Dr. Eric Prostko is an Extension Weed Specialist at the University of Georgia (UGA) and has been with the university for 23 years. With his appointment, he covers various row crops and spends about 50% of his time working on peanut weed control.
He obtained his BS degree from Delaware Valley College, his MS degree from Rutgers University, and his PhD from Texas A&M University. Throughout college, he focused his studies on agronomy and weed science. Before coming to UGA, Prostko served some time as a county extension agent (NJ) and a regional extension specialist (TX). Prostko’s position is housed within the very diverse, Department of Crop & Soil Sciences. This department services the agronomic needs in the state of Georgia.
Currently, Prostko and his team are working to develop two new herbicides for potential use in peanuts. One of those is Brake, with the active ingredient fluridone. This product will likely be labeled for use in 2023. The other product, trifludimoxazin, is still in the infancy stages of development.
Part of his role as an extension specialist is to troubleshoot issues, thus much of his research is geared in this direction. One of the projects, that his graduate students are working on, involves the off-target movement of forestry herbicides. There are approximately 11 million acres of pine trees in Georgia, so there are cases where the herbicides used for weed control in pine trees can inadvertently get on peanut crops. Prostko and his team are studying these effects and what can be done in these situations. He also conducts weed science research on field corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, and other row crops.
The advances from this research for producers is that they now have more options when it comes to herbicides, which allows them to diversify. Dr. Prostko also feels that it will be easy for growers to adapt to these new changes, especially with the use of the county agent extension delivery system.
The funding for these projects comes from agricultural industry. In some cases, he does get funding from the grower groups, but only when needed.
by Caraline Coombs, student assistant, UGA Peanut Team Media