Keynote Speakers



Elías Fereres

University of Córdoba, IAS CSIC


Elias Fereres is Professor in the School of Agricultural and Forestry Engineering, University of Córdoba, Spain, and Researcher at the Institute of Sustainable Agriculture, Scientific Research Council of Spain (IAS-CSIC). Agricultural engineer (University of Madrid, 1969; doctoral degree, 1977), he as an MSc degree (Irrigation, 1974) and a Ph. D. (Ecology, 1976) from the University of California, Davis. From 1976 he worked at the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis, returning to Spain in 1982. In 1991, he was appointed President of the Higher Council of Scientific Research (CSIC), and in1992 he was promoted to Secretary of State for Universities and Research of the Government of Spain until 1995. First Director of the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (CSIC, Cordoba, Spain; 1996-2000). In 1998, he was appointed member of the Technical Advisory Committee (Science Council) of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR, Washington, DC), until 2003. He has been President of the European Society of Agronomy (2000-2002) and first President (1995-2003) of the Royal Academy of Engineering of Spain (position which he holds for the second time since 2011), of which he is a founding member. He has had substantial international experience working on water, agricultural and environmental issues for national and international agencies such, as the Office of Technology Assessment of the US Congress, USAID, World Bank and several UN agencies, primarily FAO. He has worked with several centres of the CGIAR, including CIMMYT, ICARDA, CIAT and CIP.

Keynote topic: Sustainable water resource management

The keynote will deal with his professional area of expertise and in particular with his current research interests focused on the relations between water use and food production and the sustainability of water-limited agriculture, including topics such as crop productivity as affected by water, water management at different scales, agriculture-environment interactions, soil and water conservation, irrigation water management, deficit irrigation strategies, and efficient use of limited water supplies in drought situations.


Gustavo Slafer

ICREA (Catalonian Institution for Research and Advanced Studies) at AGROTECNIO Center and the University of Lleida, Spain

Advances in crop physiology to cope with climate change and limited resources


Gustavo A. Slafer (PhD – Melbourne University) is a crop physiologist whose intense research agenda has focused on studying the mechanisms underlying the responses of grain crops to environmental and genetic factors. The general aim of his work is to identify alternatives to traditional farming and breeding practices to enhance the efficiency of resource use, as an avenue to increase simultaneously both crop productivity and agricultural sustainability. 

In addition to his affiliation, Prof. Slafer is also currently (i) Honorary Professor of the School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham (United Kingdom, since 2005), and of the Faculty of Agronomy, University of Buenos Aires (Argentina, since 2018); (ii) Editor (with different denominations, always in charge of the review process and of making a final decision on acceptance/rejection of mss) of Crop Science (USA), Euphytica (Netherlands), Food and Energy Security (UK), Spanish Journal Agricultural Research (Spain) and Scientific Reports (UK); (iii) Member of the Editorial Board of Field Crops Research (Netherlands), European Journal of Agronomy (EU) and International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Section for ‘Molecular Plant Sciences’; Switzerland); (iv) Member of the Advisory Board of Agricultural and Food Science (Finland); and (v) Member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the GADEA for Science Foundation (Spain). He was elected “Fellow” of the Crop Science Society of America (only 0.3% of the members can be Fellows).

Keynote topic: Advances in crop physiology to cope with climate change and limited resources

His keynote will deal with some recent advances in crop physiology that are related with improvements in (i) resilience to environmental stresses, particularly those related to climate change, and (ii) efficiency in the capture/use of limited resources. It is expected that a better understanding of these physiological bases will open room to identify more efficient ways to improve genotypes and management practices, which both together will determine improvements in sustainable crop production strategies.


Nathalie Colbach

Agroécologie, AgroSup Dijon, INRA, Univ. Bourgogne, Franche-Comté,  Dijon, France (


Nathalie Colbach currently works at the Agrocology Unit, French National Research Institute for Agriculture and Environment (INRAE, formerly INRA), in Dijon. She is the leader of team SYSTEME and coordinator of scientific workshop on Models vs. observation/experimentation. Nathalie does research in Agronomy and Ecology, aiming to analyse, understand and model the effects of cropping systems (and their location in landscapes) on weeds, including crop-weed interactions. The ultimate goal is the multi-criteria evaluation and multi-objective design of cropping systems for agroecological weed management (ex. using little or no herbicides, promoting biological regulation of bioagressors, preserving biodiversity, minimising environmental impacts, ensuring harvest quantity and quality). In the past, she also worked on soil-borne wheat diseases and gene flow from GM crops. Current projects include H2020 IWMPRAISE and H2020 ReMIX.

Keynote topic: Crop interaction with biotic factors (weeds): modelling interactions

Weeds are a most interesting case study to investigate how to switch from intensive pesticide-based to agroecological pest management. Indeed, they are considered to be the most harmful pest for crop production because they compete with crops for light and soil resources but they are also a key component of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. The presentation will describe how (1) crops and weed interact in arable crops, (2) how cultural techniques influence these interactions, (3) to reconcile crop production, low herbicide use and biodiversity. Mechanistic models play a key role in these investigations, to synthesize the many processes and cultural techniques interacting in the field, to identify knowledge gaps, and as virtual experimental fields to assess cropping-system prototypes designed by stakeholders ranging from scientists to farmers.

Pytrik Riedsma

Pytrik Riedsma

Wageningen University, The Netherlands


Since 2003, she is working at the Plant Production Systems group at Wageningen University. Her research is focused on the sustainability and resilience of farming systems. She has expertise in integrated assessment of agricultural systems, considering impacts on different dimensions of sustainable development (economic, environmental, social), different drivers (climate change, policy, markets, technological development), at multiple scales (crop, farm, region, continent; with a focus on the farm level), using a range of methods (statistical analyses, crop modelling, bio-economic farm modelling, Geographic Information Systems, agent-based modelling and participatory approaches). Current projects on pathways for a more sustainable and resilient agriculture in Europe in which she participates are SURE-Farm ( and TSARA ( In addition, she participates in projects aimed to explain yield gaps, resource use efficiencies and environmental impacts in Europe, Africa and Asia. These include ‘Yield gap analysis for sustainable potato production’, Waterfarming ( and TAMASA (

She is in the Editorial Board of European Journal of Agronomy, Agricultural Systems, Land Use Policy and Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, section Climate-Smart Food Systems. She is also member of the EU Nitrogen Expert Panel (

Keynote topic: Sustainability and resilience of farming systems  

Her keynote will be focused on explaining yield gaps, resource use efficiencies and environmental impacts, and quantitative and qualitative methods to assess ecosystem services. Based on both types of assessments, strategies emerge, which relate to farming systems design. All this will contribute to enhance the sustainability and resilience of agroecosystems considering the impact of climate change.


Marco Moriondo

CNR, Italy


Marco Moriondo is a senior resercher at Institute of BioEconomy of the National Research Council of Italy. He is involved as crop modeller in many European projects specifically devoted to the study of climate change impact on food producing system, the implementation of adaptation stategies, and their relevance for mitigating CO2 emission from agriculture. Recent research activities deal with the evaluation of the impact of extreme events on the yields of the main cereals, the possible consequences of climate change on vine and olive cultivation areas on a European scale, and the qualitative variations of viticultural productions in response to higher temperatures.

Keynote topic: Expected Impact of climate change on food producing sysyem in the mediterranean region: How smart agriculture can improve the resilience of agroecosystems

Climatic change may have a extremely negative impact in many Mediterranean regions. His keynote speaker will deal with the mitigation of the consequence of climatic change on agriculture, improving resilience of agroecosystems. In this approach, the prediction of the consequences of climate change with models, and the selection of best management strategies for adapting to climate change will be considered.


Bruno Basso

Michigan State University, USA


Dr. Basso is a University Foundation Professor at Michigan State University. He is an internationally recognized agroecosystem scientist and leader in developing geospatial modeling systems with primary research focused on the understanding of spatial and temporal variability of crop yield, water and nutrients to enhance sustainability of agricultural systems.

He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America and the recipient of several awards given by scientific societies and the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Faculty Award at Michigan State University and 2016 MSU Innovation of the Year Award for Precision Agricultural Systems Analysis Software. He obtained his Ph.D from Michigan State University.

Keynote topic: Digital Agronomy to Design and Scale Sustainable Agricultural Systems

Optimizing the multiple complex tradeoffs between agricultural productivity, food distribution and the environment is a daunting challenge that is becoming increasingly difficult in the face of accelerating food demand and a changing climate. Digital Agronomy – a set of digital and geospatial technologies, integrating sensors, analytics, and automation to monitor, assess, and manage soil, climatic, and genetic resources – illustrates how this challenge could be met in a way that balances the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of sustainable food production.


Miguel Quemada

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain


Professor at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain) were he works since year 2000. His expertise is nitrogen and water management in agricultural systems, seeking for increasing economic and environmental sustainability. Specialized in conservation agriculture (cover crops and residue management) and sustainable intensification of farming systems. Particularly interested in combining research at field scale with new monitoring technologies (i.e. remote sensing and modeling) to improve efficient use of resources in agriculture.

Keynote topic: Integrated and sustainable management of resources; a holistic view in cropping systems

His talk will focus on the introduction of cover crops in Mediterranean cropping systems with the aim of enhancing nitrogen and water use efficiency. The role of cover cropping in enhancing soil quality, controlling nitrate leaching and modifying gaseous exchange with the atmosphere will be exposed. Limitations and challenges for adoption of cover cropping will be discussed, under actual and future climatic scenarios.


Roberto Confalonieri

University of Milan, Italy


Born in 1975, MS in Biology and PhD in Agricultural Ecology, currently Professor at the University of Milan. Employed at the EC-JRC from 2005 to 2008. Developer of cropping system models and of model-based platforms for yield forecast and climate change studies and for supporting crop management and breeding programs. Coordinator of several international projects and consultant for the World Bank and EC. Founder of the CASSANDRA modelling lab and President of Cassandra Tech srl, an IT company developing services for the agricultural sector. Author of 89 publications on ISI journals (h-index 23), inventor in two patents.

Keynote topic: New perspectives for rice, integrating technology and knowledge

The talk will focused on key challenges agronomists will have to face to increase the capability of rice-based cropping systems to feed people worldwide, especially where rice is the main source of calories. The keynote will include the technology that his research group developed to allow farmers to use variable rate N based on prescription maps by integrating satellite information and smart scouting.


Urs Schmidhalter

Technical University of Munich, Germany


The research focus lies in the area of nutrient management, particularly nitrogen management with a further focus on abiotic stresses. The research goals are oriented to optimizing nitrogen and water management through the implementation of novel methods in plant cultivation and non-destructive soil sensing, particularly under heterogeneous field conditions (Precision Agriculture) and more recently on the implementation of novel methods in the rapid screening of plants in highly managed field experimentation and breeding nurseries (Precision Phenotyping). By focusing on the intersection between plant and soil science, new methods that have been developed enable both the phenotype and the environment to be characterised better and should ultimately lead to improved management.

Keynote topic: Precision Farming – Challenges, achievements and needs

The talk will be focused on:

  • Current stage of knowledge in the use of spectral indices for assessing crop status: abiotic and biotic stresses.
  • Potential of spectral measures for site specific management and efficient use of resources in agriculture. Special focus on water and nutrients.
  • Sources of spectral information: portable in-field devices, devices adapted to machinery, UAV, satellite.

•From lab to field: what we can expect in the next years for efficient resource management in agriculture


David Connor

University of Melbourne


David Connor, now resident in Madrid, is Emeritus Professor of Agronomy in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences of The University of Melbourne, Australia, and Research Associate of CEIGRAM de La Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. At the University of Melbourne, he worked University and Faculty administration and in teaching and research in agronomy, crop physiology, and the environmental control of crop productivity. He was the founder (1992) of the Joint Centre for Crop Innovation that draws together expertise from The University of Melbourne, the Ministry for Sustainability of the State of Victoria, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of the Australian Government. Professor Connor has traveled widely and has also undertaken research and development projects in Kenya, Philippines, Bangladesh, and Mauritania, the United States, Colombia, China, Argentina, and Spain participating in multiple international projects.

He has been President of the Australian Society of Agronomy and of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Institute of Agriculture.  He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and in 2003 was awarded the “Donald Medal” for outstanding contributions by the Australian Society of Agronomy.

Keynote topic: Managing canopy structure in intensive fruit orchards


Abdul M. Mouazen

University of Ghent


Senior full Professor in precision soil and crop management and a group leader of Precision SCoRing Group. He holds a PhD degree in numerical modelling of soil-tillage tools interaction. Abdul has a background in the application of engineering principles to soil and water management, with specific applications in soil dynamics, tillage, traction, compaction, mechanical weeding, soil remediation and management. He has 19-year experience in proximal soil sensing for precision agricultural applications, and he is a member of Global Proximal Soil Sensing Committee. His current research interest is to combine cutting-edge sensors and advanced data fusion and geostatistical modelling approaches with system control technology to opitimise farm input at field/sub-field scales for sustainable increase in yield at minimal environmental footprint. Other focus areas include 1) Multi-sensor and data fusion for precision management of farm resources, 2) Modelling the interaction between soil and tools (e.g., for tillage, weeding etc.) and soil and tyre interactions, 3) Reclamation of contaminated land based-on proximal soil sensing of hydrocarbon and heavy metal contamination and 4) Determination and quantification of yield limiting factors based on proximal sensing and satellite imagery.

Keynote topic: Potential of multi-sensor data-fusion for site specific soil and crop management.

The Keynote will be focused on:

  • Multi-sensors and data fusion.
  • Case studies on VR fertilization, manure application, compaction management, seeding and pesticide applications.
  • Socio-economic and environmental benefits of site specific management.
  • Solutions for increasing adoption.