The Department of Soil, Crop, and Climate Sciences at the University of the Free State is engaged in teaching and learning, academic research and the provision of community services in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. Through the applied nature of our work, the department aims to advance the agricultural sector in South Africa and beyond in a sustainable manner while protecting natural resources. The Department has a rich history and made significant contributions in this field in the past.

Soil Science is the study of soil as a natural resource. Through research programs and participation with farming communities, information is provided on the origin, classification, geographical distribution and utilisation of soil, the promotion of sustainable production of plants to supply in the food and fibre requirements, and measures to combat deterioration of the environment to ensure healthy living environments.

Crop production deals with the sustainable cultivation of plants for food, fuel, feed and fibre under both rain fed and irrigated conditions. Agronomists and horticulturists study the soil and climatic requirements of crops and trees respectively, as well as production aspects such as planting time, propagation and cultivation techniques, cultivar choice, plant nutrition, weed and pest control, and the effect of environmental stresses on plant physiology and yields.

Agrometeorology investigates the effect of weather and climate on crops, trees, grasslands and livestock production systems. With climate change increasingly becoming the key driver shaping agricultural systems, air, water and heat transfers as related to biomass development are studied in agricultural environments, including the socioeconomic consequences for farmers and other decision makers. Agrometeorological services, such as early warnings, irrigation scheduling, micro climate manipulation and weather forecasts, are developed to cope with a changing and increasingly variable climate.


Faculty Manager: Velaphi Makgwahla
T: + 27 51 401 3199

Marketing Manager: Elfrieda Lötter
T: +27 51 401 2531

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