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Irrigation and Nutrition

    Water availability was identified as one of the top five risks facing our industry in the future. The Western and Eastern Cape provinces are water scarce; climate change is driving a drying trend and competition for water is increasing. The crop production water strategy involves determining how much water highly productive deciduous fruit trees use, conducting research on various water-saving technologies and conducting research to show growers the negative effects of over-irrigation on production and quality.

    We are currently co-funding two projects with the Water Research Commission. These projects are investigating the effect of fixed and draped nets on the water use of apples and the water requirements of high-yielding plum orchards. A new co-funded project will assess the water requirements of high-yielding pear orchards.


    Research Team

    • Prof Stephanie Midgley
    • Prof Nebo Jovanovic
    • Dr Johan van Zyl
    • Dr Eduard Hoffman
    • Dr Sebinasi Dzikiti
    • Dr Elmi Lötze
    • Mr Daniël Viljoen
    • Mr Edward Lulane – PhD student
    • Ms Lindsay Muchena – PhD student
    • Mr Stephen Jordaan – MSc student
    • Mr Ubaidullah Mathews – MSc student

    Projects list

    • Response of apple tree performance and root development to low-flow drip irrigation (J van Zyl and E Hoffman)
    • Investigating the potential of fixed and draped netting technology for increasing water productivity and water savings in full-bearing apple orchards under micro-irrigation (S Midgley, S Dzikiti, E Lötze, E Lulane and S Jordaan) [Abstract]
    • The effect of a water deficit on fruit tree phenology, fruit production, fruit quality and storability of Fuji and Cripps Pink apples (D Viljoen) – See Quality management
    • Water use of high-performing fullbearing Japanese plum (Prunus salicina) in two major production regions of the Western Cape, South Africa (N Jovanovic and U Mathews)
    • Water use of pome and stone fruit: knowledge status, relevance and gap analysis. (C Jarmain, N Tayler, A van Niekerk and N Shongwe) [Abstract]
    • Establishing quantitative relationships between water relations, growth, yield and quality of high performing commercial apple orchards. (S Midgley) – see Rootstocks and nursery tree quality [Abstract]
    • Scientific and practical guide to climate change and pome/stone fruit production in South Africa. (S Midgley) – see Dormancy and also Growing season climate
    • Langkloof Seminar – 24 November 2021
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