International scientific conference on current challenges in plant health, biotechnology and plant breeding took place in Cankarjev Dom in Ljubljana on May 11th and 12th 2015. Over 170 participants from 18 European countries attended this event organised within European project Cropsustain.
Gregor Urek, Cropsustain project coordinator and the president of the organising committee of the conference described the event as a great opportunity for establishing a platform of scientific excellence and transfer of scientific achievements into the agricultural practice. He emphasized high quality of the conference contributions and their orientation towards new challenges in the field of plant health for sustainable agriculture.
Director of the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia Andrej Simončič presented the role of the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia in the region and in Europe as well as research and expert work that answers to the challenges of changing farming conditions due to climate change as well as contemporary approaches in the protection of plants against pests and diseases, the impact of the use of plant protection products on the environment, breeding of new plant varieties and biotechnology in agriculture.
Scientific part of the conference was composed of six sessions: Challenges in Plant Health, Plant Pests and Diseases Diagnostics, Nonchemical (Alternative) Control of Pests and Diseases, Biotechnology and Plant Breeding for Plant Protection, Prognosis and Decision Supporting Systems, and IPM and Good Agricultural Practice. Thirty contributions were presented in the form of lectures, and additional 65 contributions as presentations in poster session.
Our goals are effective and environmentally-friendly plant protection and pest management, which are the basis for sustainable agriculture. We will achieve this with preventive measures, pest monitoring, studying pest bionomy, their response to environmental factors, biological control and natural enemies, predictions of pest spread and modelling pest development, plant breeding and development of efficient Decision Support Systems. Essential for sustainability are implementation of measures for decreasing the risk due to the use of pesticides, and development and implementation of the principles of Integrated Pest Management in agriculture. As pests do not recognise geopolitical boundaries when they spread, cooperation, knowledge and data sharing, joint development of technologies between countries, institutions and individuals are necessary.
We can conclude at the end of the Plant Health for Sustainable agriculture Conference that there is a need for further research on the following topics:
To achieve our goals, we are establishing a platform to build a network involving a wide range of participants, from research institutions, universities, farmers, industrial partners and others. By building a bridge between the east and the west, between the north and the south and by working together, we can achieve our goals: reduce the impact of pests on crop yield and reduced the impact of our actions on the environment and our health.
Conference video presentations on videolectures.net educational portal
Conference in media: