Dr. William Nelson

Research interests and activities:

I conducted my PhD research on intercropping systems with experimental sites in Germany, India, and Niger. At the latter two locations research took place in collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). Prior to this, I also gained experience working on climate change adaptation with pastoralists in northern Kenya through the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), as well as with smallholder farming systems in Rwanda. My current work involves combining extensive field experimentation with crop simulation modelling (APSIM).

As a postdoctoral scientist, I am now part of the SALLnet project, working across work packages that investigate the resilience of multifunctional landscapes in South Africa.

  • Investigating resource competition in cereal-legume intercropping systems (PhD topic)
  • Field experimentation and crop model improvement
  • Linking remote sensing and empirical field data for the mapping and modelling of agroecosystems
  • Food security



Hoffmann, M. P., Swanepoel, C. M., Nelson, W. C. D., Beukes, D. J., van der Laan, M., Hargreaves, J. N. G., Rötter, R. P. Simulating medium-term effects of cropping system diversification on soil fertility and crop productivity in southern Africa European Journal of Agronomy, in press


Rapholo, E., Odhiambo, J.J., Nelson, W.C.D., Rötter, R.P., Ayisi, K., Koch, M., Hoffmann, M.P., 2019. Maize–lablab intercropping is promising in supporting the sustainable intensification of smallholder cropping systems under high climate risk in southern Africa. Experimental Agriculture, 1-14.
DOI: 10.1017/S0014479719000206


Streit, J., Meinen, C., Nelson, W.C.D., Siebrecht-Schöll, D., Rauber, R., 2018. Above- and belowground biomass in a mixed cropping system with eight novel winter faba bean genotypes and winter wheat using FTIR spectroscopy for root species discrimination. Plant and Soil. 436: 141-158.
DOI: 10.1007/s11104-018-03904-y

Nelson, W.C.D., Hoffmann, M.P., Vadez, V., Rötter, R.P., Whitbread, A.M., 2018. Testing pearl millet and cowpea intercropping systems under high temperatures. F. Crop. Res. 217, 150-166.
DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2017.12.014