Name: Ronald DePauw
Convocation date: June 8, 2012
Discipline / contribution: agriculture ; crop science
Citation / biographical information:
Dr. DePauw, a Saskatchewan native, is an outstanding citizen of the province, of Canada and the world. His contributions to the wheat industry of Canada are unparalleled. He has developed over 50 varieties for several classes of spring wheat for Canada. Because of the demanding requirements for quality in Canadian wheats, this is one of the most difficult crops to breed. His varieties have been extremely well received by prairie farmers, typically occupying more than 50 per cent of the seeded acreage. The incremental value of these contributions is estimated to be well over one billion dollars.Degree received: Doctor of Science
Dr. DePauw has pioneered in a number of areas. He was the first to shift the negative association between protein content and yield. The variety AC Barrie, a hard red spring wheat, represented a major increase in yield, while maintaining a high protein content required for baking quality in this class of wheat. AC Barrie was the most widely grown hard red spring wheat from 1998 to 2005 inclusive. He also broke through negative associations to develop the sawfly resistant variety Lillian, which combined excellent yield, strong straw, good thresh-ability, good disease resistance and very good quality. Lillian was the leading variety across the whole of the western wheat growing area for four years. Dr. DePauw and a multidisciplinary team discovered genetic resistance to the orange wheat blossom midge, a serious pest of wheat requiring control with insecticide sprays. They discovered genetic resistance to this pest and developed a scheme to include refugia in the variety which he has recently been released. The refugia concept is designed to increase the life of this resistance and thus its availability to commercial farmers to reduce the ravages of this pest and eliminate the need for insecticide application.
Dr. DePauw also played a key role in the development of several new classes of wheat. These are Canada Prairie Spring Red, Canada Prairie Spring White and Canada General Purpose. Dr. DePauw also achieved a breakthrough in the development of sprouting resistant white wheats, saving prairie farmers millions of dollars in lost quality in wet harvest years. In addition to his outstanding contributions in variety development he has contributed extensively to the scientific and technology transfer literature.
In addition to this scientific contribution, Dr. DePauw is an active volunteer serving on numerous advisory committees and boards. He is active in his church. He is also a black belt Judo Master and has volunteered as a teacher of this art for many years. He and his spouse, Else Marie, have been active supporters and participants of choreographed ballroom dancing. His contributions have been recognized by numerous awards including the Order of Canada, Saskatchewan Order of Merit, Gold Medal Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, and a number of fellowships and honorary life memberships.
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