University of Manitoba - Faculty of Agricultural & Food Sciences - AG e-news
AG e-news

the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences newsletter

April 23, 2014


At its April 22, 2014 meeting, the Board of Governors approved the appointment of Dr. Karin Wittenberg as Acting Dean, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences effective July 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014.


"Climate Change in Manitoba: Impacts and Adaptations" will be presented by Manitoba Institute for Policy Research, University of Manitoba, on Tuesday, April 29 at 6:00 pm, at the Winnipeg Free Press News Café, 237 McDermot Ave. Climate change is a global issue with localized effects that can alter the environmental, economic and social landscapes of a region. What are the current and future impacts of climate change in Manitoba? How will these changes affect the general population? Finally, how can we mitigate and adapt to climate change? Join us as Dr. Danny Blair (Deptarment of Geography, University of Winnipeg) and Jo-Ellen Parry (Deputy Director of Climate Change and Energy, International Institute for Sustainable Development)  discuss the environmental transformations we can expect and the potential solutions going forward.  Register at

All support staff are invited to an event co-sponsored by the Faculties of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Science, Education, Environment and Law. Rhonda Scharf will present "Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug — How to get control of your life" on Monday, April 28 at 11:30 am in 172 St. John's College, Robert Schultz Lecture Theatre. Sometimes life gets the better of us, and we ask, “Whose life is it anyway?” When you stop living for yourself, and live only for everyone else, something is missing. In this humorous keynote, Rhonda shares that not only do we all experience this feeling — it’s OK to be frustrated! Learn how to stay away from contagious negativity, look at life through a positive focus and stop blaming. Take control of your own life is the message — and through realistic, easy and fun approaches to change, Rhonda leaves everyone laughing about life, instead of crying — but most importantly, the knowledge on how to get back the life we want to have! Refreshments will be served after the talk. Book signing to follow.

The University of Manitoba Visionary Conversations series will present "Should we have the right to die? The Evolution of the Rights Culture" on Wednesday, April 30 starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Robert B. Schultz Lecture Theatre. The Charter of the Rights and Freedoms is silent on the right to die, but other states in Scandinavia have extended this right to all citizens. Should Canada start a national discussion on the right to die? The issues to be discussed include: disabilities, ethics and the right to die. For more details on the event, visit

The University of Manitoba Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented at a gala at 7:30 pm on Thursday, May 1 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. For complete details and to register, visit

The Presidential Committee to Appoint a Dean of Science is pleased to announce public presentations by candidates. Dr. Robert Lemieux, Professor, Department of Chemistry & Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Arts and Science, Queen’s University will present on Wednesday, May 7 at 11:00 am – 12:30 pm in the Senate Chamber, Room E3-262 EITC Building.

The Office of Research Services is holding an information session on the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship program on Wednesday, May 7, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm in Room E3-262 EITC (Senate Chambers). The session is designed to provide useful information to supervisors who are looking to support trainees in the upcoming competition or who may be interested in future competitions. Learn more about what reviewers are looking for in these applications. The next competition will be officially launched in June 2014 - learn more about the program at

The Presidential Committee to Appoint a Dean of Science is pleased to announce public presentations by candidates. Dr. Stefi Baum, Professor, Director & School Head Chester F. Carlson Centre for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology will present on Friday, May 16 at 10:00 am – 11:30 am in the Senate Chamber, Room E3-262 EITC Building.

Save the Date! The Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals is hosting the conference "Western Canadian Functional Food Ingredients: Strategies to Manage Costs and Enhance Products" on June 11 – 12. Learn about technologies and applications to enhance your products or control costs using functional ingredients grown in Manitoba and western Canada, such as flax, pulses, hemp, vegetables and berries. This event will be of interest to food processors, ingredient suppliers, entrepreneurs, technology developers and manufacturers, food product developers, researchers and regulatory agencies with strong interest in developing and using functional ingredients. More details coming soon - visit

The 6th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture is coming to Winnipeg June 22-25. This event is being sponsored by the North American Conservation Agriculture Systems Alliance (CASA), which was started back in 2007 through the convening efforts of the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) in Lafayette, IN.  The Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC) is a member of CASA, and it is through the hard work of SCCC and CTIC (the co-hosts of this Congress) that the event is taking place here in North America. In addition to a star-studded program, there are also two tours following the Congress that you may take part in. To learn more about the Congress, please visit the website at or contact Marla Riekman at directly for more details. The early registration deadline has been extended to May 1 so act now!

The University of Manitoba Transport Institute (UMTI) is pleased to present the Warming of the North Conference in Ottawa, Ontario from September 28-30, 2014. This major international transportation conference will bring together stakeholders from government, academia, private and public industry and business to discuss the impact of warming trends on transportation in the North.  The theme of the conference is Implications for Arctic Transportation, Supply Chain Management, and Economic Development.  With Canada in the role of Chair of the Arctic Council, it is vital that the country take the lead on presenting the issues facing the world as the passages in the North open up to shipping traffic.  The agenda is now available to view and registration is officially open for this event.  Please visit or go directly to the conference information page here


Brian Oleson, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, gave a presentation at the Farm Foundation Forum on Geopolitical Uncertainty in Agriculture and Energy Markets, held on April 8 in Washington D.C.  Farm Foundation serves as a catalyst for sound public policy by providing objective information to foster a deeper understanding of issues shaping the future for agriculture, food systems and rural regions.  Farm Foundation has an 81-year history of objectivity.  It does not lobby or advocate for specific policy.  Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman was the moderator of this Forum.

In the month of April, the Bruce D. Campbell Farm and Food Discovery Centre has been busy hosting school groups while piloting the new programs specially designed to meet grade school curricular learning objectives. These new programs are day-long workshops where students learn about agricultural production, processing and food creation in an effort to help them link Manitoba's agriculture with their daily food.  Eight new school programs provide teachers with choices about what they would like to have their students learn and promotes return visits by schools. The programs have seen grade 1 and 2 students tour the Glenlea dairy and learn all about dairy production (making butter and ice cream), up to grade 11 and 12 students visiting the centre to learn more about general agricultural production and career opportunities in agriculture. The feedback from the students and teachers has been extremely positive about the quality of the programs and the learning support they provide. The launching of these new programs has relied heavily on the support from University of Manitoba's faculty and support staff, extension specialists from MAFRD, and commodity groups including Manitoba Pork, Manitoba Egg Farmers, the Dairy Farmers of Manitoba, Keystone Potato Producers Association and Peak of the Market. Thank you to all who have provided time, expertise, support and materials to make these programs possible.

Martin Nyachoti, Animal Science, was at the University of Nairobi from March 29 to April 18 working with two graduate students (Winnie Okumu and Maureen Kugo) that he co-advises at the Centre for Biotechnology and Bioinformatics with his collaborator, Prof. James Ochanda. While there, Martin gave a seminar on "The Application of Biotechnology in the Science and Practice of Livestock Production".

Kees Plaizier, Animal Science, attended the Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference held in Fort Wayne, IN, April 14-16 to give an invited presentation on "Prevention of Ruminal Acidosis in Dairy Cows".

Barb Sharanowski, Entomology, gave two seminars in March at Universidad Nacional de Autonaoma Honduras at both the Tegucigalpa and La Ceiba campuses on "Parasitoids and their use in Biological control".   She also gave a seminar at Boise State University Department of Biological Sciences on April 4 entitled, "Evolution of Introns in Insects."

Alejandro Costamagna, Entomology, received funding of over $450,000 from the Western Grains Foundation for the establishment of facilities for rearing wheat midge and for a collaborative research initiative with Curt McCartney of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.  Sheila Wolfe-Campbell, a technician with AAFC, is now working in the Department of Entomology to assist with maintenance of the culture.

The 5th annual Carman High School Agro Ecology Day was held on April 14 at the Ian N. Morrison Research Farm and involved 75 Grade 10 students from Carman, Elm Creek and Miami. Started in 2010, the event is a joint venture between the Prairie Rose School Division, University of Manitoba Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, and MAFRD. The students participated in hands-on learning with experts in the fields of entomology, weeds, riverbanks, soil, and agricultural meteorology. The University of Manitoba was represented by Doug Cattani, Alvin Iverson, Rotimi Ojo, Jim Dunn and Sue Clayton along with MAFRI staff and other participants. Read the article in the Carman Valley Leader

The Faculty recently learned of the 2013 induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame of Faculty alumnus and U of M honourary doctorate recipient Dr. David H. MacLennan. Dr. MacLennan obtained his BSA from the University of Manitoba in 1959, followed by MSc and PhD degrees in Biological Sciences from Purdue University. Dr. MacLennan’s interest in calcium transport resulted in studies that have made enormous contributions to the fields of human and animal health. He led teams that defined the genetic basis for three important muscle diseases: malignant hyperthermia, central core disease and Brody disease. His studies on a related disease in swine resulted in a diagnostic test that has decreased the incidence of the disease dramatically and, ultimately, will eliminate it from swine populations, with substantial economic benefits to the industry. In these varied studies of human and animal diseases, he has been instrumental in the understanding of a novel field of muscle disease caused by defects in calcium-regulatory proteins. Dr. MacLennan noted in an email to the University: "In Canada alone, the savings to the pork industry have been estimated to be $40 million/year; worldwide the savings have been in the billions. This was my contribution to Agriculture and my repayment for my education in the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Manitoba."


Kahindi, R.K., Woyengo, T.A., Thacker, P.A., Nyachoti, C.M., Energy and amino acid digestibility of camelina cake fed to growing pigs, Animal Feed Science and Technology (2014),

Heo, J.M., D. Ayoade, and C.M. Nyachoti. Determination of the net energy content of canola meal from Brassica napus yellow and Brassica juncea yellow fed to growing pigs using indirect calorimetry. Animal Science Journal (2014). Article first published online: 9 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/asj.12196


Alum Chris Page was featured in the article "Untraditional" in Country Guide (April 22). Chris (DipAg/97) and his wife Crystal have joined their parents' farm operations, and created a diversified business that includes grains and greenhouses. Read it on page 26 at

Martin Entz and Gary Martens, Plant Science, were interviewed for the article "Into the corners" in Country Guide (April 22). They discuss the challenges of identifying and breeding organic wheat varieties, and how organic farmers have participated in the process by serving as field-level researchers. Read it on page 50 at

Digvir Jayas, Biosystems Engineering, was quoted in the article "Spoilage alert: start probing bins and bags" in the Western Producer (April 17 - on page 5 at and in the article "Manitoba grain starting to move to Thunder Bay, ships on the way" in the Manitoba Co-operator (April 17 - on page 17 at  Digvir urges growers to move grain out of bags and piles and into aerated bins before May.

Emma McGeough, Animal Science, was quoted in the article "Efficiency, improvements key to agriculture, beef production" in the Western Producer (April 17). Emma talks about research into beef production’s environmental impacts, from emission assessment and nutrient management to water quality and carbon balance. Read it on page 37 at

Gary Martens, Plant Science, was quoted by the Manitoba Co-operator (April 15) in the article "Manitoba’s first glyphosate-resistant weed confirmed". The article reported on Manitoba's first official glyphosate-resistant weed, kochia, discovered after a field survey conducted last fall. Read more at It was also reported by Kelvin Heppner for Portage Online -

Doug Cattani, Plant Science, was quoted in the article "Les promesses de l’agriculture vivace" in La Presse (March 23). Doug talks about the perennial grains program at the University of Manitoba. Read it (in French) at|CtJI.Kjet3iE.


Do you know a support staff member or team that deserves recognition? Nominate them for the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Support Staff Award. The Faculty has two annual awards recognizing the outstanding contributions by Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences support staff. Complete details ( and nomination form ( are available online.  Deadline is May 1.

The University of Manitoba Employees Scholarship is a scholarship that is available to the spouse or dependent children of University of Manitoba employees or retired former employees. The deadline to submit applications for the scholarship is Monday, June 2. Applications can be found online at Applications are also available at the Financial Aid and Awards Office, which is in Room 422 University Centre, or at Room S107 Medical Services Building at the Bannatyne Campus. The 2013-2014 competition is based on course work completed between May 1, 2013 and April 30, 2014. All eligible applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.


AG e-news > April 23, 2014