Working Group Minutes / Archives / Soy / 28 July 2011

Minutes

Meeting of the Soy Working Group

held at 09h30 on 28 July 2011 in the PRF Conference Room, Woodmead



  1. Opening

    The meeting was opened by a prayer, offered by Mr FAS Potgieter.

  2. Welcome

    The Chairperson, Mr GJH Scholtemeijer, welcomed all to the meeting.

  3. Attendance

    Present

    Mr GJH Scholtemeijer Chairperson: PRF
    Mr JSG Joubert Vice Chairperson: PRF
    Ms R Beukes DAFF
    Mr A Boon BASF
    Mr P Botha GrainSA
    Mr J Botma Producer: Northern Free State
    Mr L Büchner Producer: Mpumalanga
    Mr J Davel VKB
    Mr GP de Beer PRF Contractor
    Dr J de Kock PRF
    Dr J Dreyer PRF
    Mr CJ du Plessis Producer: KwaZulu-Natal
    Mr W Engelbrecht Pioneer
    Mr J Erasmus ARC-GCI
    Prof D Fourie North West University
    Dr M Griessel PRF
    Dr A Hassen ARC-PPRI
    Mr M Jansen van Rensburg Dept Agriculture: Mpumalanga
    Mr S Koster Pioneer
    Dr S Lamprecht ARC-PPRI
    Mr R le Roux LinkSeed
    Dr D Marais University of Pretoria
    Prof NW McLaren University of the Free State
    Dr M Morris Plant Health Products
    Mr E Ncube ARC-GCI
    Mr FAS Potgieter PRF / GrainSA
    Mr J Potgieter Pannar
    Mr GJ Pretorius GrainSA
    Dr I Rong ARC-PPRI
    Mr G Roos Producer: Mpumalanga
    Ms M Scheepers DAFF
    Mr R Steyn RussellStone
    Mr D Uys Bayer CropScience
    Mr E van den Berg Pioneer
    Mr D van der Westhuizen Producer: Mpumalanga
    Mr H van der Westhuizen Philagro
    Mr WF van Wyk PRF Contractor
    Mr G Keun Chief Executive Officer
    Ms E Harmse Secretariat

    Apologies

    Dr E Briedenhann PRF
    Dr P Caldwell University of KwaZulu-Natal
    Prof H du Plessis North West University
    Mr G Farr RNRF
    Mr C Havenga PRF Contractor
    Dr A Jarvie Pannar
    Mr P Lübbe Agriocare
    Mr E Maree PRF Contractor
    Mr A Penny BASF
    Mr MT Prinsloo ARC-GCI
    Mr Jurg van Niekerk Producer: Mpumalanga
    Mr N van Rij Dept Agriculture: KwaZulu-Natal

  4. Personalia

    Wishes for a speedy recovery were conveyed to Mr E Ma­ree. Condolences were offered to Dr M Griessel on the passing away of his mother in law.

  5. Confirmation of agenda

    The agenda was accepted as it stood.

  6. Approval of minutes

    1. Minutes of the Soybean Working Group meeting held on 9 May 2011 and referral to website

      Resolutions:

      1. That the minutes of the meeting of the Soybean Working Group held on 9 May 2011 be accepted as a true and fair reflection of that meeting, after a number of changes had been effected.
      2. That the minutes of the meeting of the Soybean Working Group held on 9 May 2011 be referred to the Marketing Committee, for publication on the website of the PRF.
  7. General overview

    1. Crop estimates

      The Chairperson tabled the document reflecting the sixth production forecast for summer crops for the 2010-2011 production season, and called on Ms Beukes to comment.

      Ms Beukes said according to the latest estimate, a record local soybean crop of 708 750 tons, that had been planted on 418 000 hectares, was expected in the 2010-2011 production season. She mentioned that the latest pro­duction forecast was 9 500 tons more than the fifth fore­cast, and 142 750 tons more than the previous season's crop of 566 000 tons. She added that the expected crop of 708 750 tons was 77,8% more than the previous five years' average soybean crop of 398 600 tons and 130,8% more than the previous ten years' average soybean crop of 307 123 tons.

      Ms Beukes presented an overview of the expected soybean crops in the main production provinces, and said it was expected that Mpumalanga would produce the biggest crop of 294 500 tons, or 42% of the total production figure, followed by the Free State, with 189 000 tons, KwaZulu-Natal, with 91 800 tons, and Limpopo, with 58 750 tons. She said the remaining provinces were expected to produce 74 700 tons of soybeans. She also noted that the average yield was 1,70 tons per hectare, which was in line with the ten year average of 1,69 tons per hectare. She mentioned that KwaZulu-Natal was expected to harvest an average yield of 2,70 tons per hectare, Limpopo and North West 2,50 tons per hectare, Mpumalanga 1,55 tons per hectare and the Free State 1,40 tons per hectare.

      The Chairperson mentioned that local soybean production had increased dramatically during the last few years, with any number of inexperienced soybean producers entering the market for the first time. He said taking this into con­sideration, it was encouraging that the ten years' average yield per hectare had remained constant. He thanked Ms Beukes for the information she had provided.

      Cognisance was taken of the article "Summer crop estimates stable, despite harvesting hassles", as published in the 8 July 2011 edition of Farmer's Weekly.

    2. SAGIS

      Cognisance was taken of the SAGIS Monthly Bulletin dated 24 June 2011, as well as the SAGIS Weekly Bulletin dated 5 July 2011.

  8. Market matters

    The Chairperson mentioned that soybean prices had remained relatively constant during the past few months. He said according to information sources in America, it was believed that prices would remain firm.

  9. Producer matters

    1. KwaZulu-Natal

      1. General

        The Chairperson said according to the Crop Estimates Com­mittee, 34 000 hectares had been planted to soybeans in KwaZulu-Natal, with an expected crop of 91 800 tons.

        Mr Du Plessis reported that the producers had indicated that their soybean crops had been better than expected. He was of the opinion that the Crop Estimates Committee was fairly spot on with their forecast for KwaZulu-Natal.

      2. Super Soya Competition

        (Resolution 7.15.6.2 of the minutes of the Technology Committee dated 3 May 2011)

        The Chairperson mentioned that the format of the Super Soya Competition was currently under revision. He said any number of exciting new ideas for producer com­pe­titions had been noted during the recent visit of a PRF delegation to the United States. He said a meeting would be called to discuss the matter with Mr du Plessis and his team.

        Resolution:

        1. That it be noted that the format of the Super Soya Com­pe­tition will be revised.

          Chairperson
          Soybean Working Group
          Soybean Planning Taskteam
          Technology Committee

    2. Mpumalanga and Gauteng

      1. General

        The Chairperson said according to the sixth production forecast, 190 000 hectares had been planted to soybeans in Mpumalanga, with an expected crop of 294 500 tons, while 145 000 hectares had been planted to soybeans during the previous production season, with a final crop of 239 600 tons.

        Mr van der Westhuizen mentioned that the producers in his region were excited about the new crushing plant in Standerton. He said he agreed with the Crop Estimates Committee's forecast. Mr Roos expressed his concern that soybean oilcake was being imported at prices which were impossible for local producer-processors to compete with. He added that local electricity costs were also prohibitive. The Chairperson said the PRF had discussed the matter with GrainSA and the National Agricultural Marketing Council, and that he would follow up on the matter with Mr Roos.

        Mr Büchner reported that he had harvested a better crop than that of the previous year, although he still believed there was room for improvement. He said soybeans formed an important part of crop rotation systems.

        Mr Roos said he had noted that yield increases did not warrant the costs associated with overhead irrigation in the Highveld. He reported that he had harvested an average yield of 2,6 tons per hectare on dryland, 2,8 tons per hectare under overhead irrigation, and 4,2 tons per hectare with subsoil irrigation. He said he had not been able to find an explanation for this. The Chairperson ruled that the matter be referred to the Technology Committee.

        The Chairperson mentioned that 14 000 hectares had been planted to soybeans in Gauteng, as opposed to the 12 000 hectares planted the previous production season, and that a crop of 21 700 tons was expected.

        Resolution:

        1. That the matter with regard to Mr Roos's observation that the costs associated with overhead irrigation in the Highveld were not warranted by the yield increase, be referred to the Technology Committee.

          Drs De Kock, Dreyer and Mr Keun
          Technology Committee

      2. Super Soya Competition: Wonderfontein

        The Chairperson mentioned that Mr Havenga had been in touch with Mr WP Pretorius and the Wonderfontein Study Group to discuss the Super Soya Competition that had been launched in that area during the 2010-2011 pro­duction year. He said feedback was being awaited.

    3. North West and Limpopo Province

      1. General

        Cognisance was taken that 20 000 hectares had been planted to soybeans in North West, where a crop of 50 000 tons was expected, and that 23 500 hectares had been planted to soybeans in the Limpopo Province, with an expected crop of 58 750 tons.

    4. Free State

      1. General

        (Resolution 6.3.1.2.2 of the minutes of the Soybean Plan­ning Task Team dated 9 May 2011)

        The Chairperson mentioned that 135 000 hectares had been planted to soybeans in the Free State, with a pro­duction forecast of 189 000 tons.

        Mr Davel said he was satisfied with the Crop Estimates Committee's forecast. Mr Botma reported that the crops in his region did not quite meet the expectations. He said interest in soybean production in the Northern and North Western Free State had increased significantly. He men­tioned that producers in the sandy soils of Wesselsbron had indicated that they had experienced problems in sourcing soybean seed.

      2. Strip demonstration trials

        (Resolution 9.4.2.1 of the minutes of the Soybean Work­ing Group dated 9 May 2011)

        Mr Davel reported that the planting date trial that had been planted in VKB's operating area was successful and had delivered useful results. The Chairperson said the con­ti­nuation of the strip trials in the VKB operating area would be discussed with Mr Davel at a later stage.

        Resolution:

        1. That cognisance be taken that the continuation of the strip trials in the VKB operating area will be discussed with Mr Davel.

          Chairperson
          Technology Committee
          Soybean Planning Task Team

    5. Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, South Western Districts

      1. General

        Cognisance was taken that 1 000 hectares had been planted to soybeans in the Eastern Cape, and that a crop of 1 500 tons was expected.

    6. General

      No report back.

  10. Research

    1. National Cultivar Trials

      1. National Cultivar trials 2010-2011

        (Resolution 10.1.1.1 of the minutes of the Soybean Working Group dated 9 May 2011)

        Mr Erasmus reported that six of the 24 national cultivar trials that had been planted had to be written off, due to various reasons. He mentioned that the results from the trials at Koedoeskop and Atlanta were still being awaited. He said there was a possibility that the trials at Empangeni would have to be written off as well, due to a very high coefficient of variation (CV). He mentioned that some cultivars had realised as much as 6 tons per hectare at Empangeni, while others had only realised 1,0 ton per hectare. He said the trials at Empangeni had been affected by anthracnosis.

  11. Seed

    Mr F Potgieter reported that he had received complaints from any number of producers about the difficulties ex­perienced in sourcing sufficient quantities of certified seed. He said this would result in producers retaining more grain for seed.

    Mr Engelbrecht confirmed that Pioneer was very positive about the future of local soybean production. He said seed production had been hampered during the past season, due to the copious rains that had fallen. He however mentioned that Pioneer planned to expand its seed pro­duction programme. He said soybean research was cur­rently receiving much attention, and that new technology applied in breeding would result in higher-yielding cul­ti­vars. He confirmed that Pioneer's Y-series showed much promise, also in local trials. He said an excellent cultivar had already been identified as suitable for production in the Northern Cape-Free State irrigation area, one of Pioneer's focus areas.

  12. Technology transfer

    1. Information Days 2011: Dates, feedback and promotion

      Cognisance was taken of the following information days:

      6-8 September 2011 "No Till" information day, Drakensville
      September 2011 Information day, Mr Botma's farm, Bothaville
      February 2012 Hatfield information day
    2. Crop rotation – feedback

      (Resolutions 12.2.1and 12.2.2 of the minutes of the Soy­bean Working Group dated 9 May 2011)

      The Chairperson reported that the final version of Mr Birch's report titled "Advantages of reduced tillage: a concise review" was still being awaited. He requested that the report "Promoting conservation agriculture in South Africa: a case study among commercial grain producers in the North West Province", that had been compiled under the auspices of the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP), be included with the documentation of the following meeting.

      Resolutions:

      1. That cognisance be taken that the final version of Mr Birch's report titled "Advantages of reduced tillage: a concise review" was still being awaited.

        Chairperson
        Technology Committee
        Soybean Planning Task Team

      2. That the report "Promoting conservation agriculture in South Africa: a case study among commercial grain producers in the North West Province" be included with the documentation of the following meeting.

        Mr Keun

    3. Demonstration Competitions / Super Soy / Demonstrations at producers

      (Resolution 6.6.1.2 of the minutes of the Soybean Plan­ning Task Team dated 9 May 2011)

      The Chairperson reported that producers' competitions in the United States ranged from fairly simple yield com­petitions to more detailed competitions. He said more detail would be provided on those competitions in the report on the visit of the PRF delegation to North America. He mentioned that an American producer, Mr Kip Cullers, currently holds the world soybean production record, with an average yield of 176 bushels per acre.

      The Chairperson informed the members that ideal pro­duction models were developed for specific areas in the United States, in order to meet certain yield targets, and assistance provided to those producers who did not achieve those targets. He said the PRF would consider implementing such a system locally, in order to achieve the yield targets it had set for production on dryland and under irrigation by 2015.

      Mr Joubert mentioned that Mr Cullers did not take the economics of soybean production into account, and only chased yield. Mr Engelbrecht emphasised that it was essential to always pay attention to the economics of production.

  13. Other matters

    1. Information for publication on the PRF website – news snippets, colour photographs

      The Chairperson appealed to the members to provide interesting colour photographs and news snippets for publication on the PRF website. Cognisance was taken of the articles "Molecular technique advances soybean rust resistance research" and "Do we need soybean sup­ple­ments?", as published in various editions of Aces News.

    2. Presentations by various bodies

      Dr De Kock confirmed that a presentation on the correct application of Roundup Ready would be delivered to the September meeting of the Soybean Working Group. The Chairperson said suggestions on other possible presen­ta­tions would be welcomed.

      Resolution:

      1. That cognisance be taken that a presentation on the correct application of Roundup Ready would be delivered to the September meeting of the Soybean Working Group.

        Drs De Kock

    3. Income and Cost Estimates: soybeans, maize and sunflowers

      (Resolution 13.3.1 of the minutes of the Soybean Working group dated 9 May 2011)

      Cognisance was taken that the issue with regard to the seed costs per hectare of soybeans for 2010-2011 had been clarified, and that the Income and Cost Estimates: Soybeans, maize and sunflowers had been revised accordingly.

      Mr Joubert informed the members that the Income and Cost Estimates were available on the PRF website (www.proteinresearch.net). He said producers would also in the near future be able to download a "do it yourself" template from the PRF website, that would enable them to calculate their own income and cost estimates.

    4. Articles on soybeans

      Cognisance was taken of the articles "Geenbewerking se voordele blom" and "Pannar se sojabone presteer", as published in various editions of Landbouweekblad.

    5. Topics for web studies

      The Chairperson invited the members to submit requests for web studies on soybean related topics.

    6. "Fungicide for Sclerotinia", Dr P Caldwell

      Mr Uys said fluopyram, a new active ingredient and the active ingredient of the fungicide Verango, was still in the development phase. He mentioned that Bayer was interested in the ingredient, but added that it would take two to three years before a product like that could be commercialised, as a registration process was required.

  14. Rust trap crop trials

    Mr De Beer presented an overview of the rust trap crop trials that had been planted during the 2010-2011 production season. He explained that disease scouting to detect the presence of the rust pathogen (Phakopsora pachyrhizi) as early as possible was an important factor in an effective management programme. He said the trap crop trials were planted in a number of localities as an early warning system, so that producers could be alerted to spray their crops timeously, as a preventative measure. He provided details of the localities where the trials were planted. He said a number of co-workers such as Pannar, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Department of Agriculture and soybean producers provided assistance. He mentioned that he visited the trials on a weekly basis from the second week in January to collect samples, which were sent to Dr Maryke Craven at ARC-GCI for confirmation of rust infection. He reported that rust did not present much of a problem during the past production season, and had been confirmed only at the trials at Vryheid, Greytown and Cedara. He added that the climate had not been conducive to the development of rust.

    Dr De Kock mentioned that the PRF had published a pam­phlet on soybean rust, which contained a list of chemicals that could be used to spray against rust. He said the correct application methods were also detailed in the pamphlet. Mr du Plessis urged the PRF to continue with the trap crop trials, as these provided valuable assistance to producers.

    Mr J Potgieter mentioned that South American researchers had identified genetic resistance to rust in soybeans, but that resistant cultivars were, to the best of his knowledge, not yet commercially available. Prof McLaren said al­though there were a couple of resistance genes, they broke down very quickly, as their stability was short lived.

    Mr van Wyk suggested that the possibility of planting trap crop trials at Stofberg, Lydenburg or other localities on the Plateau Ridge, Koedoeskop and Brits be considered.

    Resolution:

    1. That the possibility of planting trap crop trials at Stof­berg, Lydenburg or other localities on the Plateau Ridge, Koedoeskop and Brits be considered.

      Technology Committee

  15. Rust: planning for 2011-2012

    Dr De Kock mentioned that Prof McLaren had, at a previous meeting, indicated that selected trap crops would be monitored for disease development, yield loss and so forth, if those crops were not sprayed after the disease had been detected. He added that this research could not be done during the past production year, due to rust coming in after the R6 stage. Prof McLaren confirmed that the work would be done in the coming production season, if conditions were to be favourable. Dr De Kock confirmed that the soybean rust trap crops would be continued.

  16. Report: Sclerotinia demonstration trial, Messrs W Van Wyk and H van der West­huizen

    Mr van Wyk reported on the results of the Sclerotinia demonstration strip trials, that had been planted at Kinross during the 2010-2011 production season. He said the trials were planted as planned, and sprayed at R1 plus three weeks. He mentioned that the canopies had not closed at that stage, and that he for this reason believed that Sclerotinia infection had not occurred. He said although the soybeans suffered heavy hail damage at four weeks, there was no negative impact on yield.

    Mr van Wyk said he had planted the nine cultivars that were most commonly cultivated on the Highveld in the trials, had sprayed some rows preventatively with Sumisclex with and without the wetting agent Break Thru, while some rows were left unsprayed. He added that he had also planted a control, where no treatments were applied. He mentioned that he did not spray Sumisclex as a corrective treatment, as Sclerotinia did not occur. He said Contans could also not be included as a treatment, as Mr van der Westhuizen could not source stock.

    Mr H van der Westhuizen reported that Philagro did not do Sclerotinia research during the 2010-2011 production season. He said Contans is a biological fungicide that controls Sclerotinia diseases by attacking the disease-causing fungus in the soil, before it could infect a susceptible plant. He noted that the fungicide attacked the sclerotia, once it was applied into the soil. He mentioned that Contans is registered and sold in a number of European Union countries, and that he had finally obtained permission to import Contans for local evaluation. He noted that Contans had to be applied to the soil shortly after harvesting and well before planting time.

    Mr Keun reported briefly on his visit to the Sclerotinia Initiative in Fargo, North Dakota. He mentioned that the researchers at the Initiative held Contans in high regard. He said Dr Gulya had indicated that many years of research would be required to breed cultivars with total resistance against Sclerotinia, and that the disease would have to be chemically controlled for the foreseeable future. He mentioned that new sources of resistance was sought in wild sunflower, with resistance being transferred from wild species to cultivated types. He said he was pleased to note that South African seed companies worked in conjunction with the Sclerotinia Initiative.

    Mr D van der Westhuizen asked whether row width versus yield trials were included in the Sclerotinia trials, and whether the occurence of Sclerotinia was related to nar­rower row widths. Mr van Wyk confirmed that there was a relationship between row widths and Sclerotinia infection. He said Sclerotinia was also easier to manage on narrow leaved plants, as the spray could penetrate right to the stem and bottom of the plant. He agreed that row width versus yield trials should be included in his research.

    Ms Scheepers reported on the results of the survey the Crop Estimates Committee had done at the request of the PRF on the occurence of Sclerotinia infection on soybeans and sunflowers during the past season. She thanked GrainSA for urging their members to take part in the survey. Mr Pretorius mentioned that certain areas in the North West experienced severe Sclerotinia infection on sunflower during the past production season.

  17. Report: Sclerotinia modelling, Prof N Mc­Laren

    Prof McLaren presented an overview of the research done on Sclerotinia at the University of the Free State during the past year. He said work had been done on germplasm evaluation, evaluation and inoculation methods, evaluation of isolate variation within Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and Phakopsora pachyrhizi populations in South Africa, in­ves­ti­gation of oxalic acid in Sclerotinia isolates and the mechanism of resistance. He briefly explained what all these aspects entailed.

    Prof McLaren said he was very interested in the effect of the environment on disease development. He noted that he would like to further develop the basic model he had already developed, so as to provide a risk indicator by integrating the inoculum factor. He said it would be of economic benefit to producers if they were better informed on whether they needed to spray or not. He provided a brief overview of the findings of a literature review on the models that had already been developed. He asked whether this approach warranted further input.

    The Chairperson invited Prof McLaren to submit a proposal for the proposed research. He said the PRF had never refused to fund a project application that had merit.

  18. Sclerotinia planning 2011-2012

    Dr de Kock said the intention was to continue with the Sclerotinia demonstration strip trial at Kinross. He men­tioned that Contans, Eco-T, and at least one cultivar from groups 4, 6 and 7 respectively, and also possibly new chemistry from BASF, would be included as treatments. He requested that protocols for planned Sclerotinia research be handed in by the last day of September 2011.

  19. Role of nematodes in agriculture

    Prof D Fourie presented a comprehensive overview of the role of nematodes in agriculture. She mentioned that the term dualism would in future be an important concept in nematode research. She said one had to discern between the so called "good" and "bad" nematodes, and added that the "good" nematodes had been neglected in the past, with research being focussed mostly on those nematodes that had a deleterious effect on crops. She explained what the differences between "good" and "bad" nematodes were, what role the "good" nematodes played, and what research had been done on "bad" or parasitic nematodes. She provided detail on the damage parasitic nematodes did to crops.

    Prof Fourie said biodiversity, balance and the dualistic nature of nematodes were of prime importance in soil health, and explained why "good" nematodes were im­portant for soil health. She mentioned that the aim was to increase the number of predatory nematodes in the soil, as those destroyed parasitic nematodes. She said certain non-parasitic nematodes, on the other hand, mobilised the nitrogen in soil. She mentioned that it was important to act timeously so as to prevent an abnormal build up of parasitic nematodes in soils. She said although the biofumigation effect of Brassicas contributed to the prevention of an abnormal build-up of the parasitic nematode population, biological pollution could have a negative effect on other organisms in the soil.

    Prof Fourie provided details on other methods of con­trol­ling parasitic nematodes, such as nematode-trapping fungi and biological control methods. She explained how ento­mo­pathogenic nematodes (EPN) were used to control specific insect pests on certain crops, and said although some academics and researchers were convinced that EPN's were the way ahead, the costs involved were cur­rently prohibitive. She provided information on the nema­ti­cides that were available on the market. She concluded her presentation by saying that other systems, such as grasses, should be included in crop rotation systems, and that producers, researchers in various disciplines and industries had to work hand in hand to resolve the unique problem of nematodes.

    In response to a question by Dr Hassen, Prof Fourie men­tioned that several fungi were currently used as a bio­control measure against nematodes in South Africa, and that Mycorrhizae have been investigated worldwide for use against nematodes. She added that the success rate was not very high, particularly in annual crops, where the origanisms first had to establish themselves, before they could proliferate.

    Prof Fourie confirmed that Pratylenchus or lesion nema­todes could be present on soybeans, but added that this was a localised phe­no­menon. She said soils with a high organic content were favourable to the proliferation of bacterivores and fungivores, both non-parasitic nema­todes.

  20. Plant health products and white grubs (Scarabaeidae), Dr M Morris

    Dr M Morris mentioned that Plant Health Products was a fairly young, research-based company, that produced bio­lo­gical control products. He added that the company was also interested in pest and disease control on soybeans. He noted that biodiversity was becoming more and more of an issue, as producers' complaints about so called "dead soils" with parasitic nematode populations were on the increase. He mentioned that their products contained environmentally-friendly living organisms – fungi, bacteria or viruses – that were naturally-occurring enemies of certain crop diseases and pests. He provided further detail about these natural enemies, the way the products were used, and the results achieved. He said human intervention had largely led to the disruption of the balances in the soils.

    Dr Morris reported that the company had been consulted on the white grub problem on soybeans at Mr Fyvie's farm. He said the larvae of a wide range of species were called white grubs, and added that the species may vary from crop to crop and from area to area. He provided details on the life cycle of the pest. He mentioned that natural enemies of the pest had been identified, and explained how the problem of white grubs on sugar plantations at Réunion had been solved.

    Dr Morris mentioned that Becker Underwood, an inter­national bio-agronomic company, had distributed a number of Rhizobium products for local trials. He said his company was looking at new technologies to get both better nodulation and longevity on the seeds, which would enable producers to apply the Rhizobium a couple of weeks before planting.

  21. "Why does inoculation of soybeans some­times fail?", Dr IA Hassen

    Dr Hassen mentioned that he had submitted a project application on investigating the efficacy of locally avail­able soybean inoculants. He said the intention was to do a survey of the quality of locally produced inoculants, their use and possible remediation. He provided some detail of the history and development of soybean inoculants in South Africa, and also explained the benefits and necessity of Rhizobium application. He gave an overview of possible reasons why inoculants were not effective, and of factors that had a negative effect on inoculants.

    Dr Hassen said producers had in recent years raised their concerns about failure of nodulation and nitrogen fixation, which resulted in a request that the research be under­taken. He provided a brief overview of the project plan. Mr F Potgieter was of the opinion that the project would serve the producers' interests.

  22. General questions and discussion

    Cognisance was taken that an international sunflower congress is to be presented in Argentina in February 2012, and that an international soybean conference is to be presented in South Africa early in 2013.

  23. Date of next meeting

    The date of the next meeting of the Soybean Working Group was confirmed as 27 September 2011.

  24. Closure

    The Chairperson thanked Dr de Kock, the staff who as­sis­ted in the organisation of that day's proceedings, the various speakers, all the other participants, the members of the Soybean Working Group and the guests. He wished all a safe journey home. There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 17:00.