ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

2014 New Call for Positions

2014 URS Call for Positions

This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2014 cycle.

Position Details

118 Vegetable and Agronomic Cropping Systems Weed Management Specialist

Proposed Location/Housing

Department of Plant Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis

Proposed Area of Coverage

California, statewide with emphasis in the Central Valley


Associated Documents



Weeds limit crop productivity and decrease production efficiency in every crop and cropping system. However, tactics used to manage weeds have large economic and environmental costs both locally and statewide. These are exactly the kind of on-the-ground issues that can be addressed by applied research and extension efforts. The need for weed science expertise in the state is growing due to significant Advisor and Specialist retirements in this program area. For example, retired CE Specialist Tom Lanini, who worked in the vegetable crop part of this position, delivered around 25 extension presentations annually during his career and authored/edited/reviewed many of the weed sections of ANR publications while maintaining a relevant, industry-supported applied research program. On the agronomic crops side, UC has not had a statewide weed specialist in agronomic crops since the mid-1990 when CE Specialist Mitich retired. However, a cadre of agronomic crop Advisors has largely covered weed science needs in this area for several decades, but most of these people are at or near retirement age. Central Valley production of annual fruits and vegetables grown in rotation with cereals and other agronomic crops has serious weed management and weed control-related environmental issues. A statewide weed specialist position in this area would fill a critical gap in the ANR network and deliver relevant and applied information to a high profile and visible portion of California agricultural and non-ag stakeholders.
Posted May 5, 2014 5:28 PM by Brad Hanson
The Vegetable Crops Program Team strongly supports this position. Weed control is one of the most costly inputs in vegetable cropping systems, typically with a significant requirement for hand labor. As the availability of affordable agricultural labor continues to decline, innovative approaches to weed control must be pursued. Additionally, vegetable production is a major component of California’s growing organic industry, and effective weed control is at the top of the list of concerns for organic growers. Recently retired CE Specialist Tom Lanini was a go-to expert on organic weed control, and his loss leaves a significant void in UC expertise in this important subject. As is the case with agronomic crops, the cadre of CE Advisors experienced in weed control issues in vegetable crops are nearing, or in, retirement, making the hiring of a CE weed control specialist of particular urgency.
Posted May 10, 2014 1:13 PM by Tim Hartz
The California Tomato Research Institute, a crop improvement association active in supporting many UC activities, appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposed Vegetable and Agronomic Cropping Systems Weed Management Specialist position (#118) at UC Davis.
Weed control remains the most consistent and costly pest management input in processing tomato production. The previous specialist, Tom Lanini leveraged campus facilities and talent to provide a very productive and effective weed management research program. For processing tomatoes, this position has been vital to our mission.
We are pleased with the progress of our current grant-funded scientist, but it is simply not a long-term solution to the need for a weed science faculty position that can provide statewide support for weed management issues in our cropping systems. Due to the importance and diverse scope of this position in both conventional and organic production, we are hopeful that UC will recognize the relevance of this position to stakeholders by expediting a successful search and placement. Thank you.
Posted Jun 4, 2014 9:38 AM by Charles Rivara, Director, California Tomato Research Institute, Inc.
The California Wheat Commission (CWC) is pleased to support the Vegetable and Agronomic Cropping Systems Weed Management Specialist position. Weed control is very important to small grain crops including wheat, which is usually grown in rotation with tomatoes and other vegetable crops.
The top priority for the grower-funded CWC is to support UC and UCCE wheat research programs. In recent years, CWC funding to UCCE has grown significantly through its competitive grant and internship program. Open to UC farm advisors and specialists, the program invites wheat-related research proposals. Several grants have been given to weed control projects. Researchers are asked to present their findings at special grower research meetings and results are posted on the CWC website.
More than just the financial investment, CWC sees UCCE and UC as the key strategic partners in keeping the wheat industry viable in California. Virtually all of our growers are diversified producers facing myriad financial, agronomic and environmental challenges. They look to us for accurate and unbiased information regarding the agronomic challenges they face. UCCE-conducted field trials help identify best management practices for fertilization, irrigation and weed control. Thus, our core mission relies on a strong and viable UCCE.
Importance of the Weed Management Specialist
• Weed management in agronomic crops is an issue of statewide importance. As pressure mounts to limit the application of pesticides and herbicides, a statewide specialist is critical to helping wheat growers understand the issues, better utilize new research findings in the field, and improve the economic viability of wheat production.
• The wheat breeding industry is undergoing major changes, with major chemical/biotechnology companies, including Monsanto and Syngenta, purchasing smaller seed companies. These changes are affecting the structure of our public field trials and limiting the information that is available to growers and end users about best practices. A specialist is needed to more actively manage this changing environment and protect the interests of growers.
• CWC is seeing significant interest from growers in producing wheat either organically or sustainably. Growers in many areas, like the North Coast counties, are seeking assistance in identifying appropriate varieties and practices to enable them to re-introduce wheat into their rotations. This interest is being generated by the demand for local grain for local millers, bakers and consumers. Weed control is a major challenge for organic growers; the specialist would be able to meet this new demand and help create new production areas.
• Foreign buyers are also very sensitive to weed control practices. Customers are testing for a growing number of chemical residues and asking for less chemical use overall.
Conclusions and Recommendations
In normal years, wheat, together with corn, barley, oats, triticale and sorghum, are grown on close to 2 million acres in California. These small grains crops are critical to human and animal feeding systems, as well as to the expanding biofuels industry. The California Wheat Commission strongly supports filling this important Weed Management Specialist position.
Posted Jul 10, 2014 1:43 PM by Janice Cooper, Executive Director, California Wheat Commission
Weed management in vegetable crops will be a slow burning crisis as we come to realize how dependent we have been on hand weeding to fill critical gaps in our weed management system. Labor shortages will force us to deal with this issue. This position will be critical to deal with future challenges in vegetable and agronomic crop weed management.
Posted Jul 14, 2014 8:45 AM by Steven Fennimore
Weed control is a very important part of our processing tomato production and becoming even more so with weeds becoming resistant and fewer herbicides becoming available., Tom Lanini has been instrumental in his herbicide research for many years. I hope this research will continue on in the future., This position is vital for processing tomatoes. .
Posted Jul 17, 2014 1:59 PM by Bryan
This is a very important position for agronomic crops and veg crops. Weeds are frequently THE most important pest problem in these crops. This is a large gap in our expertise. We have lost 3-4 positions, Advisors and Specialists who can address these issues - integrating IPM approaches to weed management and addressing the complex problems of emerging invasive weeds, protecting water quality, and innovating so that our weed management strategies are far more effective and environmentally benign in the future.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 7:55 AM by Dan Putnam
My family has grown row crops in the San Joaquin for six generations. Weed management has been, and will always be, a major problem. Weeds waste resources and can be dangerous to animals. As consumer demand for organic produce increases, and as we continue to rely on and IPM based approach to farming, we need to better understand the biology and management of weeds. The work this person would do would have value all over the State.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 9:43 AM by Philip Bowles
The California Alfalfa & Forage Association fully supports filling the proposed position “Vegetable and Agronomic Cropping Systems Weed Management Specialist”. Retirements have forced Farm Advisors to perform weed work in addition to their other duties- most of them are now retired. The far-reaching impact of weeds on productivity, crop quality, feed safety in the case of forages, and resource use efficiency are immensely important. Filling this position would go a long way to reducing this critical gap in expertise.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 9:44 AM by California Alfalfa & Forage Association
A farmer faces a multitude of challenges, from fertilization to irrigation, but no challenge is as daunting and frustrating as weed management. California agriculture is continually evolving meeting the needs of consumers and water limitations. A static approach to weed management will be ineffective as it will not keep pace with the changing cultural practices, and increased regulations. The UC extension advisor plays a critical role in helping the farmer keep pace with these new demands. The research done by the UC weed specialist is invaluable as it can be trusted and is relevant to the California farmer's particular needs.
Posted Jul 19, 2014 10:35 AM by Scott Park, Park Farming
Critical position for California vegetable and agronomic crops. Weed management challenges are continuous and evolving. Weed control costs tend to be a high portion of the overall production budget. Specialist Lanini was an effective weed scientist who worked on many different weed management strategies.
Posted Jul 19, 2014 10:24 PM by Gene Miyao
I support filling the position of "Vegetable and Agronomic Cropping Systems Weed Management Specialist" because weed control in my operation is very important. As an alfalfa grower in the Sacramento Valley, I understand very well that our dairy industry demands weed free high quality alfalfa hay. Weed resistance to herbicides is an ongoing issue, so we must have aggressive strategies to successfully manage weed pressure.
Posted Jul 20, 2014 5:34 PM by Tom Ellis
The California Association of Wheat Growers strongly supports filling the position of "Vegetable and Agronomic Cropping Systems Weed Management Specialist". In California Wheat is grown in rotation with other vegetable crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers and leafy greens and wheat growers face significant challenges in addressing weed control. With increasing regulatory pressure to use less herbicides and issues of herbicide resistance, it is imperative that a UCCE weed management specialist position be filled to assist the growers in managing weed pressure.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 10:22 AM by Nicholas Matteis, California Association of Wheat Growers

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