Redesign agriculture to improve Resource Use Efficiency

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Postgraduate Course

Redesign agriculture to improve Resource Use Efficiency

13 - 17 May 2024

Parkhotel 'de Bosrand', Ede, the Netherlands

 

Scope

Agriculture is at a crossroads and solutions are needed to ensure that present and future systems can produce food in sufficient quantity and quality for the growing population. One big challenge is to deal with the resources that are getting scarce and are under strong regulations to limit their impact on the environment, such as nitrogen and water. Improving resource use efficiency (RUE) is therefore a relevant process for more sustainable agriculture. RUE can be defined and improved at different levels: from soil processes to field and to whole farm management. There are different processes and management aspects at various levels that influence RUE and collectively they are important for improving our agronomic practices and securing food production in a sustainable way.

In this course, we will thus approach RUE at three different levels: the soil and plant level, the field level and the farm level. We will focus on how to improve RUE at the different levels and explore how changes at one level influence RUE at the other levels. We will concentrate on nitrogen and water use efficiency as these resources are key drivers of agricultural productivity and their use needs to be improved to ensure sustainability. Ultimately, we challenge the students to propose strategies to improve RUE for an association of farms that encounter different challenges regarding resource use, climate change and farmers management.

Learning goals of the course

  • Appraise definition and quantification approaches for RUE at different levels and for different resources
  • Examine how RUE processes influence each other at different levels of integration.
  • Analyse strategies to use RUE to enhance sustainability
  • Identify/develop strategies to improve RUE for an association of farms within their specific context
Course set-up

Poster carousel
Monday morning, after the general welcome and introduction, there will be a poster carousel during which participants present themselves, their research and interest in the course. The carousel will involve 6 sessions where approximately 5 posters will be presented. Posters will remain in the lecture room throughout the course. Prior to the course, participants will receive a poster format from the course office, which can be submitted back to the office in PDF for printing.

Keynote, Lectures, and Discussion
On Monday there will be a keynote speaker introducing the topic and challenging the participants to think outside the box regarding the topic. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings, 3 lectures by scientists providing a general theoretical view on how to study and improve RUE at the plant-soil, field or farm level. After each lecture, a discussion is held, convened by the participants who challenge the speaker. Participants receive a speaker’s paper prior to the course to provide as background information and to help formulate questions to challenge the speaker after their presentation.

Groupwork
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, participants will work in groups of around 5 people and work on the challenge” How to redesign the farming system to improve RUE at the level of a farm association”. Each group will work with a farm association that has specific challenges that could be approached from the plant-soil, field or farm level. The activity is supervised by the lecturers and course organizers, and there will be ample time for discussion around the theoretical background, possible redesign interventions and the consequences for RUE.

Preliminary Course Programme
Monday 13 May: Course start-up / Let’s talk about resource use efficiency 
9:00 – 9:30 Arrival and settling in
9:30 - 10:00 Welcome / Introduction to the course
10:00 - 11:00 Poster Carrousel
11:00 - 11:15 Break
11:15 - 12:30 Poster Carrousel continued
12:30 - 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 14:15 Keynote: Let’s talk about resource use efficiency (Katrien Descheemaeker, Wageningen University)
14:15 – 15:15 Discussion on groupwork themes / Introduction to case studies (Stella Juventia and Gildas Assogba, Wageningen Univedrsity)
15:15 - 15:30 Break
15:30 - 17:30 Start-up of Groupwork
17:30 – 18:30 Ice-Breaker Drinks
18:30 – 19:30 Dinner
19:30 - Introduction to case studies (Sjoerd Rombout) (tbd) / Free evening / reading of papers / group discussion
 
Tuesday 14 May: Improving RUE at the plant-soil level 
7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast
9:00 – 9:30 Lecture: Root traits and soil structure in drought (Alix Vidal, Wageningen University)
9:30 – 10:00 Discussion
10:00 - 10:15 Break
10:15 - 10:45 Lecture: The role of the microbial community on Nitrogen Use Efficiency (Gerlinde de Deyn, Wageningen University)
10:45 - 11:15 Discussion
11:15 – 11:30 Break
11:30 – 12:00 Lecture: Breeding for improved water use efficiency (Francisco Pinto, Wageningen University)
12:00 - 12:30 Discussion
12:30 –13:30 Lunch
13:30 - 17:00 Groupwork
17:00 – 18:00 Free time / Drinks
18:00 – 19:00 Dinner
19:00 - Free evening / reading of papers / group discussion
 
Wednesday 15 May: Improving RUE at the field level
7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast
9:00 – 9:30 Lecture: Legumes and Nitrogen Use Efficiency (Katrien Descheemaeker, Wageningen University)
9:30 – 10:00 Discussion
10:00 - 10:15 Break
10:15 - 10:45 Lecture: Cover crops and Resource Use Efficiency (Florian Wichern - Hochschule Rhein-Waal, Kleve, Germany)
10:45 - 11:15 Discussion
11:15 – 11:30 Break
11:30 – 12:00 Lecture: Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency via Intercropping  (Franca Bongers, Wageningen University)
12:00 - 12:30 Discussion
12:30 –13:30 Lunch
13:30 - 17:00 Groupwork
17:00 – 18:00 Free time / Drinks
18:00 – 19:00 Dinner
19:00 - Free evening / reading of papers / group discussion
 
Thursday 16 May: Improving RUE at the farm level
7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast
9:00 – 9:30 Lecture: Farm Design, a means to enhance Resource Use Efficiency (Roos Adelhart Toorop, Wageningen University)
9:30 – 10:00 Discussion
10:00 - 10:15 Break
10:15 - 10:45 Lecture: Increasing Resource Use Efficiency through Farm Management: (Gerrie van de Ven, Wageningen University)
10:45 - 11:15 Discussion
11:15 – 11:30 Break
11:30 – 12:00 Lecture: Synthesis (??)
12:00 - 12:30 Discussion
12:30 –13:30 Lunch
13:30 - 17:00 Groupwork
17:00 – 18:00 Free time / Drinks
18:00 – 19:00 Dinner
19:00 - Free evening / reading of papers / group discussion
 
Friday 17 May: Presentations Groupwork
7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast
9:00 – 10:00 Presentations
10:00 - 10:15 Break
10:15 - 11:15 Presentations continued
11:15 – 11:30 Break
11:30 – 12:30 Final presentation(s) / Synthesis of the course and closure
12:30 –13:30 Lunch and farewell
Course Organisers
 
General information
Target Group PhD candidates or junior researchers
Group Size Min. 20 / Max. 30 participants
Course duration 5 days
Language of instruction English
Number of credits 1. 5 ECTS
Prior knowledge Participants should have a basic knowledge of soil or plant ecology and/or crop farming systems.
Location Hotel de Bosrand, Ede.
Fees 1
  EARLY-BIRD FEE 1 REGULAR FEE 1
PE&RC  / WIMEK / WASS / EPS / VLAG / WIAS PhD candidates with an approved and EngD candidates TSP € 350,- € 400,-
PE&RC  Postdocs and staff € 700,- € 750,-
All other academic participants € 780,- € 830,-
Non academic participants € 1130,- € 1180,-

1 The course fee includes accommodation and catering (breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee/tea) but excludes beverages
2 The Early-Bird Fee applies to anyone who REGISTERS ON OR BEFORE 18 MARCH 2024
Note:

  • If you need an invoice to complete your payment, please send an email to office.pe@wur.nl, including ALL relevant details that should be mentioned on the invoice (e.g., purchase order no., specific addresses, attendees, etc.).
  • The Early-Bird policy is such that the moment of REGISTRATION (and not payment) is leading for determining the fee that applies to you.
  • Please make sure that your payment is arranged within two weeks after your registration.
  • It is the participant's responsibility to make sure that he/she (or his/her secretary) completes the payment correctly and in time.
PE&RC Cancellation Conditions
  • Up to 4 (four) weeks prior to the start of the course, cancellation is free of charge.
  • Up to 2 (two) weeks prior to the start of the course, 50% of the course fee of  will be charged.
  • In case of cancellation within two weeks prior to the start of the course or no show, 100% of the participation fee will be charged.

Note: If you would like to cancel your registration, ALWAYS inform us and do not assume that by NOT paying the participation fee, your registration is automatically cancelled, because it isn't (and do note that you will be kept to the cancellation conditions).

More information

Claudius van de Vijver (PE&RC)
Email: claudius.vandevijver@wur.nl

Registration

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