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AG e-news January 16, 2017

January 16, 2017 — 

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


January 17-19Manitoba Ag Days celebrates 50 years in Brandon and several Faculty members are part of the speakers’ program. Don Flaten and Mario Tenuta, Soil Science, Rob Gulden, Plant Science, and student Renate Jochum will be making presentations  Learn more at

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

Thursday, January 19 – An Advanced Plant Science Seminar will be held in the Carolyn Sifton Lecture Theatre, 130 Agriculture Building at 3:30 pm. Valeria Lobos Sujo, Plant Science Ph.D. student, will be presenting “Development of KASP Markers for Rfo Homozygosity in Brassica napus L.”.  All are welcome to attend. Coffee at 3:00 pm in the Atrium.

Friday, January 20 – There is a Biosystems Engineering M.Sc. Thesis Defence for Mahrooz Sabri at 1:30 pm in E2-361 EITC Bldg on the topic “Freeze/Thaw Treatment for Sludge Dewatering, Nutrient Recovery and Biogas Production in Northern Communities”. All are welcome.

January 24-25 – Sponsored by the Manitoba Soil Science Society, the Soil Fertility Refresher will be held on at the Ian N. Morrison Research Farm in Carman, MB, 9 am – 4 pm on both days.  Instructors include Don Flaten, Soil Science, along with John Heard and Marla Reikman, Manitoba Agriculture. They will take you through soil fertility basics. Course is $100 and limited to 30 participants. There are 9 Nutrient Management CEUs and 3 Soil and Water Management CEUs available. Preregistration required to John Heard, John [dot] Heard [at] gov [dot] mb [dot] ca or 204 745-8093

Tuesday, January 24 – A Department of Animal Science Seminar will be held on in Room 219 Animal Science Building at 11:30 am. Dale Overton, CEO Overton Environmental Enterprise Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba,  will present “Eco-Tea – The entrepreneurial path from idea to market”. All are welcome to attend.

Wednesday, January 25 – Two conference-length Soil Science Seminars will take place at 12:30 pm in Room 346 Ellis Building. Justice Zhanda, M.Sc. student, will present “Modeling phenological development of corn: Do Corn Heat Units work in the Prairies.”  Matthew Wood, M.Sc. student, will present “A comparison of Enhanced Efficiency Nitrogen Fertilizers and Products to Reduce Nitrous Oxide Emissions in Manitoba.”

Thursday, January 26 – It’s time for the Ninth Annual Chili Smackdown at next week’s Hoedown!  Come down and watch the fun at noon in the Atrium and have a bowl of delicious chili. Once the expert panel of judges taste-test the entries and declare a winner of this year’s Chili Smackdown Belt, you can buy a bowl and bun with proceeds going to charity. If you are interested in entering your own secret recipe, contact Helena [dot] Marak [at] umanitoba [dot] ca no later than Tuesday, January 24.

Tuesday, January 31 – There will be a NCLE Special Seminar featured Dr. Grahame Coleman, Animal Welfare Science Centre, Faculty of Veterinary Science and Agriculture, University of Melbourne, Australia on the topic “Public Attitudes, Knowledge, Trust and Livestock Industry Sustainability” at 3:30 pm in the Richardson International Auditorium, 172 Agriculture Building.  Refreshments at 3:00 pm – everyone is welcome.

February 1-2 – The Manitoba Swine Seminar 2017 will take place at the Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre. Among this year’s speakers are Martin Nyachoti, Animal Science, and Michele Rogalsky, School of Agriculture. Register online and check out the complete program at

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.



Dean Karin Witttenberg is pleased to announce the appointment of two new Department Heads: Derek Brewin has accepted the position of Head, Department of Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics for a five-year term effective January 2017.  Derek takes over from Brian Oleson, who served in the role since 2005. Martin Nyachoti has accepted a position of Head, Department of Animal Science, for a five-year term effective January 2017. Martin takes over from Laurie Connor, who served in the role since 2006.

Jitendra Paliwal, Biosystems Engineering, delivered a keynote talk on the future of food security at the South China University of Technology (SCUT) in Guangzhou, China, on December 20-21. SCUT is a federally-funded university that is ranked among the top 10 universities in China and their Food Science and Engineering discipline is ranked #3 in the country. At this international symposium, he was appointed as a Visiting Professor for a three-year period.

Brian Oleson and Derek Brewin, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, attended the Farm Foundation Roundtable meetings in Irvine California January 4-5, where they heard from leading U.S. CEOs, Civil Servants and Lobbyists about the upcoming US Farm Bill and Ag Policy predictions under the new administration, especially the implications of the first budget and debt ceiling negotiations coming this spring.

Ryan Cardwell, Derek Brewin and Ph.D. candidate Mehdi Arzandeh, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, attended the 7th Annual Canadian Ag. Econ. Society Policy Conference in Ottawa January 11-13.  Mehdi was competing in the Graduate Policy Paper competitions and Derek is the Chair of the Conference.  See agenda: Derek and Ryan also met with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada ADM France Pageot while in Ottawa.

Rob Currie and Megan Colwell, Entomology, were in Galveston, TX, January 12-13 for the North American Bee Research Conference.

Song Liu, Biosystems Engineering, was an invited speaker and a panelist at the Session 5: Innovative Drugs, Chemicals, and Enzymes at the 2nd International Symposium on Alternatives to Antibiotics (ATA) – Challenges and Solutions in Animal Production, Paris, France on December 12-15. Song’s presentation was titled “Non-resistance-inducing Antibacterial Polymers and Nanomedicines” and his talk was well received by around 260 delegates. Song’s M.Sc. student, Sadegh Ghanbar, also presented a poster entitled “Generating Selective Antibacterial Agents from a Broad-Spectrum Non-Selective Biocide Using Antibody Conjugated Nanoparticles for Wound Infection Control”. This symposium was organized by the United States Department of Agriculture with support from the World Organization for Animal Health. Chengbo Yang, Animal Science, was a member of the Scientific Committee of the symposium and Chengbo chaired the seminar and the expert panel discussion in the Session 5.  University of Manitoba was well represented at the conference.

With the new year, there are a number of people heading out or coming back from leave. Academics on or going on leave: Brian Oleson – Jan 1/17 to Dec 31/17 (Admin Leave), Laurie Connor – Jan 1/17 to Dec 31/17 (Admin Leave), Rob Duncan – Jan 1/17 to Jun 30/17, and Carla Taylor – Feb 1/17 to Aug 30/17 . Academics returning: Kees Plaizier – July 1/16 to Dec 31/16, Kateryn Rochon – July 1/16 to Dec 31/16, Peter Jones – July 1/16 to Dec 31/16.  Still on leave is Dilantha Fernando – July 1/16 to June 30/17.



Magda Rogalsky, M.Sc. student in Soil Science, was featured in a CANDID profile in UM Today News. She talks about her research into corn agronomy, her talents as a painter and table tennis player and her advisor, Don Flaten. Read it at

Ryan Cardwell, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, wrote the op-ed article “Should I give a goat for Christmas?” for the Winnipeg Free Press. You can read it on UM Today at

Ryan was also interviewed on CBC Radio Up to Speed on December 29 regarding in-kind vs. cash-based foreign aid.

Mario Tenuta, Soil Science, was quoted in the article “High-tech fertilizers offer great promise” in the Manitoba Co-operator (January 12) – read it on page 1 at

Anita Brûlé-Babel, Plant Science, was quoted inthe article “Managing fusarium can reduce risk” in the Manitoba Co-operator (January 12) – read it on page 25 at

Interesting work being done at the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals on algal production was featured in the article “Molecular farming: Small scale work nets big results” in the Western Producer (December 29) – read the article and watch a video on it at

Martin Nyachoti, Animal Science, was interviewed by Farmscape during the Banff Pork Seminar on “Research Looking at the Inclusion of Canola Meal in the Diets of Lactating Sows” – listen to the interview at

Martin was also interviewed by Farmscape for the story “Several Compounds Show Potential as Replacements for Antibiotics” – read or listen to it at

The TMPLR program was featured by Citytv – watch the three part interview at (part one); (part two); (part three).



2016. Braman, M. Tenuta, M.H. Entz. 2016. Selected soil biological parameters measured in the 19th year of a long term organic-conventional comparison study in Canada. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 233: 343–351.

In a review article, Filiz Koksel (Food Science) and colleagues Martin Scanlon (Food Science) and John Page (Physics & Astronomy) gave the background on how the mechanical resonance of bubbles in dough provides useful information related to breadmaking quality.Filiz Koksel, Martin G. Scanlon, John H. Page. 2016. Ultrasound as a tool to study bubbles in dough and dough mechanical properties: A review. Food Research International 89: 74-89.



Indigenous Scholar Applicants Welcomed – The Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences is seeking its first Indigenous Scholar. Application deadline is February 27, 2017. Full details including a link to the position description at

Alumnus Honoured – Retired soil specialist Ted Poyser (BSA/48) was recently honoured by the province when a protected unit in the Whitemud Watershed Wildlife Management Area was renamed after him. Ted’s passion for agriculture and natural habitat protection are reflected in his many accomplishments in conservation work. Read more at

Attention Grad Students! The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is a research communication competition that challenges graduate students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience. Deadline is January 23 and the heats take place in February, with the final on March 8. First place prize is $1,000. You can find out more information at

Volunteers are needed for study on Non-Caloric Sweeteners. We are looking for people aged 18 – 45, male or female, with a BMI between 20-25 (normal weight). A gift card will be provided as an honorarium. If you are interested or would like more information please call 204-999-9446 or email ahmads34 [at] myumanitoba [dot] ca.

Volunteers Needed – Ag in the Classroom- Manitoba’s Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month (CALM) Program is a 60-minute classroom program delivered at various schools with farmers and agriculture industry representatives to help students learn about agriculture throughout the province during March. The time commitment can be a minimum of 1 hour, half a day, or a full day over multiple days in different classrooms. We will give you all the materials you need to make this program an unforgettable success. Register to volunteer at by Friday, January 20.


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