Daran Rudnick

Associate Professor and 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


  • PhD


  • 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

Courses Taught

  • AGEN 453/853 “Irrigation and Drainage Engineering”

UNL - Testing Ag Performance Solutions (UNL-TAPS)

UNL-TAPS was developed at the West Central Research and Extension Center 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 annual farm management competitions, 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. Producers are able 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.

About Daran Rudnick

Daran Rudnick became an Assistant Professor for Biological Systems Engineering after earning his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2015. He also serves as the Extension Irrigation Management Specialist for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

As the Irrigation Management Specialist Rudnick is responsible for developing and conducting relevant and responsive irrigation/water management research and extension programs for the region. Rudnick helped create the Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln which is now being used as an extension model in other states.

Rudnick is a member of an eight-institution USDA-NIFA funded Coordinated Agricultural Project which studies the Ogallala Aquifer to improve water quality and quantity. The study looks at both water management as well as economic impacts for the aquifer and the states which rely on it.

The impacts of Rudnick's research have spread to his service work as well. Rudnick serves on the IANR Agricultural Research Division council board to represent the western region of the state.

Honors and Awards

  • 2020 Distinguished Extension/Outreach Program Award, presented by the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association. July 27, 2020. Kansas City, Missouri.

  • 2019 Junior Faculty Holling Family Teaching Award, presented by the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • 2018 Excellence in Extension Team Award for the Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) program, presented by Nebraska Extension University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • 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.


  1. Accelerating Adoption of Water Conservation Technologies and Management Practices through Innovative Engagement Programming. USDA-NRCS CIG. 2020-2023. Amount: $850,000. PI: Daran Rudnick.
  2. An integrated and smart system for irrigation management in rural communities NSF – CPS/SCC. 2019-2023. Amount: $1,615,297; UNL: $541,048. Co-PI: Daran Rudnick.
  3. A scalable real-time sensing and decision-making system for field-level row-crop irrigation management. NSF-CPS. 2019-2022 Amount: $899,996; UNL: $319,994. Co-PI: Daran Rudnick.

Selected Publications

  • Franz, T.E., S. Pokal, J.P. Gibson, Y. Zhou, H. Gholizadeh, F. Amor Tenorio, D. Rudnick, D. Heeren, M. McCabe, M. Ziliani, Z. Jin, K. Guan, M. Pan, J. Gates, and B. Wardlow. 2020. The role of topography, soil, and remotely sensed vegetation condition towards predicting crop yield. Field Crops Research 252https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2020.107788

  • Singh, J., D.M. Heeren, D.R. Rudnick, W.E. Woldt, Y. Ge, and J.D. Luck. 2020. Soil structure and textural effects on the precision of soil water content measurement by a capacitance-based electromagnetic sensor. Transactions of the ASABE. Global Water Security Collection. 63(1): 141-152. https://doi.org/10.13031/trans.13496

  • Lo, T., D.R. Rudnick, J. Singh, H. Nakabuye3, A. Katimbo, D. Heeren, and Y. Ge. 2020. Field assessment of interreplicate variability from eight electromagnetic soil moisture sensors. Agricultural Water Management 231. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2019.105984

  • Bhatti, S., D.M. Heeren, J. Burdette Barker, C.M.U. Neale, W.E. Woldt, M.S. Maguire, and D.R. Rudnick. 2020. Site-specific irrigation management in a sub-humid climate using a spatial evapotranspiration model with satellite and airborne imagery. Agricultural Water Management 230. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2019.105950 

  • Burdette Barker, J., S. Bhatti, D.M. Heeren, C.M.U. Neale, and D.R. Rudnick. 2019. Variable rate irrigation of maize and soybean in west-central Nebraska under full and deficit irrigation. Frontiers in Big Data 2:34. https://doi.org/10.3389/fdata.2019.00034

  • Lo, T., D.R. Rudnick*, and T.M. Shaver. 2019. Variable rate chemigation via center pivots. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering 145(7).  (in-press)

  • Mittelstet, A., T. Gilmore, T. Messer, D.R. Rudnick, T. Heatherly II. Evaluation of selected watershed characteristics to identify best management practices to reduce Nebraska nitrate loads from Nebraska to the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River basin. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 277: 1-10. DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2019.02.018
  • Singh, J., T. Lo, D.R. Rudnick, S. Irmak, and H. Blanco-Canqui. Quantifying and correcting for clay content effects on soil water measurement by reflectometers. Agricultural Water Management. 216: 390-399. DOI: 10.1016/j.agwat.2019.02.024
  • Rudnick, D.R. , S. Irmak, C. West, J.L. Chávez, I. Kisekka, T.H. Marek, J.P. Schneekloth, D. Mitchell McCallister, V. Sharma, K. Djaman, J. Aguilar, M.E. Schipanski, D.H. Rogers, and A. Schlegel. 2019. Deficit irrigation management of maize in the High Plains Aquifer region: A review. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. DOI: 10.1111/1752-1688.12723 
  • Lo, T., D.R. Rudnick, C.A. Burr, M. Stockton, and R. Werle. 2019. Approaches to evaluating grower irrigation and fertilizer nitrogen amount and timing. Agricultural Water Management. 213: 693-706. DOI: 10.1016/j.agwat.2018.11.010 
  • Djaman, K., D.R. Rudnick, Y.D. Moukoumbi, A. Sow, and S. Irmak. 2019. Actual evapotranspiration and crop coefficients of irrigated lowland rice (Oryza sativa L.) under semiarid climate. Italian Journal of Agronomy. DOI: 10.4081/ija.2019.1059.
  • Stepanovic, S., R. Werle, C. Creech, D.R. Rudnick, C. Burr, and J. Peterson. 2018. Field pea response to seeding rate, depth and inoculant in west-central Nebraska. Agronomy Journal. 110(4): 1412-1419. Doi: 10.2134/agronj2017.10.0600 
  • Rudnick, D.R. , T. Lo, J. Singh, R. Werle, F. Muñoz-Arriola, T. Shaver, C.A. Burr, and T.J. Dorr. 2018. Reply to comments on “Performance Assessment of Factory and Field Calibrations for Electromagnetic Sensors in a Loam Soil". Agricultural Water Management. 203: 272-276. DOI: 10.1016/j.agwat.2018.02.036 
  • Barker, B.J., D.M. Heeren, C.M.U. Neale, and D.R. Rudnick. 2018. Evaluation of variable rate irrigation using a remote-sensing based model. Agricultural Water Management 203: 63-74. DOI: 10.1016/j.agwat.2018.02.022
  • Ruis, S.J., H. Blanco-Canqui, C. Burr, B. Olson, M. Reiman, D.R. Rudnick, R. Drijber, and T.M. Shaver. 2018. Corn residue baling and grazing impacts on soil carbon stocks and other properties on a haplustoll. Soil Science Society of America 82: 202-213 DOI: 10.2136/ sssaj2017.05.0177. 
  • 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.

Extension Publications

  • Rudnick, D., J. Aguilar, A. Andales, J. Schneekloth, and C. West. 2020. Ogallala water coordinated agriculture project resource guide series: Soil moisture monitoring (OWCAP-2020-RGS-Soil Moisture Monitoring). http://ogallalawater.org/soil-moisture-monitoring/
  • Rudnick, D.R., C. Burr, M. Stockton, and R. Werle. 2019. 2017 Farm Management Competition Report. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Circular EC3043.
  • Rudnick, D.R., C. Burr, and M. Stockton. 2019. 2018 Farm Management Competition Report. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Circular EC3042.
  • Lo, T., D.R. Rudnick, Y. Ge, D.M. Heeren, S. Irmak, B.J. Barker, X. Qiao, and T.M. Shaver. 2018. Ground-based thermal sensing of field crops and its relevance to irrigation management. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension NebGuide G2301.