Grant Report: 6th International Food Legumes Research Conference

13th August 2014

 7th – 11th July 2014 Saskatoon, Canada 

I chose to attend this conference as my PhD research has focused on the effects of soil pH management (liming) on the growth and physiology of legume crops. As I’m nearing the end of my PhD studies it seemed an appropriate conference to share my work with an international audience and I was fortunate to be given an oral presentation slot on the first day. My presentation entitled “Liming (to recommended rates) limits legume growth and gas exchange by increasing root-to-shoot signalling of the phytohormone abscisic acid” was well received and stimulated much discussion through the week. I was also awarded an Honourable Mention for my presentation – nice to receive recognition on an international stage. 

The other work presented during the week was stimulating, of particular interest were several presentations highlighting research on the relationship between soil nutrient management and soil microbes and nodulation in legumes. This is an area of work that interests me and it is good to know that research in this area is still needed for the future. 

During the week there was a visit to a local research farm that focuses on legume and wheat crops, which was fascinating. We were demonstrated some new cultivation techniques and it was interesting to learn that 95% of the arable land in the area is now zero or min-till, primarily to prevent soil erosion which has historically been a significant problem. 

Going forward, some of the other work presented created interesting ideas for further research in my own work. Also, I made some good contacts for possible future collaboration including one that we have already contacted regarding a post-doctoral research proposal that we have just submitted, so the “networking” at the conference was definitely worthwhile. 

Outside of the conference we were treated to some of the interesting historic attractions in Saskatoon including a “living museum” of life in the area 100 years ago when new settlers were ploughing the virgin prairies, planting crops and building farms, fascinating stuff. 

In conclusion,  the conference was a fantastic experience that gave me the chance to present my PhD work to an international audience and meet some future collaborators and I thank the BSSS for the kind award of the travel grant that made the journey possible. 

Shane Rothwell