D (Raj) Raj Raman


Morrill Professor [A&BE]

Morrill Professor
Director, RegenPGC


3356 Elings
605 Bissell Rd.
Ames, IA 500111098



Teaching & Research


Engineering education; Perennial groundcover cropping systems; Technoeconomic analysis of novel bioprocess systems Learn more about Dr. Raman’s programs:

Interest Areas

As director of RegenPGC, Dr Raman is teaming with colleagues to develop crop production systems that conserve soil, improve water quality, while increasing producer income (see reference below for details). These goals – which have often been found to be conflicting with one another – could be acehived by combining perennial ground covers (PGC) with conventional row crops – thereby sidestepping bare-earth methods and shifting large-scale ag production toward a more sustainable approach.
The PGC system couples a high-yielding annual row crop with a perennial grass groundcover such as bluegrass or fescue. In this low tillage system, the groundcover reduces soil erosion, builds soil carbon and soil health, increases water infiltration, retains nitrogen. The PGC system will maintain or enhance corn grain yields, while enabling high rates of corn stover harvest without soil loss. The enhanced biological makeup of a PGC system will improve nutrient cycling, conserve soil moisture, and provide better pest resistance. Together, this means that the PGC approach can make crop production more resilient. Critically, the PGC approach should be cheaper and less time consuming than producing annual cover crops – i.e., PGC delivers critical cover crop benefits without the cost. Because of direct returns to farmers, PGC adoption rates might exeed those of existing nutrient reduction strategies.
Ref: Moore, K. J., R. P. Anex, A. E. Elobeid, S. Fei, C. B. Flora, A. S. Goggi, K. L. Jacobs, P. Jha, A. L. Kaleita, D. L. Karlen, D. A. Laird, A. W. Lessen, T. Lübberstedt, M. D. McDaniel, D. R. Raman, and S. L. Weyers, 2019. Regenerating agricultural landscapes with perennial groundcover for intensive crop production. Agronomy 9(8): 458. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080458


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