Welcome to Stellenbosch University

More about our Academic staff

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Prof Nick Kotze 

Departmental Chairperson​

Holds various degrees from the University of Stellenbosch including Ph.D Agric and MBA. After 20 years in the seed industry, has joined the University of Stellenbosch in 2014 and is Head of the Department of Agronomy since 2015.  Has served on many boards of directors and plays an important role in the recruitment of bursaries for students and industry research projects.​


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Dr Petrus Pieterse

Senior Lecturer

Dr PJ Pieterse obtained a MScAgric degree in Weed Science and a PhD degree in Botany from Stellenbosch University.  His main interest is Weed Sciece, in particular herbicide resistant weeds.  His research focus is on the optimisation of herbicide efficiency as well as integrated weed management systems which are key factors in managing herbicide resistant weeds in production systems.  



Dr Marcellous Le Roux


Studies that Dr Le Roux are involved in investigate the role of some beneficial microbes associated with agronomically important field crops. In the long-term, results from such studies will inform more effective agro-ecological management of crops, especially with regards to resource depletion due to the high requirement for nutrient inputs, especially nitrogen (N).  As yet, data that directly correlate the yield response of common field crops with specific microbes that might associate with these crops (through their various developmental stages), particularly in a South African farming context,  are in it's infancy. ​

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Dr Pieter Swanepoel

Senior Lecturer / Researcher

Dr Pieter A. Swanepoel is an Agronomist who undertakes advanced research for the development of new and adaptation of existing technology in the field of soil quality for agronomical crops and pasture production. Soil quality encompass physical, chemical and biological processes in soil, which directly influence plant productivity. His research focus is to understand how soil quality affects plant production, and in doing so, aims to improve farming efficiency whilst the natural resources are sustained. 




Dr Ethel Phiri


Dr Phiri's research interests are indigenous and future crops as well as the sustainable crop production under controlled environments. Her aim is to bring together transdisciplinarity in crop production by involving social scientists in understanding the role of indigenous knowledge systems in subsistence and small scale crop production. Indigenous crops are abound of genetic diversity but have been neglected in favour of the production of non-indigenous crops. However, in recent years, the value of these so-called Orphaned Crops has been realised, especially in trying to achieve the some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs;; particularly #NoPoverty (SDG1) and #ZeroHunger (SDG2). Because of her interests in promoting Africa as a research forward continent, her current research is on indigenous orphan crops and their potential as a solution to food and nutrition security in Africa. Dr Phiri is currently researching one such crop, a whole food, Bambara groundnut/ jugo beans/ ditloo / dinawa / izindlubu / njugu-mawe/. Identified as a whole food, the crop is slowly losing its diversity because subsistence farmers tend to keep the most productive landraces.  It is important to conserve the availability of landraces and to work on producing improved cultivars. She will be working towards identifying other indigenous crops whose value can be harnessed in a sustainable way. Follow her on Twitter: @EthelPhiri_PhD".