DSSAT 2018 @ Jamaica

Over the period July 16-27, 2018, the Department of Physics, University of the West Indies, in concert with the Department of Life Sciences (Mona and St. Augustine) facilitated a Training Workshop on Crop Simulation Modelling, Climate change and Livestock Impact Assessment. The workshop consistent of two one week sections, one basic and one advanced. The Course Coordinators were Dr. Dale Rankine (Department of Physics, UWI Mona) and Dr. Jane Cohen (Department of Life Sciences, UWI Mona). Prof. Gerrit Hoogenboom, Professor and Preeminent Scholar (Univ. Florida) was the guest lecturer (Module 2).

The workshop targeted agronomists, extension officers, farmers, researchers (including graduate students), agro-meteorologists, representatives from Universities and the Ministries of Agriculture and Fisheries. 17 persons attended the first week and 26 persons attended the second week. The overview of training content is presented below.

Module 1, Week 1 (July 16-20, 2017)
Climate and Crop Modelling Basics

Module 2, Week 2 (July 23-27, 2018)
Advanced Crop Modelling

  • Climate Basics- and How do we Model Climate Generally (Dr. Tannecia Stephenson, Head of Physics Dept -UWI Mona)
  • Climate Change and the Caribbean- Where are we Now, What about the Future (Prof. Michael Taylor, Head of Climate Studies Group Mona, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology- UWI Mona)
  • Plant Physiology, Data collection and Manipulation (Dr. Jane Cohen, Snr. Lecturer Department of Life Sciences- UWI Mona)
  • Crop Modelling Basics (Dr. Dale Rankine, Crop Modelling Research Analyst, Caribbean)
  • Data collection- Tracking Canopy Development – The Automated Canopy Estimator (ACE) Practical and Theory (Dr. Andre Coy, Lecturer and Software Developer and Mr. Jayaka Campbell, PhD Candidate and Climate Modeler- UWI Mona)
  • DSSAT- Basic Introduction, Data entry, Experiment Creation and Sensitivity Analyses Dr. (Dale Rankine, Crop Modelling Research Analyst, Caribbean)
  • The FAO AquaCrop- The Yield to Water Response Model (Dr. Dale Rankine, UWI Mona)
  • DSSAT- The Advanced Applications (Prof. Gerrit Hoogenboom, Preeminent Scholar, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, University of Florida) Professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering), Dr. Jane Cohen and Dr. Dale Rankine (UWI, Mona)
    • Review of Week 1 and DSSAT Basics
    • Estimating Genetic Coefficients (Manually and using GLUE)
    • Sensitivity Analyses
    • Filed Data Collection and Minimum Data Set requirements
    • Seasonal Analysis, Crop Rotation and coping with uncertainty
    • Field Trip- (Ebony Park- Livestock and Crop Production)” Data collection from field crop production; Assessment of Thermal Heat Stress in Livestock
  • Livestock- What’s Climate Change doing to it and how do we model and predict heat stress impacts (Mr. Cicero Lallo, Senior Lecturer, UWI St. Augustine, Trinidad) – Climate Change Indices for monitoring Heat Stress; Investigating Stress impacts on Livestock (Ruminants, Pigs, Chickens); Investigating the Climate Nutritive value of feed; Weather Generation and downscaling climate data

Both the basic (week 1) and advanced (week two) training modules were well received. There were several requests for collaboration from public, private sector partners as well as from academia and further training. The opening ceremony for Module 2 (Week 2) featured an address by The Hon. Audley Shaw, CD, MP, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, who hailed the initiative and vowed to engage and enjoin RADA to the process. The training was covered in print and electronic media, including being featured On Campus Radio- UWI Mona (July 15), TVJ Smile Jamaica (July 24), Prime Time News (July 23), RJR Beyond the Headlines (July 26) and several follow-up features in Print (the Jamaica Gleaner and the Jamaica Observer) and electronic media (Power 106), among other media outlets.

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