Robert (Bob) Wilson joined the staff of the University of Nebraska’s Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottbluff in 1975. He was a native of Auburn, in the southeastern tip of Nebraska, where his father was the longtime Nemaha County extension agent. Other than a couple sum- mers in St. Louis working for Monsanto while an undergraduate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and four years at Washington State University while pursuing his Ph.D. in weed science, Wilson has, in fact, lived his entire life within the borders of the Cornhusker State.
That won’t change anytime soon. But what will change, as of March 2014, is his employment status. Wilson plans to retire then, wrapping up almost four decades as university weed science researcher and educator — a person whom producers of sugarbeets and other crops in western Nebraska and the surrounding region have come to rely upon for solid research and sound advice. Growers and sugar company personnel alike affirm he will be missed.
Jerry Darnell, Scottsbluff-based agriculture manager for Western Sugar Cooperative, has known Wilson for the past 22 years. “Bob has con- tributed many things to improve the sugarbeet industry in the Rocky Moun- tain region,” Darnell attests. “He helped establish planting beets to a stand instead of thinning them. He helped develop micro-rate and half- rate herbicide methods for weed control in sugarbeets (the half rate with extra crop oil working better in this region). Bob started working on Roundup Ready® sugarbeets in the early stages of development and helped push to get the new technology approved. He also started working on different ways to control glyphosate- resistant weeds before they were even an issue.” Among Wilson’s other impor- tant contributions, Darnell adds, has been his research proving “that good weed control in a farmer’s corn crop will pay big dividends in weed control the next year in their sugarbeet fields.
“Growers and chemical reps in the western Nebraska/southeastern Wyoming area have always benefited from Bob’s research and advice about weed control in all their crops,” Dar- nell continues. “He is always willing to go out and look at weed control issues and to offer advice or develop a study to help control the problem.”
Editor & General Manager of The Sugarbeet Grower