Dr. William Nelson

Research interests:

I have researched intercropping systems with experimental sites in Germany, India, Niger, and South Africa. My interests here include combining detailed agronomic and plant physiological measurements with crop simulation models (e.g. APSIM) to help develop our understanding of what drives system performance.

As a postdoctoral scientist, I work as part of the SALLnet project, working across work packages that investigate the resilience of multifunctional landscapes in Limpopo, South Africa. I am a principle investigator for a work package that looks at arable and macadamia farming systems.

Research foci and activities:

  • Understanding farming system interactions to help develop sustainable and practical improvements to natural resource and livelihood systems
  • Linking field experimentation (experimental station and on-farm / participatory) and crop simulation modelling tools
  • Investigating resource competition in multi-species systems


  • M.Agr.0182: Blended E-course: Crop Modelling for Risk Management
  • M.SIA.P16M.Mp: Crop Modelling for Risk Management
  • M.SIA.P22.Mp: Management of tropical plant production systems



Hoffmann, M. P., Swanepoel, C. M., Nelson, W. C. D., Beukes, D. J., van der Laan, M., Hargreaves, J. N. G., Rötter, R. P., 2020. Simulating medium-term effects of cropping system diversification on soil fertility and crop productivity in southern Africa European Journal of Agronomy, 119


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