Husker weed science students earn top honors at WSSA competition

by Lana Koepke Johnson | Agronomy and Horticulture

2023 Nebraska Weed Science Team
Three University of Nebraska–Lincoln agronomy graduate students and six undergraduate student visitor research scholars took top honors at the 2023 Weed Science Society of America National Weed Science Contest held July 26 in Union City, Tennessee.
September 21, 2023

Lincoln, Neb. —Three University of Nebraska–Lincoln agronomy graduate students and six undergraduate student visitor research scholars took top honors at the 2023 Weed Science Society of America National Weed Science Contest held July 26 in Union City, Tennessee.

The National Weed Science Contest is a joint activity between the Northeastern, North Central, Southern and Western Weed Science Societies. More than 200 students, including 153 graduate students, from 27 universities in the United States and Canada participated in the contest.

The contest has five events including weed identification, unknown herbicide identification, farmer problem solving and recommendation, calibration of a sprayer, and solving mathematical problems related to herbicide use and sprayer calibration.

The Nebraska graduate student team of Vipin Kumar, Mandeep Singh and Thiago Vitti competed in the Western Society of Weed Science division. The team won first-place for Graduate Student Team and first-place for the Graduate Student Team Sprayer Calibration event.

Vitti won first-place in the Graduate Individual Herbicide Identification event.

Kumar won first-place for Overall Graduate Individual and Singh won third-place Overall Graduate Individual.

Mandeep Singh was a finalist for the National Division Farmer Problem Solving and Recommendation in which more than 200 students participated.

Kumar, a doctoral student in weed science, is advised by Amit Jhala, agronomy and horticulture associate department head, professor and extension weed management specialist. His research focuses on evaluating the performance of inter-seeding small grains – barley, oat or wheat – in soybean for the management of herbicide-resistant weeds.

Singh, doctoral student in weed science, is also advised by Jhala. His research focuses on gene flow, evapotranspiration and management of herbicide-resistant corn volunteers in corn.

Vitti, master’s student in weed science, is advised by agronomy and horticulture associate extension educator and team advisor Chris Proctor. Weed sciences and pesticide application technology focused on spot-spray technologies and herbicide efficacy is the focus of Vitti’s research.

The undergraduate student visitor research scholars included Aleksandra Pantic, faculty of agriculture at University of Novi Sad, Serbia; Danilo Krabbenborg from Federal University of Sao Carlos, Brazil; Alina Gava, freshman agronomy major at Nebraska from Sao Paulo State University in Brazil; Thales Rodrigues da Silva from Federal University of Goias, Brazil; Bruno Henrique Correia from University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Martha Nabaggala from Mekerere University, Uganda.

The team of Pantic, Dailo Krabbenborg and Alna Gava earned first-place in the WSWS Undergraduate Team Field Calibration event and second-place for Undergraduate Team.

Rodrigues da Silva, Correia and Nabaggala won third-place in the Undergraduate Team Field Calibration event.

Rodrigues da Silva won first-place in the Individual Problem Solving event and Gava won second-place in the Undergraduate Individual event.

Students prepared for months before the contest for weed and herbicide symptomology identification, spray calibration and farmer problem solving events.

Bayer CropScience in Union City hosted the 2023 national contest.

According to the NCWSS, the Collegiate Weed Science Contest provides a competitive educational experience for college students to apply and expand their weed science knowledge in a practical setting. The contest increases the visibility and importance of weed science for the ag industry and offers networking opportunities with university faculty, researchers, industry representatives and fellow students. More information on the contest can be found on the NCWSS website.

For more information about Nebraska’s Weed Science Team see