Daran Rudnick, PhD

Contact Information:
402 W State Farm Rd
North Platte NE 69101-7751
(308) 696-6709
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Assistant Professor: Irrigation Management Specialist
Academic Degrees
  • Ph.D., Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2015
  • M.S., Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2013
  • B.S., Biological Systems Engineering, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2011
Graduate and Undergraduate Research Opportunities
  • 49% Research
  • 48% Extension
  • 3% Service
Areas of Research and Professional Interest
  • Full and deficit irrigation management
  • Soil water monitoring technologies
  • Crop water uptake dynamics
  • Water and nitrogen fertilizer interactions and their effects on crop performance
PhD Graduate Research Position Available

A Ph.D. (or highly qualified M.S.) student is sought for a graduate research assistant (GRA) position in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering (BSE) starting in August 2018, under the supervision of Dr. Daran Rudnick. The GRA will be working on an integrated research/extension program titled “UNL- Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS)”. The successful candidate will be responsible for evaluation of management practices as they relate to input use efficiency as well as assessing the performance of technology/instrumentation for irrigation and nitrogen management. The successful candidate will be expected to work closely with growers and industry personnel. The multidisciplinary aspects of this program make this position perfect for candidates interested in pursuing a career in research/extension.


Strong technical and analytical skills are desired, along with the ability to carry out field research using advanced instrumentation for monitoring soil water dynamics, evapotranspiration, crop canopy response to water and nitrogen stress, among others. Strong communications skills are also required as well as the ability to effectively work in a team environment. The successful candidate will be located on campus in Lincoln, NE, to complete coursework and will be stationed at the West Central Research and Extension Center (WCREC) in North Platte, NE, for the remaining time. Additional information about BSE can be found at bse.unl.edu and about WCREC at https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/westcentral/. If interested please contact Dr. Rudnick for additional information. Prior to the position being offered, the candidate will have to be admitted into the BSE department


UNL - Testing Ag Performance Solutions (UNL-TAPS)

UNL-TAPS was developed by Daran Rudnick, Matt Stockton, Chuck Burr, and Rodrigo Werle in partnership with the Nebraska Water Balance Alliance, to enhance the engagement of agricultural producers in the areas of resource use efficiency and profitability by providing a common platform for peer-to-peer learning with participation by University scientists and industry personnel. The program hosts an annual farm management competition, where producers are introduced to and are able to use new and developing technologies, tools, methods and other resources without exposing their whole operation to unknown results. The TAPS Farm Management Competition allows producers to evaluate many input and management choices, including crop insurance selection, planting density and hybrid selection, marketing strategy, irrigation scheduling and quantity, and fertilizer timing, amount, and method. Further details of the TAPS program can be found at TAPS.unl.edu.

Mission Statement:  "To fully engage agriculturalist, scientist, educators and industry in an innovative endeavor, to TAP into the University of Nebraska’s potential to create the environment for all to work together in finding solutions through innovation, entrepreneurialism, technological adoption, improved techniques and methodologies for Nebraska’s farm’s, farm businesses and farm families to maintain profitability and sustainability and productivity."

Honors and Awards
  • Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute Faculty Fellow, 2016-2017 
  • 2016 EWRI-ASCE Best Paper Award, presented by the Environmental and Water Resources Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (EWRI-ASCE) for the refereed journal article titled "Impact of Nitrogen Fertilizer on Maize Evapotranspiration Crop Coefficients under Fully Irrigated, Limited Irrigation, and Rainfed Settings" published in the Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering. May 25, West Palm Beach, FL.
  • 2014 ASABE Superior Paper Award, presented by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) for the refereed journal article titled “Development and Evaluation of Ordinary Least Squares Regression Models for Predicting Irrigated and Rainfed Maize and Soybean Yields” published in the Transactions of the ASABE. July 14, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Selected Publications
  • Singh, J., T.H. Lo, D.R. Rudnick, T.J. Dorr, C.A. Burr, R. Werle, T.M. Shaver, and F. Muñoz-Arriola. 2018. Performance assessment of factory and field calibrations for electromagnetic sensors in a loam soil. Agricultural Water Management 196: 87-98.
  • Djaman, K., V. Sharma, D.R. Rudnick, K. Koudahe, S. Irmak, K.A. Amouzou, and J.M. Sogbedji. 2017. Spatial and temporal variation in precipitation in Togo. International Journal of Hydrology. 1(4): 00019. DOI: 10.15406/ijh.2017.01.00019
  • Koudahe, K., K. Djaman, A. Bodian, S. Irmak, M. Sall, L. Diop, A.B. Balde, and D.R. Rudnick. 2017. Trend analysis in rainfall, reference evapotranspiration and aridity index in Southern Senegal: Adaptation to the vulnerability of rainfed rice cultivation to climate change. Atmospheric and Climate Sciences. 7(4): 476-495.
  • Shaver, T.M., G.R. Kruger, and D.R. Rudnick. 2017. Crop canopy sensor orientation for late season nitrogen determination in corn. Journal of Plant Nutrition. doi.org/10.1080/01904167.2017.1346681
  • Rudnick, D.R., S. Irmak, K. Djaman, and V. Sharma. 2017. Impact of irrigation and nitrogen fertilizer rate on soil water trends and maize evapotranspiration during the vegetative and reproductive periods. Agricultural and Water Management 191: 77-84.
  • Djaman, K., D.R. Rudnick, V.C. Mel, D. Mutiibwa, L. Diop, M. Sall, I. Kabenge, A. Bodian, H. Tabari, and S. Irmak. 2017. Evaluation of the Valiantzas’ simplified forms of the FAO-56 Penman-Monteith reference evapotranspiration model in a humid climate. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering:  06017005-1
  • Djaman, K., V.C. Mel, A.B. Balde, B.V. Bado, B. Manneh, L. Diop, D. Mutiibwa, D.R. Rudnick, S. Irmak, and K. Futakuchi. 2016. Evapotranspiration, irrigation water requirement, and water productivity of rice (Oryza sativa L.) in the Sahelian environment. Paddy and Water Environment. doi:10.1007/s10333-016-0564-9
  • Djaman, K., A.B. Balde, D.R. Rudnick, O. Ndiaye, and S. Irmak. 2016. Long-term trend analysis in climate variables and agricultural adaptation strategies to climate change in the Senegal river basin. International Journal of Climatology. doi:10.1002/joc.4885
  • Irmak, S., K. Djaman, and D.R. Rudnick. 2016. Effect of full and limited irrigation amount and frequency on subsurface drip-irrigated maize evapotranspiration, yield, water use efficiency and yield response factors. Irrigation Science. doi:10.1007/s00271-016-0502-z
  • Rudnick, D.R., S. Irmak, R. Ferguson, T. Shaver, K. Djaman, G. Slater, A. Bereuter, N. Ward, D. Francis, M. Schmer, B. Wienhold, and S. Van Donk. 2016. Economic return versus crop water productivity of maize for various nitrogen rates under full irrigation, limited irrigation, and rainfed settings in South Central Nebraska. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, 142(6): 04016017.
  • Rudnick, D.R., V. Sharma, G.E. Meyer, and S. Irmak. 2015. Using fuzzy logic to predict and evaluate the impact of temporal and spatial precipitation on rainfed maize and soybean yields in Nebraska. Transactions of the ASABE, 58(5): 1215-1229.
  • Rudnick, D.R., K. Djaman, and S. Irmak. 2015. Performance analysis of capacitance and electrical resistance-type soil moisture sensors in a silt loam soil. Transactions of the ASABE, 58(3): 649-665.
  • Rudnick, D.R. and S. Irmak. 2014. Implementation of a soil-water extraction model on a spatial domain using field capacity and apparent electrical conductivity relationships. Transactions of the ASABE, 57(5): 1359-1373.
  • Irmak, S., J.O. Payero, A. Kilic, L.O. Odhiambo, D.R. Rudnick, V. Sharma, and D. Billesbach. 2014. On the magnitude and dynamics of eddy covariance residual energy (energy balance closure error) in subsurface drip-irrigated maize field during growing and non-growing (dormant) seasons. Irrigation Science DOI: 10.1007/s00271-014-0443-3.
  • Rudnick, D.R., and S. Irmak. 2014. Impact of nitrogen fertilizer on maize evapotranspiration crop coefficients under fully-irrigated, limited irrigation, and rainfed settings. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, 140(12): 04014039.
  • Rudnick, D.R., and S. Irmak. 2014. Spatial and temporal maize soil-water extraction (depletion) dynamics: Part I. Development and evaluation of a soil water-extraction model. Transactions of the ASABE, 57(2): 431-444.
  • Rudnick, D.R., and S. Irmak. 2014. Spatial and temporal maize soil-water extraction (depletion) dynamics: Part II. Impact of water and nitrogen management strategies on soil-water extraction. Transactions of the ASABE, 57(2): 445-462.
  • Rudnick, D.R., and S. Irmak. 2013. Impact of water and nitrogen management strategies on maize yield and water productivity indices under linear-move sprinkler irrigation. Transactions of the ASABE, 56(5): 1769-1783.
  • Sharma, V., D.R. Rudnick, and S. Irmak. 2013. Development and validation of ordinary least squares regression models for estimating irrigated and rainfed maize and soybean yields. Transactions of the ASABE, 56(4): 1361-1378.
  • Irmak, S., I. Kabenge, D.R. Rudnick, S. Knezevic, D. Woodward, and M. Moravek. 2013. Evapotranspiration crop coefficients for mixed riparian plant community and transpiration crop coefficients for common reed, cottonwood and peach-leaf willow in the Platte River Basin, Nebraska-USA. Journal of Hydrology, 481: 177-190.

Extension Publications

  • Rudnick, D.R., S. Irmak, A. Haghverdi, C.A. Burr, T.M. Shaver, and T.J. Dorr. 2016. Soil water sensors for irrigation management. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Circular EC3002.
  • Rudnick, D.R., and S. Irmak. 2015. Irrigation efficiency. In: Exploring Energy Efficiency & Alternatives (E3A). Milt Geiger ed. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Wyoming Extension. B-1264|E3A-IE.8. http://e3a4u.info/ (In Press)
  • Irmak, S., and D.R. Rudnick. 2014. Corn soil-water extraction and effective rooting depth in a silt-loam soil. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension NebGuide G2245.
  • Irmak, S., and D.R. Rudnick. 2014. Corn irrigation management under water limiting conditions. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Circular EC2007.