Study: UF/IFAS weed science program ranks high for research publishing

May 01, 13 Study: UF/IFAS weed science program ranks high for research publishing

Writer: Tom Nordlie, 352-273-3567, tnordlie@ufl.edu – Source: Jason Ferrell, 352-392-7512, jferrell@ufl.edu

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Integrated weed management, or IWM, is a management option for crop producers who want to fight weeds using every available technology; it involves three activities – scouting, prevention and control – coordinated to discourage weeds from growing in the first place.

Producers have been slow to adopt IWM, but a team of scientists with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences say it can be a sustainable, affordable choice.

In fact, the team publishes so much research on the subject that they earned UF several top five results in a recent study that assessed the productivity of weed science teams worldwide.

“We’ve sustained a pretty high level of activity,” said Jason Ferrell, an agronomy associate professor who’s been part of the UF weed science team for a decade.

In the current issue of the journal Weed Technology, authors with Lacombe Research Centre in Alberta, Canada, assessed thousands of weed science articles published in peer-reviewed journals and other publications from Jan. 1, 1995 to June 1, 2012.

In the article, UF was mentioned in eight of nine rankings involving research facilities.

UF had three top five finishes, including second place in weed biology articles, a sixth-place tie for weed detection articles and a tie for third in preventative weed management articles.

Each of the top sources for preventative weed management articles was then evaluated for the number of articles it published on six control approaches. UF’s results: second place in alternative control, second in biological control, fourth in chemical control, fourth in cultural control, no mention in mechanical control and a third-place tie for preventative control.

Peter Dittmar, a horticultural sciences assistant professor, said the UF weed science program has been prolific out of necessity – Florida produces about 150 outdoor-grown crops that need weed control, everything from ornamental horticulture to pastures.

Pigweed, pictured here, poses one of Florida’s biggest weed-management challenges. UF/IFAS photo by Thomas Wright

To meet the challenges, UF/IFAS routinely employs 10-12 weed scientists, compared with two or three in states with less-diverse agriculture, Dittmar said.

Both are quick to point out that UF’s glowing statistics are the result of an effort that stretches back at least 20 years.

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