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Jesse Puka-Beals Defends M.S. Thesis

Jesse Puka-Beals successfully defended his plant sciences M.S. degree on March 24, 2020. His thesis is titled Combining Cover Crops, Strip Tillage and Novel Mulches to Manage Weeds in Vegetable Cropping Systems. Greta Gramig served as his advisor.
Jesse Puka-Beals Defends  M.S. Thesis

Jesse Puka-Beals

April 15, 2020

Jesse Puka-Beals successfully defended his plant sciences M.S. degree on March 24, 2020. His thesis is titled Combining Cover Crops, Strip Tillage and Novel Mulches to Manage Weeds in Vegetable Cropping Systems. Greta Gramig served as his advisor.

The purpose of Puka-Beals’s research was to study how certain organic farming practices can be incorporated into vegetable cropping systems to help “weed and feed” the soil. He utilized living mulches (certain plant species) and novel mulches (hydromulch and compost blanket) to study weed control in carrots, finding that all treatments reduced weed biomass in trials.

Puka-Beals is from Lexington, MA and says that he chose North Dakota State University to “see large farms that grow all sorts of crops I’d never seen before, such as sunflower, flax, or lentils.”  He thinks the NDSU Department of Plant Sciences is very good at training graduate students for the agricultural industry workforce by teaching good oral and written communication skills and experimental design and statistics. “All of these skills were greatly enhanced through my coursework at NDSU,” he said.

During his studies he received several awards.

  • Winner of eOrganic article competition for American Society for Horticultural Science, eOrganic, 2020

  • Named a 2020 Future Leader in Science, The Agronomy, Crops and Soil Science Societies of America, 2020

  • Named a Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Scholar, Northern Plains Sustainable Ag, 2019

  • Gustav N. Geiszler Memorial Award, NDSU, 2019

  • Student Travel Scholarship to present at a national conference, ND EPSCoR, 2019

  • Travel Enrichment Experience Scholarship, Weed Science Society of America, 2018

His graduate committee included Gramig, Dr. Kirk Howatt, Dr. Aaron Daigh and Dr. Thomas Walk.

Author: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384, 
Editor: Kamie Beeson, 701-231-7123, 

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