Prof Michael van der Laan

Prof Michael van der Laan

Associate Professor

Agronomy and soil science

Office: Agricultural Sciences Building  4-11

Tel:  +27 (0)12 420 3665

Email: michael.vanderlaan [AT]


  • Long-term interests in studying nitrogen dynamics in agroecosystems, non-point source pollution and agricultural water management
  • Competent in agricultural systems modelling with DSSAT, APSIM, SWB, AquaCrop and Hydrus
  • FORTRAN, Delphi programming skills
  • Part of the Agricultural Model Inter-comparison and Improvement Project (AGMIP) on African Low Inputs Systems and Soybean
  • Involved in piloting Data Intensive Farm Management in South Africa in collaboration with the University of Illinois
  • Vice-Chair of the ICID Working Group on Environment, Treasurer of the South African National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage
  • Teach the undergraduate course Sustainable Crop Production and Agroclimatology (PPK 251)
  • Part of the Ingesta project, investigating the use of social media to facilitate knowledge exchange between universities and farmers (


Selected publications:

Van der Laan, M; Bristow, KL; Stirzaker, RJ and Annandale, JG (2017) Towards ecologically sustainable crop production: A South African perspective. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment236, 108-119.

Van der Laan, M; Stirzaker, RJ; Annandale, JG; Bristow, KL and du Preez, CC (2010) Monitoring and modelling draining and resident soil water nitrate concentrations to estimate leaching losses. Agricultural Water Management, 97, 1779-1786.

Van der Laan, M; Annandale, JG; Bristow, KL; Stirzaker, RJ; du Preez, CC and Thorburn, PJ (2014) Modelling nitrogen leaching: Are we getting the right answer for the right reason? Agricultural Water Management, 133, 74-80.

Van der Laan, M; Miles, N; Annandale, JG and du Preez, CC (2011) Identification of opportunities for improved nitrogen management in sugarcane cropping systems using the newly developed Canegro-N model. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 90, 391-404.

Van der Laan, M; van Antwerpen, R and Bristow KL (2012) River water quality in the northern sugarcane producing regions of South Africa and implications for irrigation: A scoping study. Water SA, 38, 87-96.

Swanepoel, CM; van der Laan, M; Weepener, HL; du Preez, CC; & Annandale, JG (2016). Review and meta-analysis of organic matter in cultivated soils in southern Africa. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems,104, 107-123.

Le Roux, B; van der Laan, M; Vahrmeijer, T; Bristow, KL and Annandale, JG (2017) Establishing and testing a catchment water footprint framework to inform sustainable irrigation water use for an aquifer under stress. Science of the Total Environment599,1119-1129.

- Author MVDL

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