Horticulture Shines at Bayer CropScience Research Symposium

2015 Bayer CropScience Research SymposiumThe Department of Horticultural Science was well represented at the first annual Bayer CropScience Research Symposium and poster competition on November 5. PhD student Nicholas Basinger and Master’s student Laura Kaderabek won first and second place, respectively. Over 80 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from universities across the Triangle submitted applications to present posters, with 28 being selected to participate in the event. In addition to presenting posters, participants had the opportunity to learn more about industry research, tour the Bayer CropScience facilities at RTP, network with Bayer scientists, and learn about careers at Bayer CropScience.

Nick’ research under the direction of Dr. Katie Jennings is on weed management in small fruit, specifically muscadines, grapes and blackberries. He is wrapping up a studies on the effect of herbicide strip width on established ‘Navaho’ blackberries, and the use of a product recently registered by Bayer, “Alion,” in southeastern vineyards.  He plans to submit a proposal to the USDA to use drones as a scouting tool for identification and determination of weed density. Nick’s poster featured his research on herbicide applications of Rely 280/Alion and Rely 280/Chateau (standard treatment) at six vineyards sites: two fresh market muscadine vineyards, two bunch grape vineyards, and two muscadine wine vineyards. Plots were evaluated for crop tolerance and weed control at 1, 2, 4 and 8 weeks after application. No injury was seen in any treatments at any of the six sites. Early applications of Alion at a rate of 5 oz./acre were found to provide longer and more consistent control of weeds than the industry standard of Rely 280 and Chateau.

Laura works under the direction of Drs.Brian Jackson and Bill Fonteno in the Horticultural Substrates Lab. Her thesis research involves monitoring the biological, chemical, and physical changes in pine bark windrows over time, with a specific focus on nitrogen immobilization and incubation procedures. She presented a study she conducted using the mini-Horhizotron as a tool to quantitatively assess pythium infection on bedding snapdragons and poinsettias grown in three different potting media. Results from the study illustrated how the mini-Horhizotron could have broad applications in teaching and plant pathology research by providing non-destructive assessments of root disease severity over time, with the ability to view the rhizosphere and accurately measure root growth/loss.

The winners each received a grant towards their research program and a Go Pro camera. All graduate students and postdoctoral researchers are encouraged to apply for next year’s Symposium.