The Grain Research Program (GRP) team comprising MSc student, Alice Mthembu, and Drs David Nsibo and Mahlane Godfrey Kgatle), in collaboration with the University of the Free State’s Department of Plant Sciences team (Proff Cornel Bender and Willem Boshoff) embarked on a field trip to the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. They visited Cofimvaba (Mthingwevu and Qombolo), Ugie, Thabase, Qokolweni, Cedarville, Kokstad, Matatiele and Pietermaritzburg, during the week of 21-26 February. 

The purpose of the trip was threefold: to collect diseased maize material and soil samples from various communal, small-holder and commercial farms in the Eastern Cape and in KwaZulu-Natal; to screen and score for diseases on various maize genotypes planted as part of a cultivar trial at Rocky Park Farm; and to collect weather data from the GRP weather station that was installed at Rocky Park Farm. The team will continue to visit Rocky Park and many other farms in the Eastern Cape to monitor fields as part of various projects in the GRP.

We would like to thank all the co-ordinators: Zandile Cewu, Lawrence Luthango, Sineliwe Fakade, Yondela Diko, Mveleli Mhlonishwa, Luke Collier, Zovuyo, Thulani Ncebisi and Jack Pickering, who guided us through the farms.