Monsanto South Africa recently celebrated an important milestone with the opening of its state of the art Plant Health Pathology laboratory. From left is Cheusi Mutawila, Asia Africa Plant Health Pathology Lead; Loren Trimble, Monsanto Africa Research and Development Lead; and Kobus Steenekamp, Monsanto SA Commercial Lead.

Monsanto South Africa recently celebrated an important milestone with the opening of its state of the art Plant Health Pathology laboratory at its maize breeding and research facility at Petit, Benoni, reinforcing the company’s commitment to bring better products to farmers.

“Monsanto has always strived to provide the best possible products to farmers to improve on-farm productivity and this is a major step forward to achieving our sustainability goals in Africa,” said Kobus Steenekamp, Commercial Lead for Monsanto in South Africa.  “As a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that aim to improve farm productivity and food quality, Monsanto remains focused on enabling both smallholder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world’s natural resources such as water and energy.”

Loren Trimble and Kobus Steenekamp cutting the ribbon to the new Plant Health Pathology laboratory.

At this facility we will provide plant disease diagnosis, consultancy and testing services not only to our research team, but also to our TD, seed production and commercial teams.  This new laboratory supported by field testing, will enable us to analyse and interpret a vast range of diseases providing our clients with relevant and practical solutions for maize plant health issues.  The pathology team will focus on the monitoring and assessments of major diseases on the continent, developing pertinent reaction plans, and proactive breeding initiatives.

The services at the laboratory will include:

  • The identification and diagnosis of plant diseases on maize
  • Disease control advice
  • Disease assessment for fungicide trials evaluating chemical and biocontrol products
  • Seed testing for plant pathogens
  • Site visits and consultancy
  • Planning and conducting maize crop disease surveys
  • Research projects on maize plant diseases
  • Advice to the seed and production research as well as our seed production teams
  • Advice to the sales and marketing teams regarding product placement

“It is really exciting to be part of the team and to open our new Plant Health Pathology Laboratory.  For many years the team has worked really hard to improve the quality of our hybrids and with this new facility, our products will continue to deliver success to our customers into the future,” says Loren Trimble, Monsanto SA Research and Development Lead.

The facility took eight months to complete and what is remarkable is that during that entire time, not one incident pertaining to safety was reported.

“The opening of the new Plant Health lab is a huge milestone for Africa maize breeding. This world class facility should enable us to further improve our DEKALB product portfolio and deliver more value to our farmer customers,” said Cheusi Mutawila, Asia Africa Plant Health Pathology Lead. – Monsanto Press release

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