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10 July 2018 Photo Supplied
USSA hockey – lots to play for
Shindré-Lee Simmons, one of the veterans in the Kovsie women’s hockey team for this year’s national student championship.


The Kovsie men’s and women’s hockey teams have positive expectations for the University Sport South Africa (USSA) national student tournament.

The USSA championships were hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS) from 2 to 6 July 2018. This year’s championships will have 45 competing teams and will thus be the biggest ever USSA hockey tournament.

For the female squad to qualify for the 2019 Varsity Sports tournament, they have to secure a spot among the top-seven teams. In order to get back into the A section, the Kovsie men’s team must win their tournament. 

The matches are scheduled to take place on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus astro fields.

The UFS women’s team, captained by Antonet Louw, is set to play on Monday at 15:35 against Nelson Mandela University (NMU); on Tuesday at 17:00 against the University of Johannesburg (UJ); and on Wednesday at 18:25 against North-West University (NWU). The play-off matches will take place on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

The men’s team, with Cheslyn Neethling as captain, will play on Monday at 17:00 against the Central University of Technology; on Tuesday at 15:35 against the Tswane University of Technology; on Wednesday at 17:00 against the Vaal University of Technology; on Thursday at 18:25 against the University of KwaZulu-Natal; and on Friday at 15:35 against Rhodes University.

News Archive

Well-established root system important for sustainable production in semi-arid grasslands
2015-02-24

Plot layout where production and root studies were done
Photo: Supplied

The importance of a well-established root system for sustainable production in the semi-arid grasslands cannot be over-emphasised.

A study of Prof Hennie Snyman from the Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences at the University of the Free State is of the few studies in which soil-water instead of rainfall has been used to estimate above- and below-ground production of semi-arid grasslands. “In the past, plant ecological studies have concentrated largely on above-ground parts of the grassland ecosystem with less emphasis on root growth. This study is, therefore, one of the few done on root dynamics in drier areas,” said Prof Snyman.

The longevity of grass seeds in the soil seed bank is another aspect that is being investigated at present. This information could provide guidelines in grassland restoration.

“Understanding changes in the hydrological characteristics of grassland ecosystems with degradation is essential when making grassland management decisions in arid and semi-arid areas to ensure sustainable animal production. The impact of grassland degradation on productivity, root production, root/shoot ratios, and water-use efficiency has been quantified for the semi-arid grasslands over the last 35 years. Because of the great impact of sustainable management guidelines on land users, this study will be continuing for many years,” said Prof Snyman.

Water-use efficiency (WUE) is defined as the quantity of above- and/or below-ground plant produced over a given period of time per unit of water evapotranspired. Sampling is done from grassland artificially maintained in three different grassland conditions: good, moderate, and poor.

As much as 86, 89 and 94% of the roots for grasslands in good, moderate and poor conditions respectively occur at a depth of less than 300 mm. Root mass is strongly seasonal with the most active growth taking place during March and April. Root mass appears to be greater than above-ground production for these semi-arid areas, with an increase in roots in relation to above-ground production with grassland degradation. The mean monthly root/shoot ratios for grasslands in good, moderate, and poor conditions are 1.16, 1.11, and 1.37 respectively. Grassland degradation lowered above- and below-ground plant production significantly as well as water-use efficiency. The mean WUE (root production included) was 4.79, 3.54 and 2.47 kg ha -1 mm -1 for grasslands in good, moderate, and poor conditions respectively.

These water-use efficiency observations are among the few that also include root production in their calculations.

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