CSA Meeting Blog Post


Plant Agriculture Faculty, staff, and students participate in the joint meeting of the Canadian Society of Agronomy (CSA) and The Canadian Society for Horticultural Science (CSHS) in Montreal

5 graduate students, 4 post-doctoral fellows, and 5 faculty representatives from The Department of Plant Agriculture joined the joint annual conference for The Canadian Society of Agronomy (CSA) and The Canadian Society for Horticultural Science (CSHS) in Montreal form July 24-26, 2016. The focus of this conference was on the topic of sustaining and improving agricultural production under the increasing complexities.

The CSA and CSHS foster collaboration and knowledge sharing between agricultural and horticultural scientists from across the country. The CSA-CSHS joint conference was attended by faculty and students from The University of Guelph, The University of Manitoba, McGill University, The University of Saskatchewan, The University of Alberta; staff from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), and the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station (TBARS). The 2016 CSA-CSHS conference was attended by U of G faculty members Dr. Alireza Navabi, Dr. Bill Dean, Dr. Dave Hooker, Dr. Jayasankar Subramanian, and Dr. Laura van Eerd joined post-doctoral fellows Dr. Malinda Thilakarathana, and Dr. Javier Di Matteo, Dr. Tejendra Chapagain, and Dr. Raja Khanal, and graduate students Finlay Small, Michael Gerbre, Emily Gordon, Alex Whittal, and Kamal Khadka.

We arrived to the conference center La Plaza in Montreal, Quebec, on Saturday afternoon. The conference began on Sunday morning with plenary lectures from the conference chairs Dr. Jaswinder Singh and Dr. Valérie Gravel. The food security and sustainability section was chaired by Dr. Subramanian. Dr. Maurice Moloney, of The Global Food Security Institute from the University of Saskatchewan, delivered the keynote lecture on the role of biotechnology in food security. The agronomy and cropping systems section was chaired by Dr. Tarlok Shahota, of TBARS and outgoing president of the CSA. Dr. Paul Fixen, of the IPNI, delivered a keynote lecture on techniques to measure the mineral composition of plants. The abiotic stress section was chaired by Marie Thérèse Charles of AAFC. Dr. Vladimir Vujanovic, of The University of Saskatchewan, presented the keynote lecture on the potential of endosymbionts to protect crops and vegetables against pests. The biotic stress section was chaired by Dr. Valérie Gravel from McGill University. Dr. Odile Carisse from AAFC delivered the keynote presentation on biovigilance, a framework for plant protection in increasingly complex agroecosystems. The nutrient and water management section was chaired by Dr. Rigas Karamanos from Koch Agronomic Services Canada. Dr. van Eerd delivered the keynote presentation on the management of nitrogen in horticultural systems to optimize productivity and efficiency. The plant breeding and genetic resources section was chaired by Dr. Navabi. Dr. Fred Stoddard from University of Helsinki delivered the keynote lecture on breeding faba bean for climate change. The genomics and biotechnology section was chaired by Dr. Jaswinder Singh of McGill University. Dr. Subramanian delivered a peachy keynote lecture on genomics and biotechnology in horticultural crops. A second section on agronomy and cropping systems was delivered by Phillipe Seguin from McGill University. Dr. Bill Deen delivered the keynote lecture on the risks and opportunities of cultivating biomass crops.

Awards and achievements were celebrated during a banquet on Monday evening. Awards were given for the top three presentations and posters. Congratulations to U of G graduate students Alex Whittal and Emily Gordon who won prizes for their excellent presentation and poster and to Dr. Navabi, who was awarded Fellow of the Canadian Society of Agronomy. Dr. Tarlok Shahota was celebrated for his contributions as the CSA president over the last year. Dr. Navabi of the Department of Plant Agriculture was warmly welcomed as the president of the CSA for 2016.

The conference was concluded with a tour of McGill campus. I want to express great appreciation from all of the student participants for the opportunity to participate in the CSA-CSHS conference, to our professors for their mentorship and guidance, for the funding provided by our supervisors, and to the drivers who got us there and back safely. Thank you to our hosts at McGill University and the conference organizing committee including Dr. Jaswinder Singh, Dr. Valérie Gravel, Dr. Phillipe Sequin, Dr. Marie Thérèse Charles, Dr. Tarlok Shahota, and Dr. Samir Debnath.

by Finley Small
MSc Student
Department of Plant Agriculture

Alex Whittal accpeting an awardEmily Gordon accepting an awardAlireza Navabi accepting an awardAlex Whittal giving a presentationJay Subramanian giving a presentationKamal Khadka with poster presentation