Dr Robert Mangani



Postdoctoral Fellow

Department

Plant and Soil Sciences
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My current study aims at investigating the impact of late maize plantings in South Africa and its association with late rain, and other extreme weather events. The impact of late maize planting dates on the crop’s growth, development, health and grain production will be assessed using both tested and new technologies. The study also aims at contributing to the current predictive models based on planting date and highlighting risk factors.

I did my PhD studies at University of Pretoria, and I was working on a European Union funded project (MODEXTREME-Modelling vegetation response to Extreme Events). In my  studies, I investigated the impact of extreme weather events on maize (Zea mays L.) crop in South Africa using crop simulation models. An existing and modified version of the CropSyst model were tested under simulated field extreme events. The modified version, which included modules to simulate crop response to extreme weather events, predicted crop response to extreme events with greater accuracy. My findings showed that with the improved CropSyst version, extreme weather events such as drought and heatwaves under climate change may add remarkable pressure on maize production in South Africa. Results form my study had a practical application in terms of drafting food security policy as the current policies developed using existing modelling solutions could overestimate projected productions up to 25% leading to over confidence and food insecurity in the future.

My research interests include; agronomy, agro-meteorology, crop modelling, climate change, rural development and food security. I have great passion on working with projects that are community based and answers problems that are facing farmers (especially subsistence farmers).

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Publication
Mangani R, Tesfamariam E, Engelbrecht CJ, Bellocchi G, Hassen A, Mangani T. (2019) Potential impacts of extreme weather events in main maize (Zea mays L.) producing areas of South Africa under rainfed conditions. Regional Environmental Change 10.1007/s10113-019-01486-8
Mangani R, Tesfamariam E, Bellocchi G, Hassen A. (2018) Growth, Development, Leaf Gaseous Exchange, and Grain Yield Response of Maize Cultivars to Drought and Flooding Stress . Sustainability 10(3492) 10.3390/su10103492
Mangani R, Tesfamariam E, Bellocchi G, Hassen A. (2018) Modelled impacts of extreme heat and drought on maize yield in South Africa. Crop & Pasture Science 69:703-716. 10.1071/CP18117