Department of Weed Science

of Weed Science

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture
Svetošimunska cesta 25, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Pavilion 5, 3rd Floor

Scientific-teaching employeesPhoneE-mail (+
Prof. Maja Šćepanović, PhD, Head of Department
+385 1 239 4033mscepanovic
Prof. Zvonimir Ostojić, PhD, Professor Emeritus
Professor emeritus
+385 1 239 3692zostojic
Prof. Klara Barić, PhD
Full Professor
+385 1 239 3776kbaric
Valentina Šoštarčić, PhD
Postdoctoral Student
+385 1 239 4086vsostarcic
Laura Pismarović, MSc. agr.
+385 1 239 3606lpismarovic
Expert-technical employeesPhoneE-mail (+
Dragojka Brzoja, MSc. agr.
Senior Expert Associate SZVO
+385 1 239 3756dbrzoja

Teaching activities

Since academic year 1982/83 the activities of the Department of Weed Research and Control were extended to teaching. The curriculum included the courses Herbology and Phytopharmacy with Environmental Protection - Herbicides. With the reorganization of the Faculty in 1992, the subjects Weed Science I and Weed Science II were introduced.

After the study reform (2005) the teaching activities of the department were significantly expanded. The staff of the department coordinates the work of a number of compulsory and elective courses in the basic and postgraduate studies of Phytomedicine, in the English-speaking InterEnAgro, in the postgraduate specialized studies of Phytomedicine and in the postgraduate doctoral studies of Agricultural Sciences. They also participate in the teaching of compulsory and elective courses and other AFZG studies. The courses are constantly updated. Laboratory and practical exercises, introduced by the students in small groups (10-15 students), have been introduced on topics coordinated by the staff of the department, which promotes the independent work of the students. Certain teaching units are organized according to the principle of collaborative learning, which further promotes the activity and interactivity of the lessons. External staff of the Institute of Medical Research and the Teaching Institute for Public Health Dr. Andrija Štampar is also involved in teaching two elective courses, which further enhances the quality of teaching.

Scientific and research activities

With the foundation of the Department for Weed Study and Control, the forerunner of the present department of Weed Science, the weed problem was systematically studied as a separate scientific unit for the first time in the history of the Faculty. Most of the activities were related to the official research on the effectiveness of herbicide preparations on various agricultural crops in view of the need to grant licenses for herbicide preparations for the territory of Yugoslavia and later in Croatia. The staff of the Department worked on official tests for the licensing of herbicide preparations and developed and established standard methods for determining the biological effectiveness of herbicide preparations in various agricultural crops.

Between 1969 and 2000, several hundred field trials were carried out in various agricultural crops. Even after the change in the method of herbicide registration due to the adoption of EU regulations, the Institute's staff continued to contribute to the Ministry of Agriculture by actively participating in numerous commissions on plant protection products and their safe use. Mutual cooperation with local economic entities led to the acceptance and introduction of new approaches to weed control in agricultural crop cultivation.

In the early 1980s, the use of herbicides was introduced in autumn in the cultivation of winter small grains, which made it possible to abandon the ecologically, economically and biologically less acceptable application in air transport. In the technology of growing sugar beet, corn, soybeans, onions and other vegetable crops, the repeated application of herbicides in the sensitive phase of weed development was applied, which contributed significantly to economic and ecological savings. As a result, an environmentally friendly weed control system was created that fits into the principle of integrated crop production. This technology was developed specifically for sugar beet cultivation. A dissertation at the department was prepared in the field of repeated application of reduced herbicide quantities in sugar beets. The potentially negative effects of pesticides on human health, the environment and biodiversity have influenced the direction of scientific studies on weeds and their control.

The scientific and professional activities of the staff of the Department of Weed Science over the last two decades have focused on an integrated method of weed control. Guidelines for integrated weed control were written as part of Technological Instructions for Integrated Production by Field and Vegetable Crops. The staff also actively participated in technology transfer for integrated sugar beet protection.

More recently, research has focused on predicting weed emergence in agricultural crops and introducing non-chemical control measures in the weed control system, which is an integral part of ongoing projects and doctoral theses. Research in the field of herbicide application is mainly focused on monitoring herbicide residues in soil and water and developing guidelines for their optimal use. Experts from the Institute are also involved in the Ministry of Agriculture's project aimed at monitoring pests (weeds) resistant to pesticides (herbicides). Since 2017, the Institute has been conducting a review of the biological effectiveness of herbicide preparations according to the GEP standards approved by the Ministry of Agriculture. The results of these studies form the basis for the official recognition of herbicides in the EU countries.


Chronological overview:

  • In 1978, the Department for Weed Research and Control was established within the OOUR of the Institute for Plant Protection, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences in Zagreb.
  • 1982 - 1983 the activity of the department was extended to teaching. For the first time, 50 students are enrolled in the educational section of Plant Protection. Within the subject Phytopharmacy with Environmental Protection they also listen to a part of herbicides (Prof. Zvonimir Ostojić, PhD).
  • With a new reorganization of the Faculty and Department, in 1992 it changed its name to Department of Weed Science, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture.
  • In 1996, with the reform of the Faculty's education, the Department Plant Breeding was established, within which during the IV. semester students enroll in the course of Weed Science (coordinator Prof. Zvonimir Ostojić, PhD). In the fourth year of study, the students of the department Plant Protection listen to the course Weed Science  II (coordinator Prof. Zvonimir Ostojić, PhD).
  • In 2005, as part of the study reform according to "Bologna Declaration", the basic study Plant Protection and the postgraduate study Phytomedicine were established. The first head of the basic studies was Zvonimir Ostojic. In the basic studies, students take the compulsory courses Basics of Weed Science, Herbicides and Applied Weed Science, and in the postgraduate studies Phytomedicine the course Special Weed Science. In addition, the lecturers of the department coordinate several elective courses at graduate level and are involved in the teaching of a dozen other subjects at undergraduate and graduate level.
  • 2016/2017 First-generation students of the InterEnAgro graduate course, enrolled in the subject Herbicides, which they will hear in English.

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