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WinField expands student opportunities

April 14, 2011

UWRF students have helped develop new products for WinField solutions which currently leases land on the UW–River Falls Mann Valley Lab Farm. Through internships, jobs, and classes and students have even been involved with helping them develop new products.

Winfield Solutions conducts crop protection product research on the farm. It tests new and existing herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, adjuvants, micronutrients and seed treatments. Three new products were recently released and all three were developed over the last 10 years on the lab farm.

The products are InterLock, Max-In ZMB and Class Act NG and all are used extensively across the US and Canada.

These new products are surfactants that help the pesticides stick to the leaves instead of dripping onto the ground.

“Where it really is nice and comes in handy is when you want to get the spraying done, and then you found out over night that it’s going to rain, and on the herbicide it says 18 hours of non-rain,” Director of Lab Farms Bill Connolly said. “So now you can go out and it can be 6 hours non-rain, because it’s going to adhere and hold it on there.

And it’s going to accomplish what the other would take twice as long, so you just cut down the risk.”

It has also employed students form the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science at UWRF as summer interns and has hired CAFES graduates over the years.

This year, WinField Solutions will have three summer interns that are all UWRF students.  There are also two UWRF alumni that work full-time for the Product Development group at WinField Solutions.

UWRF student Parker Heise worked for WinField Solutions at the Mann Valley Lab Farm as a research and development intern during the summers of 2008 and 2009.

He did fieldwork in the plots, mixed chemicals, sprayed research trials, and helped evaluate trials. He learned how different pesticides work and how they react with the crop and the target weeds.

“While working for WinField, I learned how much time and work and testing goes into taking an experiential adjuvant into a marketable product,” Heise said. “It was an amazing experience in which I learned a great deal about a part of agriculture that I knew little about, and because of that, has made me want to pursue a career with WinField.”

According to Heise, Interlock and Class Act NG were already on the market when he started with WinField, although they used those products as a control to test experimental adjuvants against to find something better that might someday take its place.

“Max-In ZMB was a newer product when I started and I sprayed a lot of trials using it to collect data,” Heise said.

According to Research Specialist at WinField Solutions Laura Hennamann, the majority of the products that WinField Solutions markets have been tested at UWRF.

“We meet every year on the agreement, we sit down and rehash things and discuss what we have to change and we’ll make changes,” Connolly said. “They help us and we help them, it’s just a really good relationship and it has worked out well over the years.”