To present years of work in five minutes is a big challenge for anyone. Yet, that is precisely what Hortgro Science asked researchers to do at this year’s Research Showcase.
This was only the second time that the Showcase was presented in person. The first was held in 2018, followed by an online event in 2020. According to Hortgro Science General Manager, Wiehann Steyn, the showcase was a resounding success with the Pome and Stone days attended by 219 and 133 people, respectively. “This far exceeded our expectations – the previous in-person Showcase was attended by less than 80 people per day,” Steyn said.
The event aims to provide funders and stakeholders with an overview of the scope and depth of the research funded by Hortgro and to showcase the highly capable researchers and postgraduate students involved in the research. “Judging from the feedback we’ve received; these aims were achieved.”
Steyn said the Showcase is as much an event for the researchers as it is Hortgro’s. “Research cannot happen without students and researchers. Both the research community and Hortgro have a vested interest in informing fruit growers and other stakeholders of the significant extent to which their needs are addressed through research. Ultimately, nearly all the research is funded exclusively by growers.”
Judging by the quality of the presentations, considerable effort went into preparation for the event, Steyn said. Hortgro Science decided to give awards for the best presentations by students.
Three panels of three judges each assessed student presentations in each research programme: crop production, crop protection and postharvest. The winners of the presentation awards were:
- Portia Solomon and Karel Vahrmeijer for Crop Production: Adaptability indexing of plum and cherry cultivars in diverse South African growing areas.
- Murray Dunn for Crop Protection: Mass culture and formulation of entomopathogenic nematodes for improved field application against key insect pests.
- Monja Gerber for Postharvest: Superficial scald on Granny Smith – understanding the mechanisms and limitations of the storage protocols.
Wat het die seminaar bywoners gesê?
“Die Steenvrug Showcase was uiters sinvol en leersaam omdat dit nie mikro-detail oor elke navorsingsprojek gee nie, maar die pitkos van die navorsing. Die produsent/tegniese adviseur kry kans om kennis in te neem van die navorsing en gepaardgaande resultate; in geval van waar meer detail nodig is, kan die individu self met die navorser gesels of die later privaat kontak maak. Die navorsingsprojekte word dus op ‘n skinkbord aangebied, maar mooi gepoleer en afgerond deur ‘n Powerpoint vertoning waar wetenskaplike inligting op ‘n verstaanbare manier aangebied word. Seminaargangers kan dus kennis neem wat in die steenvrug-domain gebeur, het sy of dit produksie, onderstamme, insekte, plantpatologie of na-oes fisiologie behels…
Wat die Showcase aantreklik maak vir bywoning, is dat dit buite die besige seisoen plaasgevind het. Welgedaan aan Hortgro/ Hortgro Science en die hele span wat die dag ‘n sukses gemaak het. Ek sien uit na toekomstige, soortgelyke inligtingsdae. Uitstekend gedoen.” – Petru du Plessis, steenvrugprodusent en tegniese adviseur, Stellenbosch.
“I am sending this email to congratulate Hortgro Science on today’s research showcase event. I found the topics relevant, the content valuable and the research generally high quality and of importance to the industry. I think the above-mentioned are, at least partly, a result of industry-inclusive (through many committees and PWG’s) management processes well implemented and run by the Hortgro Science team and leadership. It gives me great comfort to know that the sometimes-scarce research levies are well managed and allocated with positive outcomes.” – Graeme Krige, Technical Adviser and General Manager of Fruitmax Agri.
“Thanks, vir ‘n great program verlede week. Was ‘to the point’ en het alles baie mooi bymekaar getrek. Well done.” – Hannes Halgryn, direkteur Fruitways Farming.
“Ek moet sê ek het die showcase bitter baie geniet, en dit te spyte van al die komitees waarop ek dien. Dit was regtig great gewees.” – Willie Kotze, Bestuurder: Navorsing en Ontwikkeling van Dutoit Agri.