Virtually everything but the kitchen sink
Let’s begin with the item that has the closest deadline – Grain Farmers of Ontario has put out a call for proposals. The deadline for receiving Letters of Intent is next Wednesday, July 15th.
NordGen has also put out a call for proposals. Until September 15th, companies and public institutions can submit proposals for projects aimed at adapting environmentally and climate-friendly crops by using plant genetic resources.
If you work with plant genetic resources, you’ll be interested to hear that the European Patent Office “has concluded that plants and animals exclusively obtained by essentially biological processes are not patentable”.
In terms of research results, you already know that PepsiCo announced the release of the first publically-available hexaploid oat genome sequence recently. There will, however, be an update very soon, and you can read about that in the “Research Reports” section.
That sequence can be found at GrainGenes, and the GrainGenes team has just released two new tutorials to help people make better use of their genome browsers. The GrainGenes database is maintained by the USDA-ARS, which has just released a news item about the new sequence.
The Cereal Disease Lab in St. Paul, MN, is also part of USDA-ARS. You can find the most recent Cereal Rust Bulletins here. If you are in the USA, please send rust samples to Oluseyi Fajolu at: Agricultural Research Service, Cereal Disease Laboratory, 1551 Lindig Street, Saint Paul, MN 55108. If required, she can send you sample envelopes and self-addressed stamped envelopes for mailing.
In Canada, two groups are doing studies concerning Cereal Leaf Beetles. In Alberta, Haley Catton is hoping to find the tiny beneficial insect T. julis in collected samples. In Ontario, people are asked to fill out a survey with questions about beetle numbers, locations, etc..
Speaking of scouting fields, one thing that’s very much missing this year is open field days, although private visits can sometimes be arranged. Of course, you can also send updates for publication in the Oat Newsletter! Liliana Wehrhahne reports that, in Argentina, they sowed oats for forage in the fall, and are now sowing oats for grain production. She says, "In the forage oats we have seen stem rust, which was very rare, since it appeared in the oats for grain harvest in November or December, but in recent years we are seeing it earlier. In 2020 we saw it in early May. Will they be new races? We don´t know."
Please check the calendar or with event coordinators for information concerning different events. The NAMA annual meeting, for example, has been cancelled outright, but the 5th Genomic Selection course is still scheduled to take place in Lanzarote, Spain, at the beginning of September.
One upcoming event of special note is the 50th anniversary of Plant Gene Resources of Canada (PGRC). This event will be held on-line on the first of October, 2020. Even the World Porridge Championships will be held virtually this year!
One advantage of doing things on-line is that videos of these events are often recorded and made available afterwards. Here are some examples:
- Teagasc Virtual Crop Walk
- Cereals: The Arable Event – “Just Oats”
- Arable Scotland – IBERS and KWS
- Saaten Union (in German; Hafer = oats)
- You can also go on an “Oat Quest” with the Gaia Foundation!
On the food end of things, a webinar concerning “Celiac disease, farming solutions, and formulating nutritious gluten-free foods” is available from Avena Foods. May was “Celiac Awareness Month”, and many people are still not aware that most celiacs can tolerate eating oats, but only if they are very pure. The Canadian Celiac Association surveyed thousands of Canadians with celiac to see what they know about oats and 3900 people responded!
Although it seems to have taken a backseat to human health (typical!), this is also the International Year of Plant Health, and the journal Crop Science is preparing a special issue to celebrate. Submissions are due by August 31st.
Steve Harrison (LSU) was named "2019 Outstanding Reviewer" by Crop Science. Here are some other people in the news:
- Jennifer Mitchell Fetch (Brandon RDC, AAFC) and Tom Fetch (Morden RDC, AAFC) have both been honoured with "Honorary Life Awards" from the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association.
- Rebekah Oliver, who has moved on from the oat community to teach at NDSU, was honoured with the "2020 North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Educator Award".
- Sarah Carlson (PFI) is one of Field to Market's "2020 Spotlight Honorees".
- Bao-luo Ma (Ottawa RDC, AAFC) was featured in Top Crop Manager magazine in a story about limiting lodging.
- Watch Fran Canales (IAS-CSIC) describe his work in a Youtube video for #SinCienciaNoHayFuturo ("Without science there is no future") (video in Spanish).
- Päivi Tähtinen has retired from VYR in Finland.
Others, including Jaswinder Singh (McGill U) and Kirby Nilsen (Brandon RDC, AAFC) appear in the latest issue of POGA’s “Oat Scoop” newsletter.
While not involved in the oat community, Abdel Abdellaoui was teaching GWAS for a long time. He isn’t anymore, though, and has offered up his course materials to anyone who wants them. Please note that the download file is very large and can’t be previewed.
At this point, I would normally say that my Web Harvest, containing lots of other bits of information, is now available. It's not, though, as I’m rethinking how to present that information, perhaps by adding more pages to the newsletter. In fact, I wouldn’t mind having someone else help with figuring out how best to disseminate this type of information. Please contact me if you’d like to help out!
Most of that information is found on Twitter, and you can find my tweets and retweets at the bottom of the newsletter homepage, or here. No Twitter account is needed. There are also certain people who tweet quite a bit about oat research. These include:
- Georgie Troup (agronomy; Australia)
- Rosemary Hall (agronomy; UK)
- Emmanual Byamukama (pathology, USA)
- Lana Shaw (intercropping; Canada)