Patricio Grassini

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Patricio Grassini

Associate Professor

Area of Expertise: Plant Physiology, Weed, and Production Systems

B.Sc. (Agricultural Engineer). University of Buenos Aires, Argentina (2005)

Ph.D. (Agronomy). University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2010)

Area of Focus

Crop Systems

Research Interests

  • Crop physiology
  • Yield potential
  • Yield-gap analysis
  • Resource- and Energy-use efficiency
  • Crop simulation models

Major Project Activities

I have performed yield-gap and resource-use efficiency analysis across a diverse range of cropping systems, ranging from rainfed cereal crops in Sub-Saharan Africa to high-yield maize-soybean systems in the North Central US region and South-East Asia. I am currently involved in two major programs:

1. Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas. The global community must find a way to provide food and water security for a population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. Global carrying capacity for food production and our ability to protect carbon-rich and biodiverse natural ecosystems from conversion to cropland ultimately depend on achieving maximum possible yields on every acre of currently used arable land. The Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas ( provides a web-based platform for estimating yield potential, yield gaps, and water productivity that is transparent, accessible, reproducible, geospatially explicit, agronomically robust and applied in a consistent manner throughout the world. The Atlas allows to: (i) identify regions with the greatest potential to increase food supply and water productivity; (ii) prioritize research investments and monitor impact, and (iii) evaluate the impact of climate change and other issues that deal with water, food, and weather. The Atlas has been developed for ca. 55 countries across five continents, and includes all major cereal crops. Recently, the crop list has been extended to include soybean, sugarcane, and potatoes. We are also adding information on water productivity and nutrient requirements. As the Atlas provides open access to all underpinning weather, soil and agronomic data, the database is a unique starting point for all sorts of scientific, strategic and applied questions.

2. Benchmarking yield and input-use efficiency of corn-soybean systems in the North-Central US region. Though it has been speculated that the efficiency with which applied inputs result in increased yield can be greater in intensively managed high-yield cropping systems than in their low-input low-yield counterparts due to optimization of growing conditions in the former, this hypothesis has not been evaluated in actual cropping systems where farmer yields approach yield potential as it is the case of corn-soybean agro-ecosystems in the North Central US region. Our research program is explicitly oriented towards identification of management practices that allow achieving high yield with high efficiency, and without sacrificing producer profit. As a complement to the more traditional research approach of running experiments in experimental stations or a limited number of site-years, we built collaborative links with Nebraska Natural Resources Districts and commodity groups to collect data on yield and applied inputs from thousands of producer corn and soybean fields in the North Central US region. We use these data to (i) diagnose current yields, yield gaps, and input-use efficiency of irrigated and dryland crop systems, and (ii) identify opportunities to improve yields, efficiencies, and farm profit.

Extension Interests

I actively participate in extension activities, including University of Nebraska–Lincoln Crop Extension Clinics, NRD-sponsored workshops, and training sessions on the use of crop simulation models as decision-support tools to optimize crop management and producer profit, and write extension publications, including CropWatch articles, Crop Production Clinic Proceedings, and Extension Circulars. I also deliver bi-weekly, in-season, real-time forecasting of irrigated and rainfed end-of season corn yield potential for more than 40 locations across the US Corn Belt , which are periodically published as CropWatch articles during the crop season (see This information is used by crop producers, consultants and ag industry for making in-season adjustments on crop management, farm logistics, and grain marketing.


  • Agronomy Society of America (ASA) Early Career Award (2016)
  • Member of Science Advisory Council for Field to Market (since May 2016)
  • Junior Faculty Excellence in Research Award. University of Nebraska–Lincoln (2015)
  • Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Field Crops Research and Global Food Security journals
  • Water for Food Institute Fellow
  • Center for Great Plains Studies Fellow
  • ASABE Blue Ribbon Award, Educational Aids Competition (2013)
  • Fulbright Scholar (2007-2009)
  • Maude Hammond Fling Fellowship. University of Nebraska–Lincoln (2009-2010)
  • Widaman Distinguished Graduate Assistant Award. University of Nebraska–Lincoln (2009)
  • Gerald O. Mott Meritorious Graduate Student Award in Crop Science. Agronomy Society of America (2009).
  • William J. Curtis Endowed Fellowship. University of Nebraska–Lincoln (2007)
  • Diploma of Honor. University of Buenos Aires (2006)


Google Scholar publication list
  • Grassini P, Cassman KG (2012) High-yield maize with large net energy yield and small global warming intensity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 109:1074-1079.
  • Grassini P, Eskridge K, Cassman KG (2013) Distinguishing between yield advances and yield plateaus in historical crop production trends. Nature Communications 4:2918
  • Rattalino Edreira JI, Mourtzinis S, Conley SP, Roth A, Ciampitti IA, Licht MA , Kandel H, Kyveryga PM, Lindsey LE , Mueller DS, et al, Grassini P (2017) Assessing causes of yield gaps in agricultural areas with diversity in climate and soils. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 247, 170-180.
  • Rattalino Edreira JI, Cassman KG, Hochman Z, van Ittersum MK, van Bussel L, Claessens L, Grassini P (2018) Beyond the plot: Technology extrapolation domains for scaling out agronomic science. Environmental Research Letters 13, 054027
  • Andrade JF, Rattalino Edreira JI, Farrow A, van Loon MP, Craufurd PQ, Rurinda J, Zingore S, Chamberlin J, Claessens L, Adewopo J, van Ittersum MK, Cassman KG, Grassini P (2019) A spatial framework for ex-ante impact assessment of agricultural technologies. Global Food Security 20, 72-81
  • Deng N, Grassini P, Yang H, Huang J, Cassman KG, Peng S (2019) Closing yield gaps for rice self-sufficiency in China. Nature Communications 10:1725.