Tennessee scientists receive Outstanding Paper Awards


Credit: Ginger Rowsey, UTIA

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Two scientists with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture received top honors from the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) for peer-reviewed articles. The awards were presented earlier this month at the WSSA's annual meeting in Arlington, Virginia.

Thomas Mueller, a professor in the UT Department of Plant Sciences, received the Outstanding Paper Award in Weed Science. Mueller, along with Gary Cundiff and Daniel Reynolds of Mississippi State University, co-authored the paper "Evaluation of Dicamba Persistence Among Various Agricultural Hose Types and Cleanout Procedures Using Soybean (Glycine max) as a Bio-Indicator."

Mueller's paper appeared in the March 2017 issue of Weed Science. The three-year study evaluated various agricultural spray hoses to determine if hose type impacts dicamba retention. Results suggest that the chemical makeup of the hose itself can impact levels of dicamba residue remaining in the hose even after cleanout. According to the study, a polyethylene hose may facilitate a more thorough cleanout of dicamba than a polyurethane, a synthetic plastic polymer or a synthetic rubber hose.

"Considering the extreme sensitivities of non-dicamba-tolerant crops, even minuscule amounts of dicamba residue hiding in hoses could impact crop yields or plant health," says Scott Senseman, head of UT's Plant Sciences Department and president of WSSA. "This research will be very helpful to producers as they steward this herbicide."

Larry Steckel, also a professor in UT's Department of Plant Sciences, received the Outstanding Paper Award in Weed Technology. This is the second year in a row that Steckel has received this honor.

He partnered with weed scientists from Ohio, Missouri, Indiana and Arkansas to co-author "Influence of Cover Crops on Management of Amaranthus Species in Glyphosate- and Glufosinate-Resistant Soybean," which appeared in the August 2017 issue of Weed Technology. The study evaluated the integration of cover crops with herbicide programs.

While results suggest that cover crops alone do not provide sufficient control of weed species, when integrated with a herbicide program, cover crops can help delay weed emergence and improve control where weed population density is high or where environmental conditions reduce herbicide effectiveness. (Watch Steckel discuss cover crops and weed management research.)

"As farmers continue to face pressure from resistant weeds, interest in cover crops as a weed control tool has intensified," says Senseman. "Producers need research like this to make the most efficient management decisions for their farms."

"I'm delighted to see the outstanding research programs of Dr. Mueller and Dr. Steckel receive this recognition from WSSA," says Bill Brown, dean of UT AgResearch. "These award winning papers are significant and very timely to current issues facing the agricultural industry."

The WSSA is a nonprofit society founded in 1956 to encourage and promote the development of knowledge concerning weeds and their impact on the environment.

Mueller's research was partially supported by the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board and BASF Corporation. Steckel's research was partially supported by the United Soybean Board.


The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery and service. ag.tennessee.edu

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Ginger Rowsey
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