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Blazing Trails: Dr. Ellery Knake Remembered for His Contributions to Weed Science
Date:6/1/2009

When he died recently at age 81, Dr. Ellery Knake left behind a body of work that has made a lasting impact on both agriculture and weed science around the globe. He devoted his life to understanding the impact of weeds on crops and to exploring new control techniques to benefit farmers. Thousands of students have followed in his footsteps and are now making their own contribution to the weed science discipline.

Lawrence, Kansas (PRWEB) June 1, 2009 -- As a graduate student and instructor at the University of Illinois, Ellery Knake was fascinated with weeds. He was determined to understand their impact on crops and to explore new control techniques to benefit farmers.

When he died recently at age 81, Dr. Knake left behind a body of work that has made a lasting impact on both agriculture and weed science around the globe.

"At the time Ellery began his research, farmers typically tried to control weeds with tillage," said Aaron Hager, associate professor and weed science extension specialist with the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. "But by doing so, they fueled a significant soil erosion problem. Ellery was one of the first scientists to spearhead sustainable agriculture by finding ways to reduce the need to till. As a result, he soon became an internationally recognized authority in weed science and conservation tillage."

Knake demonstrated an unrivaled passion for innovation during his 37 years as a professor of weed science and agronomy (the study of field crop production and soil management). Much of his early research centered on how to evaluate the impact of weeds on crop yields and the use of soil residual herbicides that would prevent new weed establishment without tillage. Knake's work involving crop yields, economics, the environment and the measurement of weed populations was an early precursor to integrated pest management (IP
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