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UW-Madison Team Wins Weed Science Contest

A team of undergraduates from UW-Madison”s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences won the North Central Collegiate Weed Science Contest July 17 at Fort Dodge, Iowa. The team consisted of Corey Roddick of Cuba City, Aaron Burke of Oconomowoc, Mike Bertram of Malone, and Mike Dettmann of Johnson Creek. Competing as individuals were Chad Rabe of Fond du Lac and Terry Walsh of Valders.

The CALS team compiled a team score of 1099 to take top honors among graduate and undergraduate teams at the contest, hosted by Cenex/Land o” Lakes. They beat the second-place undergraduate team, UW-Platteville, by 128 points and the top graduate team, Oklahoma State, by 16 points. Roddick and Burke tied for first place among undergraduate individuals; Roddick won the tie-breaker.

Contestants competed as teams or individuals in the five stages of the contest: weed identification, unknown herbicides, farmer problem-solving, written sprayer calibration and team sprayer calibration. In weed ID, contestants must identify 25 weed seedlings or seeds by common name and scientific name. Plots planted with a variety of crop and weed species are sprayed with one of 25 herbicides; contestants musts identify the unknown herbicide using injury symptoms and species controlled. Farmer problems make up the most diverse phase of the contest; actual field problems are created for contestants to solve. Sprayer calibration combines mathematics in the individual phase with hands-on calibration in the team event to ensure the contestants” ability to properly mix and apply herbicides.

The team was coached by David Fischer of Owen, a graduate student studying weed science, and assisted by Emmett Hying of Burlington, an undergraduate in agronomy. Agronomist Gordon Harvey served as faculty advisor of the team and extension weed scientist Jerry Doll provided practice equipment for the team.