Day 1 :
Michigan State University, USA
Keynote: A transforming soil water retention technology that eradicates drought and increases crop resilience to changing climates
Time : 09:30 - 10:00
Alvin J M Smucker is working as a Professor of Soil Biophysics at Michigan State University. He received the 2005 Distinguished Faculty, is a fellow in five national and international scientific societies, a double recipient of the Alexandar von Humboldt research award in Germany, a visiting Professor at the Scottish Agricultural College, visiting Research Scientist at the Argonne National Laboratories, Chicago and the Distinguished MacMaster Research Fellow, CSIRO, Australia. His water conservation research received the 2015 MSU Innovator award. He has over 326 publications on plant water use efficiency, root dynamics and rhizosphere ecology. He is the recipient of many patents for agriculture.
Increasing demands for producing sustainable food and cellulosic fiber supplies on small and large farms has become the grand challenge for the 21st Century. Soil water deficits rank among the highest stress limitations to plant production. Although supplemental irrigation, increasing fertilization and manure applications to highly permeable soils may increase seed and biomass production, during the short term, these management practices are simply not sustainable due to elevated leaching losses including nutrients, pesticides, pathogens and animal endocrine and human causmetic disrupting compounds to groundwater supplies. New plant biotechnologies combined with water conservation and prescription nutrient technology provide long-term sustainable crop productivity while improving soil quality. Doubling the water and nutrient holding capacities in plant root zones sustain high productivity of nutritious food crops and biomass on marginal sandy and Oxisolic soils. Installation of subsurface water retention technology (SWRT) membranes in the upper 50 to 75 cm of sandy soils increase both above ground biomass and food production by 40% to 400% with substantial reductions of irrigation water. Today’s new manually and mechanically installed SWRT membranes convert sandy soils into sustainable plant production regions that transform lives and communities. This presentation summarizes how these amazing SWRT membranes increase soil water and nutrient contents in plant root zones and require less irrigation water to double and triple maize, cotton and horitcultural crops in Iraq, Iran, China and the USA. This new SWRT Solutions approach is patented and prepared to save water while gardening or farming to feed everyone in rural and urban locations.
USDA-ARS, Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory, USA
Keynote: Can novel management practice improves soil and environmental quality and sustains crop yield simultaneously?
Time : 10:00- 10:30
Upendra M Sainju is a research Agronomist, USDA, ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory. He is currently working on the effects of tillage, crop rotation, crop diversity, cropping intensity, and cultural practices on soil aggregation, organic matter concentration, microbial activities, nitrogen mineralization, and carbon and nitrogen sequestration in dryland areas. He is also engaged in studying the effects of irrigation management, nitrogen fertilization rates, and cultural practices in nitrate-nitrogen movement in soil that affects water quality, soil organic matter level, and nitrogen mineralization in irrigated land.
Little is known about management practices that can simultaneously improve soil and environmental quality and sustain crop yields. The effect of combination of tillage, crop rotation, and N fertilization on soil C and N, global warming potential (GWP), greenhouse gas intensity (GHGI), and malt barley yield and quality were examined, from 2005 to 2011 in eastern Montana and western North Dakota. In both places, no-till barley-pea with N fertilization (NTB-P/N) increased soil organic C (SOC) and total N (STN) by 5-14%, but reduced residual soil NO3-N, GWP, and GHGI by 24-79% compared with the traditional practices (conventional till continuous barley or barley-fallow with N fertilization). Barley yield and quality were similar between the two practices. Novel management practices, such as NTB-P/N, can simultaneously enhance soil and environmental quality and sustain crop yield compared with traditional practices in the northern Great Plains.
UNISA, South Africa
Time : 10:45- 11:15
David M Modise holds a BSc Horticulture from the University of Bath (UK), MSc Horticulture from West Virginia University (USA) and PhD Biological Sciences from the University of Nottingham (UK). He was previously a Director, School of Agriculture and Life Sciences and is currently the Deputy Executive Dean at the College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences at UNISA. He has vast university teaching and management experience. His major research interest is in the physiology of food crops with special emphasis on water/drought stress. He has published research articles and book chapters and has supervised postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
Climate Change, a term often used interchangeably with Global Warming, is associated with change in climatic conditions mostly due to human activities, over a prolonged period of time. Human activities such as burning of fossil fuels to produce energy, deforestation, and in fact some agricultural practices, are deemed to invariably increase the concentration of atmospheric gases particularly CO2, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), thus increasing the average world temperature. The increase in average world temperature can very catastrophic, in that this may cause melting or thawing of snow in artic countries thus resulting in floods and warming of the oceans, sea level can rise and corals get damaged, higher temperatures can result in more heat waves or can result in both EL NINO and LANINA effects. These may in turn have both desirable and undesirable consequences to the agriculture industry. This keynote address will evaluate the world and South African policies and practices that are linked to climate change with the view of determining whether we are addressing climate change issues adequately with regards to agricultural production and subsequently food security.