UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today
News from
Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences
UM Today Network

AG e-news December 19, 2016

December 19, 2016 — 

News and events from the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Manitoba.


December 23-January 2 – Most of the University of Manitoba will be closed for the holiday break. However, some campus services will be made available to assist students in completing the Fall Term. See details at

Wednesday, January 11 – A Department of Soil Science Seminar is scheduled for 12:30 pm in Room 346 Ellis Building. Melody Caron, M.Sc. student, will present “Integration of sediment fingerprinting techniques and comparison of the accuracy of colour coefficients as tracers.”

Wednesday, January 18 – The next seminar in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences 2016-2017 Seminar Series will be held at 3:30 pm in the Carolyn Sifton Lecture Theatre, 130 Agriculture Building. Brian Amiro, Soil Science, will present “Agricultural Greenhouse Gases”.  Refreshments will be served at 3:00 pm in the Atrium. Everyone is welcome to attend.

February 2-3 – The 60th annual Manitoba Soil Science Society meetings will be held at the Holiday Inn – Winnipeg South. This year’s theme is “Scaling up Research for Practical Applications”. An anniversary committee is busy planning events to celebrate 60 years of soil research and extension in Manitoba – stay tuned for details on the celebration and how to register!

April 24-26 – The Agricultural Institute of Canada will be holding its 2017 conference in Winnipeg. The theme is “Agricultural Innovation in a Changing Environment”. More details coming soon – visit to stay up to date.



We have recently learned of three Faculty members who received 2015 Merit Awards (Life Sciences, Natural Sciences and Engineering). Rob Duncan, Plant Science, was honoured in the Teaching category and Fouad Daayf, Plant Science, and Jitendra Paliwal, Biosystems Engineering, were both honoured in the Combination of Teaching, Service, and/or Research, Scholarly  Work & Other Creative Activities category.

Jitendra Paliwal, Biosystems Engineering, was named a Fellow by Engineers Canada, an honour given to individuals who have given noteworthy service to the engineering profession through their work with either Engineers Canada or its provincial and territorial engineering regulators. read more at

Annemieke Farenhorst, Soil Science and NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering, was named to Ace Burpee’s Top 100 Most Fascinating Manitobans for 2016 –

We are pleased to announce that Mandy Tanner is the new Administrative Assistant for Biosystems Engineering.   Mandy previously worked with the Department of Plant Science for approximately six years before joining Biosystems. Allison Paulusma is the new Administrative Assistant in Plant Science.  Prior to joining Plant Science, she worked in Social Work for approximately four years and has held several other positions on campus. We would also like to thank Debbie Bialek (Administrative Assistant in Plant Science) and Debby Watson (Administrative Assistant in Biosystems Engineer) for all of their years of service with the Faculty.  We wish them the very best in their upcoming retirements.

Karin Wittenberg, Dean, was invited to speak at Dalhousie University in Truro, NS, on November 25 as part of their 2016 Visiting Speaker Series. Karin presented on the topic “Moving Toward Prairie Agriculture 2050”.

Karin hosted an alumni reception in Calgary, AB, on December 6. More than 20 alumni of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, including several Bachelor of Home Economics grads, attended to network and learn more about activities in the Faculty. Even with the wide range of years in attendance (from 1956 to 2014), the group engaged in a lively discussion. They then moved to a larger University of Manitoba reception for the rest of the evening, where the evening’s featured speaker was Annemieke Farenhorst, Soil Science.

Karin, along with Michele Rogalsky and Helena Marak, recently met with Mervin Traverse, Elder with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and his colleague Ute Holweger, AAFC Science and Technology Branch. They discussed several topics, including the AAFC Indigenous Network Circle and the Indigenous Student Recruitment Initiative, which is committed to enabling Indigenous students to gain experience and knowledge of various careers available within the Department and the public service as a whole.

Ehsan Khafipour and Kees Plaizier, Animal Science, and their MSc and PhD students and technical staff, Hooman Derakhshani, Hamid Khalouei, Junfei Guo, Kelsey Fehr, Matthew Tornopolski, and Behzad Kalantarpour, attended and presented their work during Manitoba Dairy Seminar, December 7-9 in Winnipeg, MB. The title of posters included “Dynamics of mammary gland microbiome and its association with udder health and susceptibility to mastitis in dairy cows” and “Mammary microbiome and udder health in dairy cows: Role of nutrition and environment”.

Dilantha Fernando, Plant Science was the seminar speaker at the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, Penn State University, State College, PA, USA on December 5.. Dilantha’s presentation was titled, “The war of the titans: the continuous battle between wheat and fusarium”. On December 6, he gave a second seminar on the canola-blackleg pathosystem. The title of the presentation was “Do genes hijack, hitchhike, and play hide-and-seek? Lessons from the canola-blackleg playbook”.

Martin Entz, Plant Science, conducted a workshop on “Participatory Plant Breeding” at the Ecological Farmers of Ontario annual meeting in Kingston, ON, on November 28.   The U of M participatory crop breeding program is currently working with 78 farmers across the country.  To learn more about the program, visit

Rob Currie, Entomology, was invited to speak at Saskatchewan Beekeepers Association meeting on December 1 in Saskatoon, SK, on the impact of viruses on bees and use of marker assisted selection to breed better bees (two talks).

On December 11-12, the Department of Food Science hosted a Biocultural Design Workshop as part of a research partnership between the University of Manitoba (Natural Resources Institute, Iain Davidson-Hunt) and Wabaseemoong Independent Nations.  The hands-on workshop “Working with Manomin” examined biocultural design and innovation in small-scale food systems.  Participants from the FAFS included Trista Hildebrand and Jim House (Human Nutritional Sciences) and Mia Wang, Pat Heritage and Martin Scanlon (Food Science).

Don Flaten, Soil Science, gave an invited presentation on “Phosphorus: Refining Nutrient and Water Management for Cold Climates” at the University of Wisconsin’s Discovery Farms Annual Conference in Wisconsin Dells, WI, on December 13.

Annemieke Farenhorst, Soil Science, co-hosted a WinSETT leadership workshop for women that was offered at the University of Saskatchewan on December 1. WinSETT has given numerous workshops over the years, but this was a groundbreaking record of women wanting to participate. Stay tuned for more workshop opportunities under the Prairies CWSE program: or contact annemieke [dot] farenhorst [at] umanitoba [dot] ca and let her know the types of workshops you like to see at the University of Manitoba to advance women’s careers.



Don Flaten, Soil Science, wrote the article “Christmas dinner … Making it more sustainable” on UM Today News  –

Derek Brewin, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, was interviewed by Radio-Canada on the Bayer-Monsanto merger.

Anita Brûlé-Babel, Plant Science, was quoted in the article “Fusarium: A genetic solution?” in Country Guide (December 2016) – read it on page 46 at

Several Faculty members were interviewed on Farmscape during Prairie Livestock Expo. Tracy Gilson, Martin Nyachoti, and Laurie Connor can be heard at

Dylan Mackay, Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, wrote a guest blog for Weighty Matters entitled “These Two Raisin Studies Read Like Advertisements” –



Alemu, A.W., B.D. Amiro, S. Bittman, D. MacDonald, and K.H. Ominski. 2017. Greenhouse gas emissions of forage-based beef cow-calf operations: A whole-farm analysis of 295 Canadian farms.  Agricultural Systems 151: 73-83.

Alemu, A., K.H. Ominski, M. Tenuta, B.D. Amiro, and E. Kebreab.  2016.   Evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions from hog manure application in a Canadian cow-calf production system using whole-farm models.  Animal Production Science 56: 1722-1737.

Mkhabela, M., Ash, G., Grenier, M. and Bullock, P.R. 2016. Testing the suitability of thermal time models for forecasting spring wheat phenological development in western Canada. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 96: 765-775, 10.1139/cjps-2015-0351

The transition from fluid-like properties to solid-like behaviour is encountered in a lot of agricultural and food systems where particulates are suspended in liquids, such as in vegetable purees.  Understanding the causes of this transition was the subject of a study in food science using model food systems of suspended starch granules. – Flow Behavior of Native Corn and Potato Starch Granules in Aqueous Suspensions. Sinaki, Nasibeh Y.; Scanlon, Martin G. FOOD BIOPHYSICS   11 (4): 345-353   Published: DEC 2016



Faba Bean Study Participants Needed – Are you interested in bean ingredients? Are you a male between 20-30 years old? If so, you may be eligible to participate in a study examing the effect of faba bean products on blood sugar, appetite and food intake, and hunger and satiety hormones. Partipants will be compensated for their contribution to this study. For more information contact the Principal investigator Dr. Peter Jones, Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutracueticals at fababean [at] umanitoba [dot] ca.

The 2017 Soil and Crops Workshop which will take place March 6-7, 2017, in Saskatoon, SK, has issued a Call for Papers. The annual Soils and Crops Workshop is a two-day event offering updates on current research being conducted in the areas of soils, crops and economics by researchers, faculty and graduate students from across western Canada.  The second day offers a workshop based on invited presentations designed to provide in-depth training on a variety of topics emphasizing agronomy. Details on submitting oral presentation and poster titles can be found at

The Canadian Society for Bioengineering has issued a Call for Abstracts for its 2017 AGM and Technical Conference in Winnipeg, MB, August 6-10, 2017 which is themed “Food, Fuel and Fiebre for a Sustainable Future”. Abstracts on a wide range of topics are due February 1 and complete submission details can be found at

Certificate of Merit Call for Nominations – The Certificate of Merit is presented by the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and the School of Agriculture in recognition of leadership with agricultural organizations and outstanding service to the community at large. Each year two Certificates of Merit are presented, normally, one to a graduate of the Agriculture Diploma program, and one to a graduate of the Agriculture Degree program. Nominations are considered by the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Executive Committee and must be received no later than January 15, 2017. Nominations should include a letter from the nominator describing the nominee’s leadership contributions and service to the community.  Letters of support may also be included. More information including a list of previous recipients can be found at

Lights, Camera, Science Action! – NSERC is once again inviting you to submit a 60-second video showcasing science and engineering on our campus for a chance to win cash prizes in the Science Action! contest. Read more: Contest closes: January 18, 2017 at 4:59 p.m. (EST).


© University of Manitoba • Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canada • R3T 2N2

Emergency: 204-474-9341