The Grain Research Program (GRP) team comprising Dr Mahlane Godfrey Kgatle, Pfano Mbedzi, Lindokuhle Masemola, Alandie Nieuwoudt, Prof. Brett Hurley and FABI Director Prof. Bernard Slippers embarked on a field trip to the Eastern Cape Province, during the week of 6 February. The visited included Cofimvaba (Mthingwevu and Qombolo), Ugie, Upper Tabase, Mveso, Qunu, Qokolweni, Cedarville, Kokstad and Matatiele

The purpose of the trip was (i) to screen for pest and diseases on various maize and soybean farms in the region; (ii) to complete disease scoring and evaluation on maize fields; (iii) and to collect diseased maize and soybean material and soil samples from various (communal, small-holder and commercial) farms in the region.

The team will make three more visits to these farms later this season. These surveillance field trips aim to build on existing research within the GRP and to also determine which pest and diseases to prioritise in future research projects.

We would like to thank all our coordinators (Mr Luke Collier of Grain SA, Ms Yondela Diko, Zandile Cewu and Ms Sisipho of Ukhanyo Farmer Development) for linking us with the farmers and as well as the farmers for allowing access to survey on their grain farms. We would also like to say a special thank you to Proff. Brett Hurley and Bernard Slippers for the joining and supporting the team and also treating the team to perfect braai dinners and fire-baked bread made from scratch.