Dr Neriman Yilmaz, Jenna-Lee Price and Prof. Mike Wingfield recently visited dairy farmers in the Humansdorp region of the Eastern Cape. This field trip was organised in collaboration with veterinary expert Dr Anthony Davis. The aim of the trip was to gain valuable insights into dairy farming practises in South Africa while also collecting initial grass samples from pastures to investigate the presence of Pseudopithomyces chartarum. A farm was also selected where four spore traps were set up to monitor the spread of P. chartarum spores.

This field trip marks the beginning of a formal research partnership between FABI and Milk SA for the Sporidesmin Induced Liver Disease (SILD) programme, which was officially launched on 8 May. Under the SILD programme, Dr Neriman Yilmaz holds the role of Principal Investigator, Jenna-Lee Price is pursuing her PhD, and Proff Mike Wingfield, Cobus Visagie and Bernard Slippers will serve as co-supervisors. These collection trips will take place monthly for the next three years.

The FABI team would like to express their deep appreciation to the farmers, namely Mrs. Tanya Chilken, Mr. Conrad and Ms. Jolese Vermaak, Mr. Paul Heyns, Oogies, and Mr. Vernon Basson, for graciously allowing them to work closely with them over the next three years. And to Dr Anthony Davis for his invaluable assistance throughout this trip.