The Grain Research Program (GRP) team (Pfano Mbedzi, Anza Muthabi, Attie de Beer and Dr Mahlane Godfrey Kgatle) embarked on a field trip to the Mpumalanga province during the week of 30 January. The towns that were visited included Amersfort, Amsterdam, Breyten, Carolina, eMalahleni, Ermelo, Hendrina, Middleburg, Piet Retief and Standerton

The purpose of the trip was (i) to screen for pest and diseases on various maize and soybean cultivars planted and (ii) to collect diseased maize and soybean material and soil samples from various (communal, small-holder and commercial) farms in the Mpumalanga region.

The team will make another visit to the same farms later this season to determine the progression of any diseases that were noted. These surveillance field trips aim to build on existing research within the GRP and also determine which pests and diseases will require greater focus and priority in research, with the intention of supporting the South African agricultural industry through research.

We would like to thank all the Grain SA coordinator Mr Jurie Mentz for linking us with the farmers and as well as the farmers for allowing us to survey their grain farms.