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New faculty profile: Rodrigo Werle focuses on sustainable weed management

Rodrigo Werle joined UW in January 2018 as a UW-Madison assistant professor of agronomy and a UW-Extension cropping systems weed scientist.

His Twitter handle is @WiscWeeds and his academic blog is at http://www.wiscweeds.info/.

UW-Madison/UW-Extension program:

Werle’s research program at UW-Madison will focus on agroecologically-based approaches to address sustainable weed management in corn, soybeans and small grains. Other research interests include: weed management strategies that can help protect water quality, enhance agroecosystems services and increase food security; distribution and management of herbicide-resistant weeds; and the biology and ecology of troublesome weed species.

On the extension side, Werle will update and develop weed management recommendations for corn, soybeans and small grains in Wisconsin. He will be involved in the UW-Extension Pesticide Applicator Training Programs, helping to train growers, crop scouts and agronomists on proper weed identification, herbicide selection and application. His outreach program will also involve the development of multimedia tools (e.g. YouTube videos and mobile apps) that can make information readily accessible to growers and agronomists.

Background:

Werle was born in a small farming community of Dutch immigrants in the state of Sao Paulo, in southeastern Brazil. His early passion for agriculture led him to earn a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Sao Paulo State University, Brazil. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in agronomy from University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

As a Ph.D. student under Dr. John Lindquist, he evaluated the distribution and mechanism of acetolactate synthase (ALS) herbicide resistance in grasses, and developed a simulation model to assess management options to mitigate the risk of ALS resistance evolution in shattercane in potential ALS-tolerant sorghum (Inzen technology, DuPont) production areas of the Great Plains. The results of his Ph.D. work assisted with the development of best management practices for DuPont’s Inzen technology.

From April 2016 through December 2017, Werle served as an assistant professor and cropping systems specialist at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The objective of his program was to conduct research and extension programming to increase profitability, productivity and sustainability of irrigated and dryland cropping systems with limited water in Nebraska and beyond.

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