The Production Systems division comprises three programmes, namely cultivar evaluation,
crop physiology and conservation agriculture.
The long term objective of the cultivar evaluation programme is to scientifically determine and evaluate the adaptation, yield potential, yield stability, quality and agronomic characteristics of all released small-grain cultivars in all the production regions of South Africa. The results are used to make recommendations to producers and other role-players in the industry through Production Guidelines Booklets, farmer's days, advisor's days, scientific congresses, etc. This programme is a unique service of its kind in South Africa.
The crop physiology programme focuses primarily on aspects such as preharvest sprouting, frost/cold tolerance, crop rotation research, seed physiology, etc. All projects in this programme are conducted on a need-driven basis. In this regard research contracts are also negotiated with private companies wishing to test new products. The division is also responsible for the accredited seed testing laboratory which offers extensive seed testing services.
ARC-SGI focuses currently on the effect of different crop sequences on the growth, yield and quality of wheat in a no-till system. A crop matrix trial design is used to evaluate the rotational effect of several crops under similar weather and soil conditions. If crop sequences can be proven effective at research level, clear guidelines and recommendations can be developed to help wheat producers in implementing conservation agriculture more successfully in the Eastern Free State.
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