with the cultivar 45Y88.

      In spite of very harsh conditions, fifty percent of the six competitors in the Swartland produced grain yields of more than 1,8 ton per hectare, while 10 out of the twelve competitors in the Southern Cape produced grain yields of more than 2,00 ton per hectare.

    6. Canola technology transfer

      GA Agenbag
      Stellenbosch University

      The timely transfer of technology and information on the production of canola is very important to ensure that producers are optimising their production techniques to obtain maximum yields. For this reason canola information days are organised annually by the PRF. During 2018, the fourth annual canola information day was held during February for agricultural advisors of the agro-chemical industry and for the first time a few interested canola producers were also allowed to attend. The program for the day included a range of production-related subjects, but special attention was given to integrated weed control and the harmful effect of herbicide residue that can remain in the soil after having been applied to previously grown crops. The harmful effect of these residues may go unnoticed, while having a decreasing effect on the canola yield potential.

    7. An evaluation of continuous cash crop production (including small grains, canola and other alternative broadleaf crops) under conservation agriculture principles on the high potential soils of the Riversdale Flats

      JA Strauss
      Western Cape Department of Agriculture

      2017 was the sixth year of production in the trial. Six cash crop systems were tested, including shortened canola rotations and cover crops. Riversdale received very little summer rainfall which resulted in a very dry start to the 2017 production season. Only 35mm fell from January to the end of April. In 2017 a new weather station was installed at the research site which is managed by the Department of Agriculture. A total of 126mm rain was received from April to the end of September.

      Wheat production

      SST0127 was planted at Riversdale at 79kg/ha. A total of 53kg N/ha was applied to each plot (23kg N/ha at planting and 30kg N/ha topdressing). Wheat yields at Riversdale averaged 1 444kg/ha. This was 2 943kg/ha less than in 2016.

      Canola production

      Atomic TT was planted at Riversdale at 3,8kg/ha. A total of 25kg N/ha was applied to each plot. All the nitrogen was supplied at plant and no topdressings were made due to the climatic conditions. Canola yields at Riversdale averaged 1 211kg/ha. The oil content was just below 40% at all the plots.

      Barley production

      Agulhas was planted at Riversdale at 62kg/ha. Barley yields at Riversdale averaged 1 211kg/ha. This average yield was 2 933kg/ha less than in 2016. Yields varied between 765kg/ha and 1 431kg/ha.

      Lupin production

      Mandelup was available and was planted at Riversdale at 100kg/ha. No lupin plots were harvested due to poor germination and weed problems in the very low rainfall year.

      Cover crops

      Saia oats and a bitter lupin mix was planted at Riversdale at 29kg/ha and 100kg/ha, respectively. No other input cost was incurred during the season except the herbicide cost to kill the cover crop.


      Although 2017 proved to be a very poor production year, all systems tested show a positive gross margin above directly allocated production costs.

    8. Development and evaluation of protein and phosphorous feed ingredients from fish processing by-products

      N Goosen
      Stellenbosch University

      The research in this project aimed to develop technology to transform low value fish by-products into higher value and high quality protein and phosphorous animal feed ingredients, and to evaluate the performance of these ingredients in animal feeding studies. Optimal utilisation of limited marine resources is increasingly seen as a way of improving sustainability measures and increasing economic returns from the available resource. South Africa, which has rich fisheries resources, can benefit from unlocking the economic potential from its natural fish stocks and thereby contribute to growth in the agricultural sector and wider economy.

      The final year of the project focused on evaluating two feed ingredients which were developed in the first three years of the project, in actual animal trials: hydrolysed fish protein and calcium phosphate minerals. These ingredients were evaluated as dietary sources of protein and phosphates, using the African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) as model species. Findings were very promising and it was shown that both ingredients can sustain high animal production efficiency, and that the hydrolysed proteins have additional benefits in that animal immunity is improved. The findings confirm the technical feasibility of the approach to derive value-added feed ingredients from low-value fish processing by-products, and future studies will aim to take the technology to pilot scale and to determine economic viability of the technology.

      The results from the project have been well received so far. The quality and relevance of the work was acknowledged during two international conferences during 2017 (World Aquaculture in Cape Town, June 2017, and Aquaculture Europe in Dubrovnik, Croatia, October 2017), and interaction with other researchers and industry in this field has been positive. Currently, two peer reviewed journal publications are under review in leading international journals, and a further two publications are planned for submission before the end of 2018. The project resulted in the successful graduation of three postgraduate students, and in generating significant new knowledge in the field of by-product utilisation in the South African context.

    9. Management strategies for soybean soilborne diseases in South Africa

      YT Tewoldemedhin and SC Lamprecht
      ARC Research Institute for Plant Protection

      Seed treatment is a very important part of integrated management strategies against soilborne diseases of field crops. Surveys conducted in the major soybean production areas during 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 showed that many important soilborne pathogens are present in soybeans in South Africa. Many of these pathogens, such as species within Fusarium, Pythium and Rhizoctonia, affect seedling survival and establishment of soybean crops. In order to protect seedlings against these pathogens, glasshouse trials were conducted during 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 to evaluate fungicide seed treatments against damping-off and root rot caused by the most important soilborne pathogens. Three of the most effective treatments were selected for evaluation under field conditions. The current study therefore included the evaluation of the seed treatments Evergol (TR1), Celest XL+Apron XL (TR2), Maxim Quatro (TR3) and untreated seed (TR4) on three soybean cultivars viz DM 6.8i.RR, PAN 1454R and SSS 5052 in the cool (Bethlehem), moderate (Potchefstroom) and warm (Groblersdal) production areas. The field trials at Groblersdal and Potchefstroom were irrigated and the trial at Bethlehem was planted under dryland conditions. Soil was also collected from the trials to conduct similar tests under glasshouse conditions to evaluate the seed treatments on the three cultivars. The survival of seedlings at the three localities was recorded six weeks after planting. Seed treatment did not significantly affect survival of seedlings at each locality, however survival rates of seedlings from untreated seed at Bethlehem and Potchefstroom was lower than survival recorded for the other treatments. In non-pasteurised soil from Bethlehem and Potchefstroom under glasshouse conditions, all three treatments (TR1, TR2 and TR3) significantly improved survival of seedlings, but in Groblersdal soil there was no significant difference in survival of seedlings from untreated seed compared to seed treated with the different treatments. Although the survival of seedlings was highest six weeks after planting at Groblersdal, the grain yields were highest at Potchefstroom. It therefore appears that survival of seedlings is not always correlated with yield under field conditions and that other factors also affect yield. However, all three seed treatments increased grain yield at Bethlehem and Groblersdal and only TR1 increased yield with 2,1% at Potchefstroom. The increases in grain yield at Bethlehem were 15,3% (TR1), 13,9% (TR2) and 14,0% (TR3), and at Groblersdal yield increases were 22,2% (TR1), 11,6% (TR2) and 5,0% (TR3). Although these increases were not statistically significant, they are biologically significant and not only show the huge impact that seed treatments can have on yield, but also show that the same seed treatment can have a different effect at different localities. Treatment of seed with Evergol (TR1) significantly reduced growth of seedlings under glasshouse conditions, especially on seedlings younger than two weeks old. There were differences in the sensitivity of cultivars to growth reduction, with PAN 1454R being more sensitive than the other two cultivars. However, despite the growth reduction in young seedlings, this seed treatment proved to be very effective in improving survival of seedlings and grain yield and also appears to be more effective for the control of Fusarium species that are pathogens of soybean seedlings than Celest XL + Apron XL (TR2). Soil pasteurisation and seed treatments TR1, TR2 and TR3 significantly reduced cotyledon and root rot severity for all three cultivars under glasshouse conditions. Treated seed plated to determine the effect of seed treatments on the incidence of seedborne fungi showed that, of the seven potential pathogens isolated from untreated seed, Colletotrichum spp. could still be isolated from TR1 and TR2 treated seed and Fusarium equiseti and Diaporthe longicolla from TR2 treated seed. Surface disinfestation eliminated many of the seedborne fungi, however, Colletotrichum spp., F. equiseti, F. verticillioides and D. longicolla could still be isolated from surface disinfested seed. It is also important to note that fungi that were seedborne such as Colletotrichum spp., F. verticillioides and P. longicolla were often isolated at higher frequencies from seedlings planted in pasteurised compared to non-pasteurised soil which demonstrates the transmission of these pathogens from seed to seedlings. It is well-known that there is a complex of soilborne pathogens that affect soybean in field soil and that these complexes differ in different production areas and are affected by different soils and climatic conditions. From the results it is also clear that there were cultivar by seed treatment interactions for certain parameters, indicating that certain treatments may be more beneficial to certain cultivars than others and certain seed treatments are better suited to certain production areas than others. The challenge was to identify a seed treatment that will benefit establishment and yield of most cultivars in most production areas under both dryland and irrigation systems. Although all three seed treatments improved grain yield of soybean under dryland (Bethlehem) and irrigation (Groblersdal) conditions, treatments TR1 and TR2 seemed to be more effective in increasing grain yield than TR3 and can contribute significantly to management of soilborne pathogens of soybean and therefore sustainable production of soybean in South Africa.

    10. Performance of a dual disc and tine planter, soil quality, residue management and rate of nitrogen placement with seed for canola production

      PA Swanepoel, PJG le Roux and GA Agenbag
      Stellenbosch University

      Canola is an important crop for farmers implementing conservation agriculture (CA). Farmers implementing CA seek to minimise soil disturbance before, during and after planting. Although most farmers rely on tine openers to establish canola, disc openers are becoming more popular. Soil quality in these canola production areas is relatively low. The aim of this study was to compare tine and disc openers and the effects of soil quality and crop residue on canola production. Trials were conducted in 2016 and 2017 at Langgewens Research Farm in the Swartland. Contrary to what was expected, no difference in disturbance was recorded between tine and disc openers, so if the aim is to minimise soil disturbance, either a tine or disc opener can be used. During the first year of the trial the opener had an effect on canola plant population, while during the second year no differences between treatments were recorded. Tine openers performed better on high quality soil, while disc openers performed better on low quality soil. Residue can become a problem when establishing canola with both the tine and disc openers, and establishment was the best at low residue levels. The poorer canola establishment with the disc opener during 2016 might be due to fertiliser application as fertiliser was applied with seeding, which may have caused chemical injury to the seed. Overall the tine opener produced more biomass than the disc opener during the first year of the trial, while similar biomass production was achieved during the second year. Treatments had no effect on thousand seed mass (TSM) in 2016, while in 2017 a higher TSM was obtained on low quality soil with high residue levels than on high quality soil with low residue levels. The treatments had no effect on yield in both 2016 and 2017. For validation of small plot trial data, similar treatments were conducted on field scale, comparable to the farmer's situation. Results from these fields confirmed the results from the small plots.

    11. Projected protein requirements for animal consumption in South Africa

      D Strydom¹, W de Jager¹ and E Briedenhann²
      ¹ University of the Free State / ² Protein Research Foundation


      The Protein Research Foundation's (PRF) main objective is the replacement of imported protein with domestically produced protein. After investigating numerous alternatives for many years, the focus changed to where the largest impact could be made namely soybeans and canola.

      The growth in the domestic availability of oilcake is a good measure by which the PRF could ascertain if it was achieving its objectives, by way of supporting the industry with research, new technology and technology transfer. In order for the PRF to continue to emulate the great progress that has been made and still meet future targets they require the projections of future oilcake demands and what will be required to obtain self-sufficiency.


      On the local market, South Africa progressed in terms of substituting imported soya oilcake with local oilcake. South Africa produced 69% of the total requirement in 2017; in 2007 this was only at a 27% level. In terms of total oilcake the local share in consumption increased from 37% in 2007 to 72% in 2017. It is projected that the local share will increase to 82% in 2020 and 87% in 2026.

      Historical usages of total oilcake (Local and imported soybeans processed in South Africa)
      Year Local Oilcake (ton) Total Oilcake (ton) Local %
      2001 454 192 1 021 862 44
      2002 482 448 1 149 224 42
      2003 472 312 1 210 396 39
      2004 489 413 1 121 460 44
      2005 416 736 1 212 593 34
      2006 572 231 1 414 338 40
      2007 608 370 1 635 525 37
      2008 494 557 1 758 185 28
      2009 565 181 1 664 927 34
      2010 701 030 1 743 137 49
      2011 624 912 1 857 391 34
      2012 766 927 1 856 360 41
      2013 760 321 1 877 671 40
      2014 913 356 1 889 979 48
      2015 1 197 604 1 914 330 63
      2016 1 238 120 1 965 291 63
      2017 1 300 865 1 798 372 72

      The increase in local oilcake production from locally produced soybeans will make South Africa increasingly self-sufficient in protein requirements.

      Local vs imported soya oilcake
      Year Local Soya Oilcake Local Soybean Total Soya Oilcake Local Soya % Local
      (From local soybeans) ton Production (required) ton Requirements ton Production (required) ton self-sufficiency
      2017 731 913 914 891 1 127 098 1 408 872 64.9
      2020 1 138 666 1 423 332 1 425 515 1 781 893 79.8
      2026 1 248 353 1 560 441 1 454 144 1 817 680 85.5

      Oilcake requirements in South Africa are estimated at 1 798 372 tons in 2017 versus a local production of 1 300 865 tons locally produced or 72% of desired requirements.

      Soya oilcake produced in South Africa in 2017 provided 64,9% of the country's soya oilcake requirements. The growth in oilcake consumption decreased mainly due to a lag effect of the drought but more importantly the outbreak of bird flu, which has decreased a large amount of layer birds and consequently layer feed.

      According to the model, feed requirements will increase to 13 152 948 tons in 2026 and 12 767 149 tons in 2020 from the base of 11 137 923 tons. Oilcake requirements will increase from 1 798 372 tons to 2 135 339 in 2020 and 2 212 549 tons in 2026. Soya oilcake requirements will reach 1 425 515 tons by the year 2020 and 1 454 144 tons by 2026.

      Estimates from BFAP of soybean production indicate that self-sufficiency will increase to 85,5% by 2026 because of soybean production increasing to 1,6 million tons. In order for 100% self-sufficiency in oilcake consumption a production of 1,8 million tons soybeans is required. Keep in mind that this is for soya oilcake production and excludes the full fat consumption. This is purely based on supply and demand, which excludes factors such as logistical challenges and feed consumption preferences.

      Growth in self-sufficiency in terms of soya oilcake

      Growth in self-sufficiency in terms of soya oilcake


      South African feed consumption decreased drastically in 2017, mainly due to the lag effect of the drought but more importantly the outbreak of bird flu within the borders of South Africa. However, given the major increase in production of local soybeans self-sufficiency also increased drastically. In terms of total oilcake consumption, South Africa's level of self-sufficiency currently stands at 69%. This is expected to increase to 87% in 2026, indicating the progress South Africa is making in substituting imports.

      Self-sufficiency of total oilcake and oilcake
      2017 2020 2026
      Total Oilcake 72% 82% 87%
      Soya Oilcake 69% 82% 87%
    12. Research, remedial measures technique, soya plantings, Bothaville and Rustenburg, South Africa

      SA Oosthuyse
      Hort Research SA

      The technique as previously explained was again carried out on the farms of Ferdi Meyer (Rustenburg) and Jan Botma (Bothaville). There was a difference in that plants were removed from the plantings once the beans were close to maturity. Groups of plants differing in size were removed along a line through each stand. Soil occupied by the roots was also removed. This was done at 20 sites per stand. The plants were analysed for performance parameters, including bean yield, pod yield, root dry weight and plant dry weight. Application of the technique yielded the following results:

      • Ferdi Meyer, Rustenburg

        Here bean yield was strongly related to and positively correlated with exchangeable soil potassium levels. Cation exchange capacity and soil manganese levels also correlated with bean yield. There was the indication that magnesium levels in the soil were negatively affecting performance. High soil magnesium concentration is an inherent problem of the growing region. The effect of increasing soil K to 200kg/mg is to be assessed next season, as well as the application of micro-nutrient adherents to the potassium granules applied.

      • Jan Botma, Bothaville

        The soil at this stand is practically sand. In considering bean yield, the analyses indicated a relationship with cation exchange capacity and soil zinc levels. Coated (adherent) micro element granule fertiliser application is to be recommended, as well as spreading fertilisation over the growing period, in view of poor nutrient retention by the soil (sand). The effect of these adjustments is to be assessed next season.

    13. The influence of planting date and row width on recommended planting density and yield of soya beans in the North Eastern Free State

      JP van Zyl
      Department of Agricultural Development, VKB

      Participating farmers and trial localities

      Experimental site summary

      • Izak Dreyer
        • 2 x row widths: 0.38 m and 0.76 m
        • 1 x planting date: early
        • 4 x plant densities: 100 000, 200 000, 270 000,400 000 plants/ha
        • 4 x cultivars
          • SSS 4945 (NIG 4.5)
          • SSS 5449 (MG 5)
          • SSS 6560 (MG 6)
          • SSS 5202 (MG 5.2)
      • Jaco van Dyk
        • 1 x row widths: 0.76m
        • 1 x planting date: early
        • 4 x plant densities: 200 000, 300 000, 400 000, 500 000 plants/ha
        • 3 x cultivars
          • SSS 4945 (MG 4.5)
          • SSS 5449 (MG 5)
          • SSS 6560 (MG 6)
      • SW Graaff
        • 2 x row widths: 0.30 m and 0.60 in
        • 2 x planting dates: early and late
        • 4 x plant densities: 200 000, 300 000, 400 000, 600 000 plant/ha
        • 4 x cultivars
          • SSS 4945 (MG 4.5)
          • SSS 5449 (MG 5)
          • SSS 6560 (MG 6)
          • SSS 5202 (MG 5.2)
      • Results

        All trials were harvested, and yields determined. Final processing of results will be done when the statistical analysis is made available.

    14. Income and cost budgets for summer and winter crops in South Africa

      D van der Westhuizen
      The Bureau for Food en Agricultural Policy (BFAP)


      The Protein Research Foundation (PRF), Grain South Africa (GSA) and the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) currently have their individual cost of production programs which focus on the key summer and winter crops produced in South Africa's key agro-ecological zones. Given the existing activities associated within the organisations and the extent of the coverage of South African agricultural production, it is envisaged that by collaboration and integration of existing activities by the PRF, GSA and BFAP will add immense value to the individual organisations' annual output. The main objective is hence to consolidate the three programs, generate comprehensive crop income and cost budgets for the key summer and winter growing regions and lastly to generate sensitivity analysis for these crops based on the latest macroeconomic trends, BFAP Baseline underlying assumptions and international and domestic updates.

      In 2017, winter crop income and cost budgets were generated and submitted in April 2017. Thereafter, a number of stakeholder engagements occurred to refine methodology and output. A similar exercise was conducted for the summer crops and the BFAP team met with the Soybean Work Group members. In September, a first draft of the income and cost budgets was circulated among the soybean workgroup. The budgets should be finalised by beginning October.

      Specific objectives

      Generate crop income and cost budgets for key summer grains and oilseeds in selected regions in South Africa: Dryland: Mpumalanga/ Eastern Highveld, Eastern Free State, Northern and Western Free State, North West and KwaZulu-Natal. Irrigation: Northern Cape, Brits, Limpopo and Bergville. Generate crop income- and cost budgets for key winter grains and oilseeds in selected regions in South Africa: Dryland: Eastern Free State, Southern Cape and Western Cape. Irrigation: Northern Cape, Brits, Limpopo and Bergville. Generate sensitivity analysis for the above identified crops based on the latest market trends and projections.

    15. PRF website

      M du Preez and Y Papadimitropoulos
      Protein Research Foundation and

      The website of the Protein Research Foundation is a dynamic, growing source of technology transfer for both producers and researchers alike.

      Currently, the website hosts a total of 908 pages. This number does not include additional dynamically created pages, such as the Research Database Index sections, where visitors "create" new pages according to each respective index link clicked. If counted, these additional "pages" will put the total number of website pages very close to the 1,000 mark.

      Specific attention was given to ensure that website content is mobile-first, meaning that content can be read just as easily on the screens of mobile devices as on large computer monitors.

      This was a complicated task since many pages on the PRF website contains data driven information, often with complex data tables that had to be re-interpreted for mobile screens.

      Search functionality

      The built-in search functionality on the website has been markedly improved. Visitors have full access to all content published and can easily search through the hundreds of pages for specific content, research projects, publications or the names of researchers. Search results are returned categorised by Projects, Researchers, General Content and News.

      Marketing via SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

      Although time was invested during 2017-2018 to update SEO meta info – unique page titles, page descriptions and keywords of each page – to improve search engine visibility, more attention will be given to prepare the website for emerging trends and technologies.

      In previous years it was enough to program simple, single keywords to provide quick information to search engine spiders about pages and help them return accurate search results. Over the past two years the keyword system has morphed into what is known as long-tail keywords: longer and more distinct keyword phrases specific to a particular page that visitors are more likely to use when doing a search.

      Lately, the focus shifted from keywords – even long-tail ones – to page content as search engines are "taught" through algorithms to read and interpret actual page content, rather than just compare a set of meta keywords. A major SEO trend predicted to start in the 2018-2019 period and gaining momentum in 2019-2020 is the move by search engines to suggest results based on a visitor's browsing habits. This trend makes it more important than ever to implement correct terminology and phraseology as part of the written page content.

      Visitor statistics
      Reporting Year Unique Visitors
      Raw values Google values
      Visitors Pages Pages per visit
      2004 1 691
      2005 3 285
      2006 4 552
      2007 5 404 3 041 10 838 2.79
      2008 11 104 5 274 18 829 2.82
      2009 10 194 6 610 27 341 3.18
      2010 11 812 6 054 23 347 2.98
      2011 12 357 5 511 24 258 3.29
      2012 16 306 6 909 28 206 3.12
      2013 54 739 8 767 34 284 2.97
      2014 54 590 10 189 39 363 3.03
      2015 35 653 12 519 45 078 3.60
      2016 31 674 8 733 53 811 4.47
      2017 49 417 6 901 20 514 2.18

      Google values show a rapid decline in page views since the upgraded website has been launched. This is due to the fact that the website menu was changed from a static menu system to a dynamic menu system. With the static menu system the visitor generated a page view with each click of a menu item when opening up sub-levels of website sections. This resulted in Google statistics showing high page views (clicks). The new menu system eliminates "false" page views, giving a more accurate representation of visitor behaviour.

      The future and the web

      The World Wide Web is on the tip of a major technological evolution from screen based viewing to interactive worlds. We will see more and more integration with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) as visitors will be immersed in a 3D world where content will be displayed in digitally created environs.

      Push notifications – those card-like blocks that pop up in the bottom-right corner of your computer screen – will be an important feature in this digital landscape where users opt-in to receive timely updates from sites they subscribe to, allowing the website owner to effectively re-engage them with customised, relevant content. This feature will greatly benefit the Protein Research Foundation, since website content is updated on a regular basis.