Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Department of Agronomy

What is Agronomy?

Agronomy is the study and science of crop production and the production systems used. This includes the extensive open field cultivation of plant species for human food supply, livestock and poultry feed, fibers, oils and certain industrial products. It also looks at the improvement of crops (cereals, protein and oilseed harvests) in a sustainable manner to ensure sufficient food supply for an ever-increasing world population. As a field of study Agronomy integrates crop, soil and related sciences. Agronomists are presently involved in many issues including food production, the production of healthier food, managing the environmental impact of agriculture, and even creating energy from plants.​

The Department of Agronomy​

Training and research in the Department of Agronomy started in Stellenbosch in 1917, when the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences was founded. Since then the department remained at the forefront of agronomic research and development in the country. The Department's involvement in the science of plants and plant matters is one of the most important links for meeting the increasing requirement for food, fuel and fiber in an over-populated world facing the challenge of climate change. There is a serious shortage of agronomists and with increasing challenges demand will undoubtedly increase even more.​


Program Information​

Undergraduate programs

BScAgric (Plant and Soil Sciences)

The four-year program in plant and soil sciences offers training in the production of agricultural and vegetable crops, fodder crops, aromatic plants, deciduous fruit, citrus, fynbos and vineyards. For each crop, knowledge of the following is integrated into a meaningful whole: agricultural economics, biochemistry, biometrics, crop production, entomology, genetics, nematology, plant pathology and soil science.

The program is subdivided into 3 fields of study:

  • Crop Productions: In this field of study, you will receive training in the production and quality management including field crops, deciduous fruit, citrus, fynbos, vineyard and greenhouse crops.
  • Crop Protection and Breeding: This field of study trains you as an expert in crop protection (entomological and nematological pests, plant diseases and their control) and genetic crop improvement (cultivation and manipulation).
  • Soil and Water Management:  This field of study equips you with the expertise to understand the nature, importance and management of soil and water as they relate to crop production. 

Opting for study in one of these three fields prepares you for a variety of careers in the agriculture industry or agriculture-related industries, including careers such as adviser, consultant, entrepreneur, manager, technician and researcher. ​

Postgraduate programs

After a BScAgric follows MSc or MScAgric, PhD and DSc in Agronomy

MSc (Agric).

Research on a particular aspect of tillage, weed control, crop production, vegetable production or pasture is undertaken. The modular component of the program is aimed at the acquisition of generic research skills to support the research component of the program. A further aim is the deepening of scientific knowledge of general crop physiology through self-study.

PhD (Agric).

The programs focus is on research in various crop production areas and delivers specialists in the field. A relevant and practical research project leading to innovation or solving a problem through high-level research in the discipline and in the industry concerned, is undertaken. It guides the student at the highest academic level to contribute to the research some other professional field. Students thus become professionals who can, either as a team member or individually, play a meaningful role, nationally or internationally, in research, teaching and policy-making in specialist fields concerned with sustainable and environmentally friendly food production and food safety.


Emphasis is placed on increasing production levels by optimal use of natural resources, the implementation of sustainable production systems and the manipulation of production environments by means of greenhouses and conservation farming practices. Thus research is focused on soilless production systems; climate management in greenhouses used for vegetable, herb and flower production; sustainable production systems for winter cereals and oilseed crops; and the management of herbicide resistance in field crops. As the emphasis is on sustainability, all research projects strive to minimise inputs such as water (greenhouse production), nutrients (greenhouse and field production) and pesticides (greenhouse and field production), while still maintaining and increasing productivity. 

​Contact Details

Department of Agronomy

Faculty of AgriSciences 
Stellenbosch University
Private Bag X1, 7602,  Matieland, South Africa

Tel:  +27 21 808 4803     Fax:  +27 21 887 9273  


Lecturing Staff 

PersoneellidTelefoon-nommerE-pos adres Rigting
​Prof Nick Kotze (Chair)
​021 808 4003
Dr PJ Pieterse021 808 Science, Pasture Science, Chairperson
​Dr P Swanepoel
​021 808 4668
​​Soil quality of pasture and crop rotation systems
​Dr M le Roux
​021 808 9457
​​Crop production and production of future crops

Support Staff

PersoneellidTelefoon-nommerE-pos adres  
​Ann Afrika
​Temporary assistant
Franklin Casper021 808 4572  Senior assistant
Shamig de Vries021 808 4572  Temporary assistant
Johan Goosen021 808 4572 Principal Technical assistant
Martin la Grange021 808 Technical manager
​Farida Martin
​021 808 4808
​​Technical officer
Leeroy Nicke
021 808 4803 Chief Technical assistant
​Rahkeenah Peters
​021 808 4803
​​Departmental Secretary
Karel Williams021 808 4572  ​Assistant
​Marius Williams
​Temporary assistant