Research Report 2012/2013
The International Soybean Research Conference is hosted once every four years by one of the respective countries involved. During the 2009 Conference in Beijing, South Africa was appointed the 2013 host, although the PRF indicated at the time that it was not in a position to host such a conference. The successful presentation for South Africa to host this event was made by other parties, but when after two years those proposals showed no sign of progress, the PRF received a request to assist. The Conference was successfully hosted in Durban by the PRF in cooperation with the Oil and Protein Seeds Development Trust / Oilseeds Advisory Committee (OPDT/OAC) on 17-22 February 2013. This project literally overshadowed all other activities in the 2012/2013 research year.
In spite of this distraction, the PRF feels very satisfied with the progress made in its main activities due to outstanding research results and progress with other projects discussed in this report, with technology transfer and with an exceptional generic marketing campaign that covered a wide variety of aspects relating to both soybeans and canola.
International co-operation continues at a rapid rate. Several Board members, staff and contractors visited PRF partners and business associates in other countries, discussed common matters, attended conferences and forged new ties. Similarly, various international researchers visited South Africa to follow up on co-operation agreements, or upon invitation to discuss important subjects identified by the PRF. Various Board committees and work groups continue to identify needs relating to these aspects, after which they will submit proposals for final Board resolutions.
The Elite soya trials, conducted in co-operation with institutions in Argentina, Brazil and China, are considered to have been very successful and the first positive results are expected as early as 2013/2014.
Aimed at advertising the WSRC IX 2013 Congress in Durban, the PRF staff manned an exhibition stall at the Soya Congress (Congresso Brasileiro de Soja) in Cuiaba, Brazil. It was a first attempt at this type of activity for the PRF.
As in the past, PRF representatives attended various international and local conferences, information days, etc. either as delegates or speakers. This is an essential facet, to keep the PRF up to date with the latest developments and information of interest to the Foundation. However, it remains part of the technology transfer programme that the PRF considers of immense value. Each Trustee is expected to attend the relevant subject-specific conferences and annual general meetings. Various members serve as members of other executives and committees. It is important to mention Prof R Gous, recently elected as Honorary President of the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) and Vice-president on the World Poultry Science Association (WPSA).
During the recent past, the PRF hosted various successful information days at Hatfield, the University of Pretoria research farm. The number of attendees, and the interest shown in the event, has increased each year. Unfortunately, WSRC IX 2013 intervened in February 2013 making it impossible to host the scheduled "Hatfield Information Day" this year.
Stalls and exhibitions at strategic events such as NAMPO are manned sustainably. At these events the PRF makes available pamphlets, journal articles and news bulletins to all interested parties. During the past year more than 80 articles relating to soya and 20 about canola were published in various journals and magazines. These are available for perusal on the PRF web page. The PRF also publishes and makes available income and cost estimates that are adjusted annually. The information is made available as part of normal distribution channels as well as on the PRF web page.
The PRF convenes annual think tanks for the Executive Committee and the Technology Committee. This year was no exception. The normal quarterly reports about local and international aspects relating to biofuel, or reports aimed at possible sources of protein that may result from such production, are also available on the PRF web page.
Dr Munro Griessel resigned from all committees during the past year and the PRF accepted his resignation with empathy. Dr Griessel is one of the 1990 PRF founding members and served as chairman of the Technology Committee for 18 years. As such he was also a member of the Executive. Dr Griessel indicated that he intended to retire from the PRF Board in 2014. The PRF honours him for his invaluable contribution over the years he has served the Foundation. There is no doubt that we will sorely miss his expertise. We wish him a blessed retirement. Dr Griessel will be replaced by Dr Jos De Kock, both as chairman of the Technology Committee and as member of the Executive. The Board wishes Dr De Kock all the best in this new role.
There are few researchers in South Africa that are in a position to assist the PRF in the promotion of soybeans and canola, but even fewer are replaced after retirement. This is particularly true at institutes such as the ARC. Dr Geoff Tribe is another retiree this year who did pioneering work as an entomologist in the canola industry. We wish him all the very best and feel grateful that he will remain available as a consultant to the industry.