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Pasture Problems; Drought, high temp stress highlight Australian meeting

Pasture Problems; Drought, high temp stress highlight Australian meeting

With a laser focus on pasture plant adaptation to drought and high temperature stress, some of the world’s leading agronomists are set to meet in September at the Satellite Meeting of the 22nd International Grassland Congress in Sydney, Australia. Held at the University of Sydney, the satellite meeting will be led in part by co-organizer Chuck West, Texas Tech’s Thornton Distinguished Professor of Forages.

West joined the Texas Tech faculty less than a year ago and brought with him his collaboration with Florence Volaire of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (Montpellier, France) and Mark Norton of the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (Wagga Wagga, Australia). In 2009, the trio organized the first international conference on summer dormancy in grasses.

With increased demand for production of animal proteins, coupled with the impacts of climate change on the agriculture industry, West and his colleagues recognize the increased necessity for pasture and forage plants with greater adaptation to drought and high temperatures.

“There will be a brainstorming session on how the information we gain from international exchange could lead to better international cooperation on dealing with reduced water supply for agriculture,” West said.

Countries in attendance will include Australia, China, France, New Zealand, and the United States. Conference presentations will address a variety of topics including summer dormancy, mechanisms of stress tolerance, drought and heat tolerance, and identification of traits of grasses for warmer and drier climates.

“There is increasing interest in work in climate change, declining water supplies and food security, and we need to address this problem globally, not just locally,” West said. “I think the work being done in west Texas can contribute to this global effort.”

Separately, two of West’s senior staff, Research Associate Phil Brown, and Rick Kellison, project director for the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation, will be presenting papers at the main meeting on research and outreach activities related to Texas Tech’s forage program.

According to program organizers, the International Grassland Congress promotes the exchange of information on all aspects of natural and cultivated grasslands and forage crops for the benefit of mankind, including sustained development, food production and the maintenance of biodiversity.

Written by Faith Jurek

CONTACT: Chuck West, Thornton Distinguished Chair of Plant and Soil Science, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-1625 or chuck.west@ttu.edu

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