Producers’ days and trial visits in 2019

September typically is an extremely busy month for the grain programmes at CenGen. During this month, rust season peaks in Greytown, Natal, where our wheat trials are planted at the Corteva AgriscienceTM trial site, and at the same time the producers’ days season kicks off in the Western Cape with the flowering of the grains. Many kilometres were travelled by various groupings of the CenGen staff working on wheat and barley. Here is a bird’s eye view of what we’ve been up to.

At CenGen we like to inform people of what we’re doing – be it fellow scientists or the public. Driecus Lesch from Sensako once again provided us with the opportunity to present short talks at the three main producers’ days in the Western Cape. We gave a short overview of how CenGen has assisted Sensako in the MSL programme over the past 8 years to introgress useful traits into their breeding programme and to accelerate cultivar breeding.

South African Breweries (SAB) inaugurated their new Research and Development Centre at their experimental farm outside Caledon on 12 September. It was a grand day with several VIPs attending the event – amongst others Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Mr Mcebisi Skwatsha. As a research partner of SABBI and a beneficiary of SAB and AB InBev Public Interest Commitments (PIC) programme, CenGen was invited to put up a stall displaying our barley-related activities.

Renée Prins, Shane Murray and Alex Jones (LGC, United Kingdom) at the Grower Day at SABBI.

Visiting the wheat trial site at Greytown for rust disease scoring is a trip that the CenGen staff undertake at least twice annually with our close collaborator and rust pathologist, Dr Willem Boshoff (UFS). This year, we were again excited to welcome Prof Simon Krattinger and Dr Jan Bettgenhaeuser from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia, in South Africa. These experts are collaborating with us on our flagship wheat research projects of cloning stripe rust resistance genes.

View Jan’s tweet about his experience in South Africa here.