Manitoba Bulletin

Manitoba Bulletin

Exciting times in ag research

When it comes to trying to foster an inclusive space, Mark Belmonte, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Manitoba (U of M), says it’s important for everybody to feel welcome.

“I didn’t always feel welcome in schools when I was growing up,” Belmonte says. “It’s important for me to make sure people who are interested in science are given the opportunity to be able to ask questions, and to walk out of my lab with confidence knowing they can actually make changes from what they are learning.”

Belmonte and his research team at the U of M focus primarily on plant molecular biology, and through discovery science are developing the next generation of crop protection and crop production technologies for farmers.

They are doing fascinating work with ribonucleic acids (RNA), which are molecules found everywhere on earth, each with a special function. In plants, these molecules act as messengers that enable the plant to combat different stresses, like environmental conditions or diseases.

In relation to genetics or genetic engineering, Belmonte says there is nothing more organic than DNA or RNA. “The amount of rigour and experiments required to ensure food is safe is more now than ever before,” says Belmonte. This is important because it provides the consumer with the information they need to make a choice.

Great Tastes of Manitoba videos University of Manitoba professor and researcher Mark Belmonte.

For Belmonte, now is an exciting time in agriculture and science. “With so many new technologies, it’s going to require a community to implement and translate these in a way that will help both the consumer and the farmer.”

Belmonte is passionate about his work and is committed to building a welcoming and inclusive science community.

“When you give students the opportunity to study in an inclusive space, to be able to listen to each other and share their stories, you give them the opportunity to be free thinkers.”

This can provide huge benefits to every aspect of society, says Belmonte.
Watch Belmonte’s video at

Tuesday, January 16
Canola Morning at Manitoba Ag Days

Manitoba Canola Growers Association Program – FCC Theatre

9:30 a.m. – Manitoba’s Most Wanted
Chris Manchur, agronomy specialist, Canola Council of Canada, @ManchurCCC

Courtney Ross, agronomy specialist, Canola Council of Canada, @rossCCC

Canola production in Manitoba over the past growing season was met with many challenges, including drought, diseases, and insects. Some notable insects that have caused issues for growers were flea beetles, diamondback moths and lygus bugs. As for diseases, blackleg and verticillium stripe were prevalent, while later in the season sooty molds and powdery mildew appeared. Chris and Courtney will highlight the top pests and pathogens that are “Most Wanted” here in Manitoba, and what strategies can be taken to manage them effectively in future growing seasons.

10:15 a.m. – Seeding: Getting it Right
Amy Delaquis, research manager, Manitoba Canola Growers Association, @mymangin

Chris Holzapfel, professional agrologist, Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation, @CBHolz13

Amy and Chris will look at results from canola field trials focused on phosphorus (P) fertilizer formulations/blends, application rates and placement methods. This work compared the effects of contrasting granular fertilizer forms, applied in the seed-row at a wide range of rates, on canola establishment and yield. We will also look at furrow vs side band placement of P results. Preliminary results from Manitoba Canola Growers On-Farm Research Program, including seed-placed fertilizer toxicity and seeding rate optimization for canola across Manitoba growing conditions will be discussed.

11:15 a.m. – Produced on the Prairies Video Premiere
A partnership between Manitoba Ag Days, Great Tastes of Manitoba and Manitoba Canola Growers Association

11:20 a.m. – Your Farm Voice in Ottawa

Dave Carey, vice president, government & industry relations, Canadian Canola Growers Association, @davecarey

Join Dave Carey, one of Canada’s top lobbyists, for a candid discussion where he will pull back the curtain on Ottawa federal policy making and unpack just what role farm groups play in the capital. Dave will talk about issues, Ottawa’s state of play and lobbying strategy and tactics. Dave will help you understand how to make our farm voices heard.