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Plant Production Systems

Members of the Plant Production Systems Community work to improve our understanding and management of agronomic and horticultural crops, with the goal of furthering ecosystem services from managed landscapes, sustainably producing food, feed and fiber, and enhancing human environments.

Plant Production Systems Community Members


Supporting Research Faculty, Postdoctoral Associates and Staff

Kevin, Research Specialist Senior
Kevin is responsible for day-to-day operations of our applied weed management research trials in agronomic crops (mostly corn, soybean, and wheat) and pasture/forage that includes locations throughout Virginia. Kevin's duties include plot layout, herbicide application, planting, data collection, and harvesting and operates equipment to do so.

Ruslan, Research Manager,
Ruslan coordinates experimental aspects of our soybean root rot disease and seed composition projects with lab and field personnel. Coordination of experimental material transfer and data processing of the root rot disease project with various collaborators on-campus and at Iowa and Ohio State Universities. Ruslan participates in the design of field experiments and in planting and harvesting and supervise DNA extraction/genotyping in the lab and DNA preparation for genotyping at the USDA/ARS Beltsville laboratory.

Wynse, Senior Research Associate
Wynse is in the Small Grains Breeding and Genetics program, with a primary responsibility to develop and improve useful traits, such as disease resistance, superior quality and high yield in hulled and hulless winter barley varieties for various end-use (Malt, Feed, and Food) markets. Wynse’s role is vital to the agricultural industry as there are constant challenges to meet market requirements and consumer demands.

Elizabeth, Research Associate
Elizabeth coordinates activities in the field for planting, maintenance of soybean plants and harvest and coordinate greenhouse research when necessary for projects.  Elizabeth also performs various molecular research activities in the lab located in Latham Hall  

Joshua, Research Associate
Joshua aids in the development of new and improved, high yielding, small grain varieties with enhanced resistance to FHB and lower DON accumulation that are adapted to the Mid-Atlantic and Southern U.S. 

Brandon Lester,, Environmental Monitoring Technician
Brandon designs, builds, and maintains remote sensor networks used to collect data in soil, water, and the atmosphere. 

Limei, Research Associate
Limei does research of hard wheat or bread wheat variety development.

Amy, Research Specialist
Amy provides support to the Soybean Research & Extension Project through planning and designing experiments; insuring research protocols are implemented with attention to data collection; performing data analysis and creating reports; and regularly communicating with seed company representatives and other cooperators.

Earl, Laboratory Specialist Senior
Earl is the lab manager and safety officer. Earl also helps with student supervision, molecular biology, and cell biology.

John, Research Specialist
John works in the  small grains program. John’s primary responsibility is to help gather and analyze data to help the breeders select which lines to advance. 

Billy Taylor,, Agricultural Supervisor
Billy provides support to Soybean Research & Extension Project through implementing research protocols; supervising part-time employees; assisting with grad student projects; safely operating, transporting, and maintaining field equipment; and regular communication with farm and AREC cooperators. 

Mark Vaughn,, Research Specialist
Mark reads mildew, leaf rust, and blotch on most years and have read stripe rust, septoria, tan spot, scab, and scald when plots have been infected with the disease.  On barley, Mark makes selections from all our tests based on the data that’s taken and also from several observations made by walking through and observing plots.