Agronomy research is focused on sustainable management of crops and cropping systems. We focus on crops important to Virginia—including corn, small grains, soybeans, forages and pasture crops, tobacco, cotton, as well as turfgrass for golf courses, sports fields, and sod production. We also have major projects in international cropping systems research to improve food security, especially in the developing world. The expertise of our faculty in the agronomic sciences is focused on the discovery and implementation of sustainable, profitable, and environmentally sound crop production practices. Our department has three signature research areas within Agronomy.

Forage Management and Ecology  Research by CSES faculty is focused on developing forage production and grazing systems that will succeed in Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region, enhance animal health and productivity, improve ecosystem services and which are economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable. 

Row Crop Management   Faculty in CSES are conducting research on creating and improving row cropping systems that are practical, will be adopted by Virginia farmers, and will be economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable. Research is ongoing to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed by identifying ways to reduce tillage, introduce cover crops, and improve success of conservation tillage systems. Research continues to identify nutrient management practices, pest management practices, seeding rates and row spacing, and other management tools to improve the performance of double cropping systems. CSES faculty is determining ways to profitably adopt precision agriculture technologies in Virginia corn and small grains production. Tobacco research is identifying improved planting methods, in-season management, and post-harvest processing for higher profitability. A major new initiative is underway to increase the production of animal feed grains (wheat, corn, sorghum, triticale) in the mid-Atlantic states.

Turfgrass Management  The CALS “Turf Team” consists of faculty from the departments of CSES, Entomology, and PPWS; and the Hampton Roads AREC who span several disciplines to address turf-related issues. Research conducted by CSES faculty includes the identification of warm-season grasses adapted to Virginia growing conditions, the physiology and ecology of turfgrass response to environmental stresses, the use of turfgrass for soil remediation, and Urban nutrient management. 

Faculty contributing to Agronomy Research:  Abaye, Ervin, Fike, Frame, Goatley, Holshouser, Reed, Reiter, Thomason, Thompson, Tracy