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Award-winning thesis contributes to improved earnings in wheat cultivation

Former agrobiology student Niels Frederik Vestergård will recieve this year's IdaGaard Foundation's thesis award for his final thesis on the status of new resistance to succinate dehydrogenase inhibitors in Septoria in Denmark and Sweden.

Niels Frederik Vestergård receives the IdaGaard Foundation's award for his thesis on the status of new resistance in Septoria in Denmark and Sweden. Photo: Niels Frederik Vestergård

The Idagaard Foundation was founded in 1929 by Jens Hvidbjerg with the aim of supporting agricultural research that can improve production conditions and profitability in Danish agriculture. Every year, the Idagaard Foundation awards its thesis prize to three students, who’s thesis has supported a more profitable agriculture in Denmark.

This year, Niels Frederik Vestergård from the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University will receive the award. His thesis entitled "Status on emerging resistance to succinate dehydrogenase inhibitors in Zymoseptoria tritici in Denmark and Sweden" is both well written and well documented, and it will also be able to help improve earnings from wheat cultivation.

Important issue in the long run

The Idagaard Foundation provides the following reasons for the selection of Niels Frederik Vestergård as the winner:

“The obtained results from the study can be used in practice to inform and guide farmers when it comes to optimizing fungicide application and minimizing the development of resistance. The main conclusions were that mixing and alternating between different modes of action and minimizing dose and number of sprays are the most critical factors for reducing resistance development. The obtained evidence from the thesis work supports the current IPM strategy. It is seen as an essential input to convince the farmers on the proper control strategy. Most importantly, the recommendation for minimizing resistance selection will not reduce the farmers’ options for a profitable production. At the same time, these strategies will prolong the effective life of fungicides. “

Very thorough and competent research is the foundation of the thesis, and it is also both Niels Frederik Vestergård and his supervisors Lise Nistrup Jørgensen and Thies Marten Heick's hope that the results will be published as a scientific article.

"I hope that the results can be published so that they will be available to advisers and others who can pass the knowledge on to the farmers," says Niels Frederik Vestergaard, who is very honored to be receiving the fine prize.

Industrial PhD

The award winner does not intend to stop his research career with his award-winning thesis. He continues his research as an industrial PhD student at the Department of Agroecology in the Section of Crop Health. His Ph.D. is a collaboration between Aarhus University and Sejet Planteforædling.

"In short, the project aims to identify new resistance genes in winter wheat against the fungal disease septoria tritici blotch and incorporate these into new varieties or variety mixtures," says Niels Frederik Vestergård.

The prize will be presented on 5 April at a ceremony held by the Idagaard Foundation.

Additional information

Read more: You can read more about the Idagaard Foundation on their website. Unfortunately, Niels Frederik Vestergård's thesis is not yet publicly available. 
Contact: Industrial PhD student Niels Frederik Vestergård, Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University and Sejet Plant Breeding. Mail: frederik.vest@agro.au.dk