Daran Rudnick

Associate Professor, Irrigation Engineer, and Coordinator of the Water and Integrated Cropping Systems Hub

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


  • 50% Administration
  • 50% Research

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

Research Profiles:

About Daran Rudnick

Daran Rudnick is an Associate Professor and Irrigation Management Specialist in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. His responsibilities include developing and conducting relevant and responsive water and crop management research and extension programs for Nebraska. Specific interests include full and deficit irrigation management, evapotranspiration, precision water management, fertigation, and plant and soil water monitoring technologies. He also serves as a Program Leader for the Water and Integrated Cropping Systems (WICS) Hub that fosters collaboration across faculty to address complex issues in agricultural production and natural resource systems.

Honors and Awards

  • 2022 ASABE Superior Paper Award, presented by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) for the refereed journal article titled “A 2020 Vision of Subsurface Drip Irrigation in the U.S.” published in the Transactions of the ASABE. July 18, 2022.
  • 2021 Larry W. Turner Young Extension Professional Award, presented by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. July 14, 2021.
  • 2021 ASABE Superior Paper Award, presented by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) for the refereed journal article titled “Innovative Extension Methods in the U.S. to Promote Irrigation Water Management” published in the Transactions of the ASABE. July 15, 2021.
  • 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

  • Katimbo, A., D.R. Rudnick, J. Zhang, Y. Ge, K.C. DeJonge, T.E. Franz, Y. Shi, W. Liang, X. Qiao, D.M. Heeren, I. Kabenge, H. Nakabuye, and J. Duan. 2023. Evaluation of artificial intelligence algorithms with sensor data assimilation in estimating crop evapotranspiration and crop water stress index for irrigation water management. Smart Agriculture Technology 4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atech.2023.100176
  • Liang, W., J. Oboamah, X. Qiao, Y. Ge, B. Harveson, D.R. Rudnick, J. Wang, H. Yang, and A. Gradiz. 2023. CanopyCAM – an edge-computing sensing unit for continuous measurement of canopy cover percentage of dry edible beans. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compag.2022.107498
  • Katimbo, A., D.R. Rudnick, W. Liang, K. DeJonge, T. Lo, T. Franz, Y. Ge, X. Qiao, I. Kabenge, H.N. Nakabuye, and J. Duan. 2022. Two source energy balance coupled with mobile infrared and spectral sensors for estimating maize evapotranspiration. Agricultural Water Management 274. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2022.107972
  • Nakabuye, H., D.R. Rudnick, K.C. DeJonge, T. Lo, D. Heeren, X. Qiao, T.E. Franz, A. Katimbo, and J. Duan. Real-time irrigation scheduling of maize using degrees above non-stressed (DANS) index in semi-arid environment. Agricultural Water Management 274. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2022.107957
  • Katimbo, A., D.R. Rudnick, K. DeJonge, T. Lo, X. Qiao, T. Franz, H.N. Nakabuye, and J. Duan. 2022. Crop water stress index computation approaches and their sensitivity to soil water dynamics. Agricultural Water Management 266. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2022.107575
  • Abimbola, O.P., T.E. Franz, D.R. Rudnick, D. Heeren, H. Yang, A. Wolf, A. Katimbo, H.N. Nakabuye, and A. Amori. 2022. Improving crop modeling to better simulate maize yield variability under different irrigation managements. Agricultural Water Management 262. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2021.107429
  • Zhang, J., K. Guan, B. Peng, M. Pan, W. Zhou, C. Jiang, H. Kimm, T.E. Franz, R.F. Grant, Y. Yang, D.R. Rudnick, D.M. Heeren, A.E. Suyker, W.L. Bauerle, and G.L. Miner. 2021. Sustainable irrigation based on co-regulation of soil water supply and atmospheric evaporative demand. Nature Communications 12. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25254-7
  • Lamm, F.R., P.D. Colaizzi, R.B. Sorenson, J.P. Bordovsky, M. Dougherty, K. Balkcom, D. Zaccaria, K.M. Bali, D.R. Rudnick, and T.R. Peters. 2021. A 2020 vision of subsurface drip irrigation in the U.S. Transactions of the ASABE 64(4): 1319-1343. https://doi.org/10.13031/trans.14555
  • Zhang, J., K. Guan, B. Peng, M. Pan, W. Zhou, R.F. Grant, T.E. Franz, D.R. Rudnick, D.M. Heeren, A. Suyker, Y. Yang, and G. Wu. 2021. Assessing different plant-centric water stress metrics for irrigation efficiency using soil-plant-atmosphere-continuum simulation. Water Resources Research 57(9): e2021WR030211. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021WR030211
  • Zhang, J., K. Guan, B. Peng, C. Jiang, W. Zhou, Y. Yang, M. Pan, T.E. Franz, D.M. Heeren, D.R. Rudnick, L. Abimbola, H. Kimm, K. Caylor, S. Good, M. Khanna, J. Gates, and Y. Cai. 2021. Challenges and opportunities in precision irrigation decision support systems for center pivots in the United States. Environmental Research Letters 16 (5). https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abe436
  • Stepanovic, S., D. Rudnick, and G. Kruger. 2021. Impact of maize hybrid selection on water productivity under deficit irrigation in semiarid western Nebraska. Agricultural Water Management 244. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2020.106610
  • Rudnick, D.R., M. Stockton, S. Taghvaeian, J. Warren, M.D. Dukes, A. Kremen, C.G. Henry, J. Aguilar, B. Ortiz, A. Andales, C.A. Burr, X. Qiao, W. Liang, S. Walthour, and S.H. Amosson. 2020. Innovative extension methods to promote irrigation management. Transactions of the ASABE 63(5): 1549-1558. https://doi.org/10.13031/trans.13929
  • Lo, T., D.R. Rudnick, K.C. DeJonge, G. Bai, H. Njuki Nakabuye, A. Katimbo, Y. Ge, T.E. Franz, X. Qiao, and D.M. Heeren. 2020. Differences in soil water changes and canopy temperature under varying water x nitrogen sufficiency for maize. Irrigation Science 38: 519-534. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00271-020-00683-2
  • Lo, T., H.C. III. Pringle, D.R. Rudnick, G. Bai, L.J. Krutz, D.M. Gholson, and X. Qiao. 2020 Within-field variability in granular matrix sensor data and its implications for irrigation scheduling. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 36(4): 437-449. https://doi.org/10.13031/aea.13918
  • Lo, T., D.R. Rudnick, J. Singh2, 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
  • Lo, T., D.R. Rudnick, and T.M. Shaver. 2019. Variable rate chemigation via center pivots. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering 145(7). https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)IR.1943-4774.0001394
  • Lo, T., D.R. Rudnick, B.T. Krienke, D.M. Heeren, Y. Ge, and T.M. Shaver. 2019. Water Effects on Optical Canopy Sensing for Late-Season Site-Specific Nitrogen Management of Maize. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 162: 154-164. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compag.2019.04.006
  • Singh, J., T. Lo, D.R. Rudnick, S. Irmak, and H. Blanco-Canqui. 2019. Quantifying and correcting for clay content effects on soil water measurement by reflectometers. Agricultural Water Management. 216: 390-399. https://doi.org/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 55(1): 38-55. https://doi.org/10.1111/1752-1688.12723
  • Lo, T., D.R. Rudnick, C.A. Burr, M.C. Stockton, and R. Werle. 2019. Approaches to evaluating grower irrigation and fertilizer nitrogen amount and timing. Agricultural Water Management. 213: 693-706. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2018.11.010