Research Interests

Increasing food production while simultaneously reducing environmental impacts is a critical challenge facing humanity. Our research aims to develop crop management strategies that can be used to enhance the productivity, sustainability, and profitability of agricultural systems. We utilize a combination of field experimentation, data synthesis, remote sensing, and crop modeling to link environmental performance with agronomic goals in important cropping systems in the U.S. Midwest and internationally.

Key research areas include i) sustainable intensification – options for increasing yields while minimizing soil greenhouse gas emissions, water quality impacts, and energy and carbon footprints of agriculture, ii) cropping systems analysis – holistic approaches for quantifying the benefits and potential tradeoffs of different management strategies using a range of sustainability indicators, and iii) improved nitrogen management practices – enhancing fertilizer use efficiency and yields while minimizing nitrogen losses to the environment.


Example research projects


Cropping Systems Analysis 

Assessing the eco-efficiency of rice production in Uruguay at a national scale

Life-cycle assessment of traditional and intensified rice production systems in Bangladesh

Cover crop impacts on corn and soybean yields at the field-scale using UAVs

Reduced- vs. high-input soybean production: yield, energy balance, and estimated GHG emissions




Soil Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Evaluating fertilizer N sources for mitigating N2O emissions while increasing nutrient utilization

Effects of long-term crop residue removal and tillage practices on soil N2O emissions in continuous corn

4R Nutrient Stewardship and cover crop impacts on soil N2O emissions, tile drainage nitrate losses, and corn yield (Dudley Smith Project in collaboration with Dr. Laura Christianson and Dr. Rabin Bhattarai)

Cover crop and N application timing effects on soil N2O emissions and tile drainage nitrate losses (NREC project led by Dr. Shalamar Armstrong)







Nitrogen management

Yield-scaled N leaching losses as a function of N rate in corn-soybean rotations

Biochar effects on soil N availability and N use efficiency in maize

Monitoring and modeling soil N availability and N losses in Illinois (NREC project led by Dr. Emerson Nafziger)