Assistant Research Officer: Crop Physiology
Tel: 031 508 7400 (Switchboard)
Tel: 031 508 7366 (Direct)


To perform crop physiological and remote sensing research to support SASRI strategic objectives, that is driven by the sugar industry’s needs and international scientific trends, to ensure improved understanding of crop performance and enable the development of better management practices and breeding procedures.


  • Crop physiological basis of stress tolerance in plants
  • Remote sensing (UAV pilot)
  • Sugarcane model application
  • Statistical data analysis

Research Interests

  • Understanding the physiological trait mechanisms driving sugarcane stress tolerance and crop performance
  • Investigating the potential for using crop physiological knowledge, remote sensing and crop modelling to enhance plant breeding
  • High-throughput phenotyping technologies
  • Use of remote sensing (UAV) technologies to advance maturity-based cane quality management, and ultimately increase grower profitability and encourage more judicious use of agrochemicals for ripening

Key Publications

Hoffman, N., Singels, A., Patton, A., & Ramburan, S. (2018) Predicting genotypic differences in irrigated sugarcane yield using the Canegro model and independent trait parameter estimates. European Journal of Agronomy, 96, 13-21.

Hoffman, N. (2016) Pot trial phenotyping to predict sugarcane genotype field performance with the Canegro model. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.

Hoffman, N., & and Singels, A. (2019) Evaluating the use of aerially captured spectral data for characterising drought-tolerance traits in sugarcane. Proceedings of the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, Australia. 30 April – 3 May 2019.

Hoffman, N., Singels, A., & and Joshi, S. (2020) Remote sensing of physiological traits with drones to assist sugarcane breeding: Preliminary results. Combined Congress of the South African Society for Crop Production, Soil Science Society of South Africa, Southern African Society for Horticultural Sciences and Southern African Weed Science Society, Bloemfontein. 20-23 January 2020.


B.Sc. Hons (Chemical, molecular & cellular sciences)- University of Cape Town

M.Sc. Crop Science- University of KwaZulu-Natal

Ph.D. Crop Science- University of KwaZulu-Natal (in progress)