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The WIU Weed Science Team includes WIU Associate Professor Mark Bernards and WIU agriculture students (from left) Nathan Hilleson, Tyler Wilson, Ethan Johnson, Luke Merritt, Alex Pembrook, Zach Brewer and Allyson Rumler.
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WIU Weed Science Team Captures Regional Awards

September 11, 2017

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MACOMB IL – Four Western Illinois University School of Agriculture students recently won two awards at the North Central Weed Science Society (NCWSS) competition near Ames, IA. The students were members of WIU's Weed Science Team, advised by WIU Associate Professor of Agriculture Mark Bernards.

The competition was held at Iowa State University July 27. The WIU team placed third in the Undergraduate Student Contest and received an award for team sprayer calibration.

WIU sent two teams to the competition. Team one, which captured the awards, includes Luke Merritt, a senior agriculture major from Payson, IL; Tyler Wilson, a senior agriculture major from Murrayville, IL; Nathan Hilleson, a senior agriculture major from Lee, IL and Zach Brewer, a junior major from Monmouth, IL. Team two includes Alex Pembrook, a senior agriculture major from Greenfield, IL; Ethan Johnson, a senior agriculture major from Gilson, IL and Allyson Rumler, a junior agriculture major from Canton, IL.

"The contest involves a variety of parts, which are relevant to the agricultural field.," said Brewer. "I found the contest challenging, although it helped me to practice herbicide ID, weed ID and sprayer calibration. These skills will be valuable in my future agronomy courses and my future career as an agronomist."

The NCWSS Weed Contest provides educational experience for college students interested in weed science. The contest offers networking opportunities with university faculty, researchers, industry representatives and fellow students. The competition allows students to apply and expand their weed science knowledge in a practical setting.

The competition also aims to increase visibility of weed science and its importance for the agricultural industry.

For more information about the WIU weed science team, email Benards at

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