Students Perform Strong at 2019 National Weed Science Contest

Posted on Thursday, August 1st, 2019

Group of 24 students stand together outside wearing matching polo shirts.
The 2019 OAC Weeds Team: Laft to right, back row: Allison Bailey, Brett Hilker, Caleb Niemeyer, Alex Sanders, Isaac Clutterbuck, David Westerveld, Matt Fletcher, Kurtis Pilington, John Fluttert, Aleks Kus, Christian Willemse, Alan Abdulkader; middle row:

Once again, University of Guelph students showed their strength in weed science and agronomy in a contest against students from some of the top United States agricultural schools.

On July 25th, 2019, 241 students representing 29 universities from across North America came together in Seymour, Illinois to take part in the National Weed Science Contest. Among them were 24 University of Guelph students.

Students competed in events aimed at testing their skill and knowledge as future weed scientists and agronomists: sprayer calibration, weed identification, herbicide symptomology diagnostic and resolution of farmers’ problems.

The U of G students had been studying and meeting on a bi-weekly basis since April.

“It is a lot of work, but it is very practical and gives us a taste of what’s to come after school,” said Allison Bailey, a first year M.Sc. student in plant agriculture. "We had fun among teammates and we get to meet people from other universities which is also cool."

All that hard work paid off as U of G students won multiples prizes. In the North Eastern Division, Kurtis Pilkington and Bernard Wierenga placed second and third for their individual undergraduate scores. Pilkington also placed first overall in the "farmer's problem" event at the national level.

The team of Hannah Symington, Aleks Kus, Kurtis Pilkington and Matt Fletcher placed first in the undergrad category, and the team of Emily Duenk, Elaine Jeffs, Bryce Ribey and Alan Abdulkader finished third.

In the grad category, the team of Allison Bailey, Alex Sanders, Brett Hilker and Bernard Wierenga placed second. Finally, “We are the only Canadian school at the contest” said Professor François Tardif, coach of the team, “this adds extra pressure but the students took it in stride and are very proud of their achievements”.

The 2019 OAC Weeds Team was coached by Meghan Grguric, David Westerveld, Emily Priester and François Tardif. They are also very grateful to Peter Smith, Mike Cowbrough, Jason Deveau and Todd Frey for their help through various training sessions.

The OAC Weeds Team thanks its many sponsors: The OAC Learning Trust, Syngenta, Nufarm, Bayer, BASF, FMC, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Valent, and Corteva for their continuing support.

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