​​The Soil science division is the focus for soil and water related research activities at the Institute. The division has been mandated with the responsibility to conduct the research related to soil fertility, plant nutrition, and irrigation of the tropical and subtropical crops (i.e. avocado, mango, litchi, banana, guava, papaya, citrus, macadamia nut, pecan nut, granadilla etc.).​​​​​​ ​ ​



  • ​Carry out land suitability studies for the establishment of tropical and subtropical crops.

  • Carry out investigations/research into soil fertility, plant nutritional and irrigation problems of tropical and subtropical crops

  • Recommend the application of appropriate fertilizers to enrich soil that is depleted of nutrients.

  • Provide technical advice to the farmers, extension officers, students and researchers on the production of tropical and subtropical crops.

  • Provide soil, water and plant material analytical services to farmers and other clients.

  • Organize training for extension officers, farmers and other stakeholders.

  • Provide the supervision and mentoring to the students and grandaunts.


The main objective of this division is to carry out research aimed at developing appropriate technologies for sustainable production of tropical and subtropical crops through soil fertil​ity maintenance and improvement at levels that are economically viable and ecologically sound using efficient management resources.  Research done on micro and drip irrigation has led to more economical and effective water utilisation by tree crops, and these systems have the added advantage that fertilizers, herbicides, nematicides and insecticides can be effectively applied together with water. The division is also engaged on research such as:

  • The effects of macadamia husks on soil health parameters

  • Macadamia compost husk as an effective growth medium for banana production

  • Effects of macadamia husks on the yield and quality of macadamia nuts

Contact: Dr Romeo Murovhi, Email: Romeo@arc.agric.za

Analytical services:

The Soil Science division has a laboratory which is equipped with modern equipment and the necessary capacity to carry out analysis of soil, water, compost, growing media and plant materials. These analytical services are available to both internal and external organisations. The prices of the parameters that are analysed in our laboratory are included in the pdf to download.​

Contact: Yvette Abercrombie, Email: Yvette@arc.agric.za,
Tel: (0)13 753 7066


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