Agroecological Research

The Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility is a unique 300-acre facility near the UC Davis campus dedicated to investigating irrigated and dry-land agriculture in a Mediterranean climate.

Russell Ranch, a commercial-scale farm, hosts a diversity of research experiments managed by Russell Ranch staff, UC Faculty and Farm Advisors. Russell Ranch supports the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences' extension and teaching missions by hosting field days, class field trips, undergraduate interns, and graduate student research.

At Russell Ranch we:

  • cultivate partnerships and knowledge-sharing with farmers and growers
  • do collaborative agroecological research to address major 21st-century agricultural challenges
  • monitor and measure agricultural system responses to a changing climate
  • collaborate with industry for the development of new agricultural technologies

Learn more about us

Our flagship experiment, The Century Experiment (formerly known as the LTRAS - Long Term Research on Agricultural Sustainability), is an ongoing 100-year study located on 72 acres at Russell Ranch. We measure the long-term impacts of crop rotation, farming systems (conventional, organic and mixed) and inputs of water, nitrogen, carbon, and other elements on agricultural sustainability. Sustainability is measured by long-term trends in yield, profitability, resource-use efficiency (such as water or energy), and environmental impacts. 

Russell Ranch also hosts numerous shorter-term experiments investigating different aspects of sustainability and environmental impacts of agriculture. These include investigations in designated microplots within the Century Experiment plots with research on questions such as comparisons of drip and furrow irrigation, fertilization rates, and incorporation of composts and other agricultural waste products. Satellite plots surrounding the Century Experiment include experiments on biochar amendments, soil health, and integrating livestock grazing into cropping systems.

Russell Ranch is immediately adjacent to the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve. The Reserve is a riparian and grassland ecosystem, managed for teaching, research, and wildlife and habitat protection. Mitigation areas near Russell Ranch are set aside for valley elderberry longhorn beetle (VELB) and Swainson's Hawk. 

Take a look at our Facility