Michiel Smit

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Michiel Smit

Principal Crop Scientist
(Plant & Environment Resource Centre)

MSc Agric (Orange Free State)
PhD Crop Physiology (Purdue)

Email: michiel.smit@sugar.org.za
Tel: +27(0)31 508 7447


To direct and conduct research into the growth response of sugarcane to climatic, soil, crop management and genotype factors with the objective of improving adaptation and management practices.


Crop physiological and phenotypical response to climate, soil and crop management practice.

Cropping systems and the use of soybeans to optimise crop rotational benefits. 

Research Interests

Cropping practices for optimum profit and yield. 

The use of specialised instrumentation to monitor crop response to climate or management factors.

Investigating and demonstrating the benefits of soybeans as rotational crop to sugarcane.

Key Outcomes

An automated growth station for monitoring and benchmarking sugarcane growth on a real time base. 

Modelling algorithms for canopy development and light interception in response to row spacing.

Improved modelling of crop response to water stress that will improve crop forecasting and agronomic management.

Key Publications

Smit, M.A., Singels, A. 2006. The response of sugarcane canopy development to water stress. Field Crop Research, 98:91-97.

Smit, M.A., Govender, D. & Singels, A. 2005. Continuous non-destructive monitoring of stalk elongation in sugarcane. Proc. S. Afr. Sug. Technol. Ass. 79:510-513.

Singels, A;  Smit, MA; Redshaw, KA & Donaldson, RA. 2005. The effect of crop start date, crop class and cultivar on sugarcane canopy development and radiation interception. Field Crops Research 92: 249-260.

Singels, A;  Donaldson, RA and  Smit, MA. 2005. Improving biomass production and partitioning in sugarcane: theory and practice. Field Crops Research 92: 291-303.

Smit, MA. 2000. Your guide to successful soybean production. ARC Grain Crops Institute. ISBN 1-86849-150-1.