Before I started at Fresno State I was working
for the UC Cooperative Extension with advisor Steve
Wright in Kings County. He was the one that (um) planted the seed
of the idea of me going to grad school. Since he’s on the advisory board for the Plant
Science Department, He actually knew Dr. Shrestha,
and that was where the connection began. (Um) When I did get accepted, I did work with
Dr. Shrestha, and we worked on several weed science projects
with him. I worked with a Pigweed caled Palmer.
This Pigweed is actually Roundup resistant in several
of the main (um) main crop-growing states. However, it’s not been found resistant here
in California yet. So the work that we did together with Steve
Wright and the Co-Op Extension. We did several trials to see if we have glyphosate-resistant
Palmer Amaranth. And we also did several projects
that we can start creating preventive mangagement plans to
prevent California from getting it. And if we do get it, we’ll be well prepared
for that. For those don’t know what Roundup is, it
is a herbicide that is placed when the plants are full-grown,
or still growing. And what it does it’s supposed to kill them
on contact. And we have Roundup resistant crops
that are currently used quite frequently. (um) We use that certain herbicide to kill
the weeds that are between the crops.
So because the crops are resistant to the herbicide,
they actually don’t die, it’s just the weeds that die.
It’s a really good tool that growers use. However, sometimes that may not work, because
eventually (um) by natural selection, there are certain weeds
that already are resistant to that herbicide. That’s just
how it works. And if you keep on killing the susceptible
weeds, then all that’s left is that one resistant
biotype that has been selected to survive.
And that multiples and eventually your whole field will be come resistant
because of that one plant that didn’t die the first time.
It does take 7-10 years for an entire field to become resistant.
And, (um) if that does happen. Growers are are in big trouble
because we have used glyphosate-resistant crops for such a long time that
we basically kind of kicked out different techniques that we’ve used.
It doesn’t discrimate. It can attack permanent crops, row crops,
(etc) it, and you know, it’s where it lands is where
it can surive. It’s a summer plant so they thrive the hotter
the better. The hotter the weather it can survive.
The crops have to compete for water, and you know how we’re in a huge drought.
It’s not good that we have these weeds competing for water,
and all these resources that our crops need. We’ve been very fortunate that we’ve only
had about six glyphosate-resistant weeds in California.
There are some states that have more. The weed we’re working with,
that Pigweed Palmer Amaranth has not been weed-resistant yet.
However, there are 12 other states that actually have it,
and are having a difficult time controlling it.
This weed is devestating. There are growers that just completely walk
away, and abandon their fields because they can’t even
control it. So for that weed to become resistant in California
we’re looking at millions of dollars worth, worth of damage, because we can’t control
it. It’s good that we’re doing this research here
at Fresno State, so we can create these preventive management plans.
The results of the study that we’ve done at Fresno State have determined
that we don’t currently have glyphosate Palmer Amaranth here in California,
however our research has shown that we are probably
gonna have it pretty soon. There’s a …
We did have some survivors in some of the populations that we did screen,
however, it wasn’t enough to say that we do have resistance.
However, I did present most of this work at a cotton incorporated meeting,
And one of the main researchers that was actually in Georgia
where the first case was discovered, he was saying that the symptons that we have
here, (that) that’s what they saw in that state
before it became full-blown resistant. If it does become resistant,
we actually have dome some work, (um) on a few tank mixes and rotating
modes of action and using alternatives. Dr. Shrestha I would have to say
is a very unique professor. He also serves as our mentor.
(um) He wants what’s best for us, and challenges us.
I could say he’s probably one of the most humble
people that I do know. The amount of time that he spends and invests
in his students and the work that he does is just amazing.
I’ve never come across a professor who has put that time into his students.
And, as an advisor, he actually likes to encourage,
(ah) students to want to conduct research. So he helps them with student research grants
that are on campus. At one time I think he had (ah) 7 of us, 7-8
students doing projects. We’ve actually shared our Palmer work in Texas,
Louisiana, (ah) Kentucky. We’ve even traveled with it to Canada,
as well, so our work at Fresno State has been known.
A lot of his students that don’t even have bachelor’s yet
have conducted more research than people that have master’s (degrees).
That’s what’s really unique about this program. He also finds scholarships for us.
And, he’s always sending us things. When I was in his program,
I was able to get at least $12,000 worth of scholarships
just on the weed work I did with him. Through the experience here at Fresno State
working with Dr. Shrestha, (um) I actually got a job even
before I graduated. (AH) I was hired as a subtropical horticulture
farm advisor in Riverside and San Diego County.
And, as soon as my thesis was submitted on October 30,
I was at work within the next week. And, when I applied, you know, it was actually
quite intimidating because I was applying for a position were there was
mostly PhD’s. I would have to say because of the work that
I did with Shrestha and Steve Wright that really gave me the chance
to really break through. As a a farm advisor, half of my work consists
of conducting research on anything that’s subtropical.
You have citrus, cherimoya, date plams, mangoes. And, the other half is extension work.
So (um) my responsibilities are to teach growers within
those two counties, or actually state-wide (um) the newest techniques on how to grow
the commodity. So I assist them so they’re able to produce
the amount that they need to be successful.
Things happened so fast, that I don’t think it hasn’t really
sunk in yet. When I worked at the UC crop extension in
Tulare, I was already working (um) side by side with the farm advisors,
so I think that helped me a lot (so)
It’s really fast-paced, there’s always things happening.
It’s not a 9-5 job, 40 hours a week. You’re always constantly working to make your
program successful. And, (um) like I said
I was always busy because I worked for Shrestha and Tulare County,
so it was something that I just picked up and ran with it.
And, I think it was a real good transition for me.
And because the way Shrestha and his program challenged me,
it got me ready to actually work in research.