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Published April 15, 2013, 09:48 AM

Herbicide resistance foe leaves NDSU

Extension Service sugar beet weed specialist Jeff Stachler has resigned to take a position with generic crop protectant maker Willowood USA.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

North Dakota State University officials are starting discussions on how to replace Jeff Stachler, Extension Service sugar beet weed specialist. He resigned March 28 to take a post with generic crop protectant maker Willowood USA.

Stachler had served in a joint NDSU/University of Minnesota role since May 2008 and became known for his passion and prophet-like warnings about the threat of herbicide resistance, especially glyphosate (Roundup) resistance and multiple herbicide resistance. Among other things, Stachler prescribed a zero-tolerance approach, and hand picking of resistant weeds if necessary, which some farmers say was not always practical.

Originally from west-central Ohio, Stachler holds a bachelor of science degree in agronomy from Ohio State University. He received a master’s in weed science at Michigan State University and then returned to Ohio State for his doctorate. He is the author of publications on herbicide resistance management. Stachler was only NDSU/U of M’s second extension service sugar beet weed specialist, and replaced Alan Dexter, who retired in March 2007 after 38 years in the post.

On April 1, Stachler took a new job as Willowood USA’s Northern Plains regional account manager. He will cover North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

Worldwide company

Stachler describes Willowood USA of Roseburg, Ore., as a relatively small generic chemical manufacturer. It was created in 2004 to market “post-patent” crop protection products. Parent company Willowood Ltd. is based in Hong Kong and markets to 45 countries. The U.S. company has sister affiliates in Hangzhou, China; Kolkata and New Delhi, India; Panama; and Nairobi, Kenya.

Andy King, Willowood USA LLC national sales manager, announced that Stachler will be “filling a much-needed hole in our organization.”

Among other things, Stachler will sell the company’s entire product line. He will research, initially on the company’s Ethofumesate 4SC product, which provides selective control of weeds in sugar beets and other vegetable crops. The chemical can be applied pre-emergent, preplanting or postemergent. It is promoted as a foundation for resistance management programs, with excellent crop safety. It is advertised as having the same active ingredient as Nortron, a Bayer CropScience product.

“It controls pigweed and waterhemp and is somewhat effective on lambs-

quarters,” Stachler says. He says it’s a strong herbicide pre- and postemergence to help with glyphosate resistance in waterhemp. He says it is the best herbicide available to control kochia, soil-applied, even though it is not perfect. “It can provide some activity on nightshade as well,” Stachler says.

Rich Horsely, chairman of NDSU’s Plant Sciences department said he recently learned from Chris Boerboom, director of NDSU Extension, that commitments have been made by both universities, so he can proceed with initiating the search process for refilling the position.

Stachler’s work is important to the sugar beet growers in the Red River Valley who identify weeds as their top problem.

Stachler’s departure marks another change in the region’s scientific community for beets. Carol Windels retired in Dec. 31, 2012, as a University of Minnesota plant pathologist after 28 years at the Northwest Research and Outreach Center in Crookston. Jason Brantner at the Crookston station, has continued in Windels’ stead in sugar beet plant pathology and is working on his doctorate.