TopSoilWater.jpg RESEARCH TEAM MANAGER: Reckson Mulidzi

Private Bag X5026, Stellenbosch, 7599  ~  Tel: +27 (0)21 809 3070  ~  Fax: +27 (0)21 809 3002  ~  Email:

The Division strives to create soil and water science knowledge and extend it to all grape and deciduous fruit farmers in such a way that farmers can immediately implement the recent technology at farm level.  The Division is committed to use its expertise and capacity to enhance the competitiveness of the small rural livelihoods and agricultural industries at large.  We believe that irrespective of scale, our research is making a difference by increasing income per unit area and creating grape and fruits products of acceptable quality for various markets.  Our research focus within the Division is as follows: Soil cultivation, Fruit and Vine Irrigation, Wastewater management, Soil Health and Nutrition.


​ ​​Soil Cultivation

Cover crops

Innovative research, which has been internationally acclaimed, has led to cover crops as tillage practice being widely implemented by the grapevine industries.  Millions are spent annually on soil tillage in perennial crops.  Research which aims to establish guidelines for more cost-effective, sustainable and environment friendly soil tillage practices in wine grapes, drying grapes and deciduous fruit is currently receiving attention.

Wastewater Management

Winery wastewater irrigation

Given the large volumes of low quality wastewater produced by wineries, sustainable use of winery wastewater for irrigation of vineyards with respect to the effect on soils, vineyard performance and wine quality was investigated. This research work is continuous and the team is focusing on the re-use of winery wastewater for irrigation of vineyards in different environments.

​​Fruit and Vine Irrigation

Irrigation of wine grapes

To ensure optimum yield and product quality, timely irrigation is essential. Energy and labour inputs are reduced to a minimum by applying the correct amount of water, resulting in a cost benefit for the producer. Irrigation research is centered around the determination of the exact water requirements at various growth stages of the plant.  This knowledge serves as backbone for all specialist irrigation recommendations.

Soil Health and Nutrition

Winery solid waste composting and soil health

Alternative waste management strategies for the South African wine industry’s solid waste need to be investigated, since the current ones (costly waste treatment companies, dumping in landfills and on site and unmonitored composting) are neither sustainable nor environmentally friendly. The aim of the study was to make compost of acceptable standard or quality using wine filter wastes derived from the use of mainly perlite and diatomaceous earth during the wine making processes, together with other grape and vineyard materials.

CONSULTATION / ADVISORY SERVICES                                                                          

  1. Research into all soil and water science related aspects of grapevine and fruit production as well as on-farm consultation visits. [Reckson Mulidzi –]

  2. Trial to test new fertilisers and herbicides as well as cover crop selections. 
    [Reckson Mulidzi, Email: and Carolyn Howell,  Email:]

  3. Irrigation scheduling recommendation for deciduous fruit.  
    [Theresa Volschenk, Email:]

  4. Irrigation scheduling recommendation for wine grapes.  
    [Carolyn Howell,  Email:​]​]

  5. Soil health.  [André Meyer, Email:​]






Contact: Tania Nell, +27 (0)21 809 3105

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