PSS grad, CASNR scientists bring home Crop Science Society of America honor
By: Norman Martin
A recently published paper titled "Establishment and Stand Development of Alfalfa Interseeded into Native Grass Mixtures: Cultivar and Row Spacing Effects," authored by a 2019 Ph.D. graduate student from the Department of Plant and Soil Science and two College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources professors, has been selected as the first place winner in the Crop Science Outstanding Paper Award for the Forage and Grazinglands Division of the Crop Science Society of America.
The award-winning paper's authors are Madhav Dhakal, a research affiliate with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Stoneville, Mississippi, Charles West, the Thornton Distinguished Chair with Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science and Carlos Villalobos, an associate professor with Tech's Department of Natural Resources Management. Dhakal received his doctorate in plant and soil science from Texas Tech in 2019.
Program officials note that the Outstanding Paper in Forage and Grazinglands Award was designed to honor members of the crop science community who have made important contributions to the study of crop science through basic and applied research. The award, which will be presented on Nov. 11 at the virtual annual meeting of Crop Science Society of America, consists of a certificate for each author and recognition by the organization.
According to the abstract of the winning paper, alfalfa seedling or crown density fitted against time with exponential models revealed an initial sharp decline followed by a slow rate of decline after establishment. At the end of three years, row-spacing results converged to similar levels for plant density and alfalfa cover. This indicates significant seed cost savings with the wider row spacing at that level of stand establishment.
Interseeding adapted, upright-type cultivars at wide row spacing can produce a desirable level of alfalfa establishment in a semiarid grassland of the southern Great Plains. The research was supported by the CH Foundation and Southern SARE grant LS17-286.
Today, Dhakal's research broadly focuses on plot-scale research in the Mississippi Delta Alluvial Plain as part of a larger network project called the Long-Term Agroecosystem Research. Prior to taking his current position, Dhakal served as a graduate research assistant with Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science, and an agriculture officer with the National Agricultural Research and Development Fund in Kathmandu, Nepal.
While at Texas Tech, Dhakal was the second-place winner in the Texas Tech Graduate School's 2018 Three-Minute Thesis competition for his presentation "Trade-off between forage improvement and water use for grass-alfalfa system."
Founded in 1956, the Crop Science Society of America is an international scientific society that fosters the mission of plant science for a better world. Based in Madison, Wisconsin, it has more than 4,000 members dedicated to advancing the field of crop science.
CONTACT: Glen Ritchie, Department Chair, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-4325 or email@example.com
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