Drumroll, please!

The votes have been counted, and the next International Oat Conference (IOC) will be held in Pucón, Chile, in 2026. Congratulations to Karina von Baer and her team! You can read a statement from Karina here.

The IOC committee would like to thank both the Chilean and German groups for submitting such excellent bids to host the meeting. The vote was *very* close, and it is obvious that a lot of people would like to see an IOC meeting hosted in Germany. Perhaps in 2030?

The 2nd Food Oats Conference is coming up in Lund, Sweden, next month, and the deadline to register is May 12th! In July, Oat Global will be hosting a field day and discussion on oat genomics at North Dakota State University, in Fargo, ND, USA. More details will be shared soon. Other events have also been added to the calendar – please take a moment to review those!

May 12th is also the International Day of Plant Health. Crown and stem rust are starting to appear in fields in the USA, and Oluseyi Fajolu, from the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Lab in St. Paul, MN, has published the first Cereal Rust Bulletin of the season. Please send samples of rust if you can, but pay close attention to the instructions for collection and mailing, which are printed at the end of the bulletin. NO plastic sample bags, please!

If you are seeking employment in the area of plant pathology, a position for Supervisory Research Plant Pathologist/Geneticist/Plant Physiologist with the USDA-ARS in Raleigh, NC, USA is now open. There is also a position for a Research Scientist in Plant Phenomics with DPIRD, in Western Australia, and, for someone just starting out, a PhD scholarship in oat genomics is available in Morten Lillemo’s lab at NMBU in Aas, Norway.

Harriet Gendall recently gave a seminar concerning her PhD work on ‘pillas’, the small naked oat formerly grown on farms around the UK, but now quite rare. I had the chance to see some of her material in the greenhouse at IBERS, in Plas Gogerddan, Wales, on a recent trip to the area. The tall, slender plants with small seeds and black nodes were quite easy to pick out!

If you’re in the UK, you can watch the March 26th episode of BBC Countryfile, where the hosts toured the IBERS facilities with Catherine Howarth and others.

The group at IBERS is also part of the Healthy Oats project, along with various researchers at UC Dublin. Cathal McCabe, from UCD, recently gave a seminar concerning his work on diversity in oat germplasm.

In other people news, retired small grains breeder Andrew Barr won the GRDC “Seed of Gold” award this year, for his lifetime contribution to the Australian grains industry. Just starting her career, Nadia Kamal was presented with the Next Generation Leadership award at the 2023 AGBT meeting. Congratulations to both!

Thinking of the even-younger generation, links to more videos for children on growing oats in Saskatchewan, Canada, have been added to the “For kids” page in the newsletter.

Finally, in the last update I mentioned a webinar on ChatGPT that was scheduled to be presented by Channa Prakash of Tuskeegee University. The date of the webinar ended up being changed, but two videos were recorded, and can be accessed here and here. The passcode for both is 2.zRLI4Z.

Other recent bits of news and information can be found in the “Weekly Web Harvest” series, which is published every Sunday in the “Community News” section of the newsletter.

Happy International Day of Plant Health on Friday!