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06 March 2020 | Story Ruan Bruwer | Photo Supplied
Nomsa Mathontsi
Nomsa Mathontsi has been training with the South African senior women’s football team since Monday (03/02).

Whether she takes to the field or not, being part of the senior national women’s soccer team is already an accomplishment, says Nomsa Mathontsi. 

The BAdmin student in Economic and Management Sciences has been chosen for the Banyana Banyana squad for the first time. They face Lesotho on Sunday, 8 March 2020 in an international friendly in Johannesburg. There could be two Kovsies on the field, as Mating Monokoane, another University of the Free State student, was selected for Lesotho’s team. Both of them are midfielders.

The 21-year-old Mathontsi, who has been part of the Kovsie football team since 2018, says it will be a dream come true for her to wear the national colours. “Even if I don't get to play, I will still be proud of myself for being able to take on the challenge of going to camp and giving myself a chance to show my talent.”

“We have been together since Monday, 2 March 2020 and it has been the best experience, especially the fact that football has put me in the high-performance centre (South African Football Association girls’ academy), and now I get an opportunity to be with Banyana for the first time.”

“I was shocked when I got the call, but excited to face the challenge because it's never easy to get a call-up to Banyana, you need to work for it,” she says.

According to Mathontsi, who grew up in Mamelodi, Pretoria, her first love was athletics, but that changed during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“I was an athlete back in primary school and it just so happened that I was selected to play football, which I never really enjoyed. I also had the opportunity to be part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup ceremonies, where I developed a love for football.”

News Archive

Research helps farmers save with irrigation
2017-02-15

Description: Irrigation research Tags: Irrigation research

Marcill Venter, lecturer in the Department of
Agricultural Economics at the University of the
Free State, has developed the mathematical
programming system, Soil Water Irrigation
Planning and Energy Management in order to
determine irrigation pump hours.
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

Her advice to farmers is that they should make sure they are aware of the total cost (investment and operating costs) of an irrigation system. In most cases the investment cost is low, but the operating cost over the lifetime of the system is high.

“It is very important to have a look at the total cost and to install the most economic system,” says Marcill Venter, lecturer at the University of the Free State (UFS), who has done research on the economic sustainability of water-pipe systems.

Irrigation systems important components for farming
This research comes at a time when many farmers are relying on their irrigation systems due to persistent drought and low rainfall during 2016. South Africa has also experienced an abnormal increase in electricity tariffs in recent years. Due to tariff increases which threaten the future profitability of irrigation producers, the Water Research Commission (WRC) has launched and financed a project on the sustainable management of irrigation farming systems. “I had the opportunity to work on the project as a researcher,” says Venter.

The heart of every irrigation system is the water pipes that bring life to crops and livestock, and this is what Venter’s research is about. “Water pipes are part of the whole design of irrigation systems. The design of the system impact certain factors which determine the investment and operating costs,” she says.

Mathematical system to help farmers
Venter and Professor Bennie Grové, also from the Department of Agricultural Economics at the UFS, designed the Soil Water Irrigation Planning and Energy Management (SWIP-E) programming model as part of the WRC’s project, as well as for her master’s degree. “The model determines irrigation pump hours through a daily groundwater budget, while also taking into account the time-of-use electricity tariff structure and change in kilowatt requirements arising from the main-line design,” says Venter. The model is a non-linear programming model programmed in General Algebraic Modeling System (GAMS).

Design of irrigation system important for sustainability

The main outcome of the study is that the time-of-use electricity tariff structure (Ruraflex) is always more profitable than the flat-rate structure (Landrate). The interaction between the management and design of a system is crucial, as it determines the investment and operating costs. Irrigation designers should take the investment and operating cost of a system into account during the design process. The standards set by the South African Irrigation Institute (SAII) should also be controlled and revised.

Water-pipe thickness plays major role in cost cuts
There is interaction between water-pipe thickness, investment and operating costs. When thinner water pipes are installed, it increases the friction in the system as well as the kilowatt usage. A high kilowatt increases the operating cost, but the use of thinner water pipes lowers the investment cost. Thicker water pipes therefore lower the friction and the kilowatt requirements, which leads to lower operating costs, but thicker pipes have a higher investment cost. “It is thus crucial to look at the total cost (operating and investment cost) when investing in a new system. Farmers should invest in the system with the lowest total cost,” says Venter.

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