Robert Mitchell
FYH 251
Lincoln NE 68583-0937

Robert Mitchell

USDA Research Agronomist and Adjunct Professor

Area of Expertise:

B.S. Natural Resource/Wildlife, University of Nebraska, 1989

M.S. Agronomy/Range & Forage, University of Nebraska, 1992

Ph.D. Agronomy/Range & Forage, University of Nebraska, 1995

Area of Focus

Bioenergy and Grassland Management

Research Interests

  • Bioenergy
  • Grassland Establishment and Management
  • Grass Growth and Development
  • Grassland Ecology

Extension Area of Emphasis

  • Bioenergy
  • Grassland Establishment and Management

Major Project Activities

I’m interested in conducting research that helps producers successfully establish and manage perennial grasses. My research focuses on improving establishment and management practices for perennial grasses, developing perennial grasses for bioenergy, and finding the best use of marginally-productive cropland.


  • Mitchell, R., M. Schmer, B. Anderson, V. Jin, K. Balkcom, J. Kiniry, A. Coffin, and P. White. Dedicated energy crops and crop residues for bioenergy feedstocks in the Central and Eastern USA. Bioenergy Research. doi 10.1007/s12155-016-9734-2. 2016.
  • Ramstein, G.P., J. Evans, S.M. Kaeppler, R.B. Mitchell, K.P. Vogel, C.R. Buell, and M.D. Casler. Accuracy of genomic prediction in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) improved by accounting for linkage disequilibrium. Genes, Genomes, Genetics doi: 10.1534/g3.115.024950. 2016.
  • Anderson, W., G. Sarath, S. Edme, M. Casler, R. Mitchell, C. Tobias, A. Hale, S. Sattler, and J. Knoll. Dedicated Herbaceous Biomass Feedstock Genetics and Development. Bioenergy Research DOI 10.1007/s12155-015-9709-8. 2016.
  • Kibet, L., H. Blanco-Canqui, R. Mitchell, and W. Schacht. Root Biomass and Soil Carbon Response to Growing Perennial Grasses for Bioenergy. Energy, Sustainability and Society 6:1-8. 2016.
  • Vogel, K.P., R. Mitchell, and G. Sarath. Registration of ‘NE Trailblazer C-1’, ‘NE Trailblazer C0’, ‘NE Trailblazer C2’, ‘NE Trailblazer C3’, ‘NE Trailblazer C4’, and ‘NE Trailblazer C5’ Switchgrass Germplasms. J. Plant Registrations. 10:159–165. doi:10.3198/jpr2015.11.0070crg. 2016.
  • Vogel, K.P., R.B. Mitchell, B.L. Waldron, M.R. Haferkamp, J.D. Berdahl, D.D. Baltensperger, G. Erickson, and T. Klopfenstein. Registration of ‘Newell’ smooth bromegrass.  J. Plant Registrations 9:35-40. 2015.
  • Yerka, M.K., A. Watson, J. Toy, G. Erickson, J. Pedersen, and R. Mitchell. Yield and forage value of a dual-purpose bmr-12 sorghum hybrid. Crop Science. 55:681–687. 2015.
  • Moore, K.J., S. Birrell, R.C. Brown, M.D. Casler, J.E. Euken, H.M. Hanna, D.J. Hayes, J.D. Hill, K.L. Jacobs, C.L. Kling, D. Laird, R.B. Mitchell, P.T. Murphy, D.R. Raman, C.V. Schwab, K.J. Shinners, K.P. Vogel, J.J. Volenec. 2015. Midwest vision for sustainable fuel production. Biofuels 2015:1-16. 2015.
  • Porter, P., R.B. Mitchell, and K.J. Moore. Reducing hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico – reimagining a more resilient agricultural landscape in the Mississippi River watershed. J. Soil and Water Conservation 70(3):63A-68A. 2015.
  • Jin, V.L., M.R. Schmer, B.J. Wienhold, C.E. Stewart, G.E. Varvel, A.J. Sindelar, R.F. Follett, R.B. Mitchell, and K.P. Vogel. Twelve years of stover removal increases soil erosion potential without impacting yield. J. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. 79(4):1169-1178. 2015. • Mitchell, R.B., and K.P. Vogel. Grass invasion into switchgrass managed for biomass energy. Bioenergy Research. 9:50-56. doi 10.1007/s12155-015-9656-4. 2015.
  • Stewart, C.E., R.F. Follett, E. Pruessner, G. Varvel, K. Vogel, and R. Mitchell. Nitrogen and harvest effects on soil properties under rain-fed switchgrass and no-till corn over 9 years: implications for soil quality. Global Change Biology: Bioenergy. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12142. 2014.
  • Uden, D.R., C. Allen, R.B. Mitchell, Q. Guan, and T. McCoy. Predicted avian responses to bioenergy development scenarios in an intensive agricultural landscape. Global Change Biol. Bioen. DOI:10.1111/gcbb.12157. 2014.
  • Sarath, G., L. Baird, and R. Mitchell. Senescence, dormancy and tillering in perennial C4 grasses. Plant Science. 217-218:140-151. 2014.
  • Schmer, M.R., K.P. Vogel, G.E. Varvel, R.F. Follett, R.B. Mitchell, and V.L. Jin. Energy potential and greenhouse gas emissions from bioenergy cropping systems on marginally productive cropland. PLOSOne. 9:3 e89501. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089501. 2014.
  • Vogel, K.P., G. Sarath, and R.B. Mitchell. Micro-mesh fabric pollination bags for switchgrass. Crop Science 54:1621-1623. 2014. 2014.
  • Vogel, K.P., R.B. Mitchell, M. Casler, and G. Sarath. Registration of ‘liberty’ switchgrass. Journal of Plant Registrations. 8:242–247. DOI:10.3198/jpr2013.12.0076crc. 2014.
  • Hong, C., V.N. Owens, D. Bransby, R. Farris, J. Fike, E. Heaton, S. Kim, H. Mayton, R. Mitchell, and D. Viands. Switchgrass response to nitrogen fertilizer across diverse environments in the USA: a regional feedstock partnership report. Bioenergy Research 7:777-788. 2014.
  • Watrud, L.S., J.R. Reichman, M.A. Bollman, B.M. Smith, E.H. Lee, J.D. Jastrow, M.D. Casler, H.P. Collins, S. Fransen, R.B. Mitchell, V.N. Owens, B. Bean, W.L. Rooney, D.D. Tyler, and G.A. King. Chemistry and microbial functional diversity differences in biofuel crop and grassland soils in multiple geographies. Bioenergy Research 6:601-619. 2013.
  • Vogel, K.P., R.B. Mitchell, G. Sarath, H.G. Jung, B.S. Dien, and M.D. Casler. Switchgrass biomass composition altered by six generations of divergent breeding for digestibility. Crop Science 53:853-862. 2013.
  • Uden, D.R., R.B. Mitchell, C. Allen, Q. Guan, and T. McCoy. The feasibility of producing adequate feedstock for year–round cellulosic ethanol production in an intensive agricultural fuelshed. Bioenergy Research 6:930-938. 2013.
  • Uden, D.R., C. Allen, R.B. Mitchell, Q. Guan, and T. McCoy. Scenarios of bioenergy development impacts on regional groundwater withdrawals. J. Soil and Water Conservation. 68:124-128. 2013.
  • Wayman, S., R.D. Bowden, and R.B. Mitchell. Seasonal changes in shoot and root nitrogen distribution in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). Bioenergy Research. 7:243–252. 2014.
  • Dien, B.S., P.J. O’Bryan, R. Hector, L.B. Iten, R.B. Mitchell, G. Sarath, K.P. Vogel, and M.A. Cotta. Conversion of switchgrass to ethanol using dilute ammonium hydroxide pretreatment: Influence of ecotype and harvest maturity. Environmental Technology13-14: 1837-1848. 2013.
  • Mitchell, R., K.P. Vogel, and G. Sarath. Predicting the field establishment of perennial grass feedstocks: progress made and the challenges ahead. Biofuels 3:653-656. 2012.