We operate Russell Ranch like a commercial farm and rigorously measure and monitor all farm inputs and activities. Our farm management allows faculty and researchers to conduct a variety of experiments with access to a wide collection of supporting data.

Learn about The Century Experiment, our 100-year long mega-experiment in sustainable agriculture.


Research at Russell Ranch spans a wide number of topics.  Learn about our primary research areas below. 

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Soil Health

We are exploring how different farming techniques impact soil health, and how soil health in turn affects crop productivity and the environmental impact of farming. Learn more here...

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Biodiversity: Above Ground

We are exploring how adding more species of plants to a farm (increasing its above-ground biodiversity) affects the crop productivity and environmental effects of farming. Learn more here...

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Biodiversity: Below Ground

We are exploring how different farm management methods affect the species of microbes and other living things in the soil (soil biodiversity). Learn more here...

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Water Use

We are exploring how to increase the efficiency of water use in California agriculture and test the agricultural and environmental tradeoffs of different irrigation methods in California’s changing climate. Learn more here...

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Nutrient Use

We are exploring ways to reduce reliance on fossil-fuel-based fertilizers while maintaining or improving crop yields, minimizing pollution, and boosting soil health. Learn more here...

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Climate Change

We are exploring how farm practices can help store carbon in the soil (and out of the atmosphere) and use less energy and water, and how farms can adapt to an increasingly hot, variable climate. Learn more here...

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Closing the Loop

We are exploring exploring how to turn agricultural, urban, and industrial wastes into useful fertilizers and other amendments for the soil. Learn more here...

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Data & Tools

Our regular data collection includes water and fertilizer inputs, yield, weather events, pest pressure, soil microbiology, energy use, and more. Learn more here...