AG Notes

Innovation of the Year award presented

David Wolyn of the University of Guelph’s plant sciences department has received the university’s Innovation of the Year award for 2019.

Wolyn is a leader in the breeding and development of asparagus varieties that have become the most popular kinds grown in North America and that are fast gaining favour in Europe and Asia.

Since the late 1980s, he has focused on producing hardy asparagus for colder northern winters to improve yield, quality and disease resistance.

It’s widely believed that the varieties saved the asparagus industry in North America.

All of the varieties are male-only hybrids, renowned for yields three to four times higher than those of open-pollinated varieties that were once the industry standard.

Young Researchers Prize launched

Nutreco, a leader in animal nutrition and aquafeed, has launched the Young Researchers Prize to recognize outstanding young researchers committed to feeding the world’s growing population.

The prize will be awarded to the most promising research by PhD and post-doctorate students working globally in animal, aquaculture and veterinary sciences. Any research relevant to this field, such as economics or big data, is also eligible.

The prize details are as follows:

  • First place has a cash prize of €12,000 (approximately C$20,000).
  • Second place has a cash prize of €8,000 (approximately $13,000).
  • Third place has a cash prize of €5,000 (approximately $8,000).

Applications need to be submitted in one of the following categories:

  • precision farming
  • young animal nutrition
  • animal health and welfare

The deadline is Dec. 9.

For more information, visit or email

Research lab receives data donation

Dalhousie University’s Agra-Food Analytics Lab will receive $250,000 over the next five years from Angus Reid Inc.

The company will provide an annual contribution of data to the research lab and its director, Sylvain Charlebois.

The data will be targeted field surveys as well as input on relevant food-related questions within existing Angus Reid Inc. surveys.

Evidence-based insights and future collaborations with Angus Reid will allow the researchers to use advanced agri-food analytics to help the industry innovate and commercialize to new levels, which is aimed at improving Canadian food quality, security and sustainability.

Researcher receives innovation award

Leon Kochian, Canada Excellence Research Chair at the University of Saskatchewan, has won the $100,000 2019 Arrell Global Food Innovation Award for global excellence in food innovation.

The award recognizes research leaders who have made significant contributions to scientific understanding that will improve food security for the planet.

Kochian is internationally recognized for his plant root systems research that aims to improve crop yields.

His goal is to breed crops with healthier, more efficient root systems that can grow successfully in less fertile soils.

He has also been elected to the Agricultural Research Service Hall of Fame and was included on the Thomson Reuters’ 2018 list of the world’s most influential scientific research minds.

Kochian joined the U of S in 2016 from Cornell University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to lead the university’s CERC program aimed at improving global food production.


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