Russell D. Mathison

russell mathisonResearch Fellow - Agronomy


University of Minnesota
M.S. (Agronomy with Ruminant Nutrition Focus), 1989 

Moorhead State College
B.S. (Biology), 1974

Research Interests

The central focus of agronomy research at NCROC is forage systems for beef cow/calf production. Included within this broad topic are:

  • Evaluations of forage crop performance under grazing
  • Evaluations of commercially available forage crop
  • Forage crop variety development, forage crop cultural
    management, and lesser known forage crop species

NCROC has 220 acres of permanent pasture and about 175 beef cow/calf pairs with which to develop research-based knowledge to benefit primarily cow-calf producers.

Current Research

  • Maximizing pasture productivity and extending the grazing season are two means to increase profits for beef cow/calf producers, as feeding stored forage is their highest cost. We have recently conducted research evaluating the compatibility, productivity and persistence of several different forage species mixtures managed under intensive rotational grazing. Studies evaluating tall fescue for fall stockpiling and early spring calving pastures are currently underway, as is identifying species suitable for windrow grazing.
  • Perennial ryegrass is an important forage species in many parts of the world, but is not commonly grown in the north central US because of concerns over winter injury. For the past three years, we have been conducting varietal comparisons incorporating soil fertility and harvest management schedules to evaluate the potential of perennial ryegrass in colder climates.


Mathison participates in producer meetings and field days to discuss forage specie and variety selection, pasture renovation, soil fertility and extending the grazing season. He also visit many farms to personally facilitate the use of industrial by-products as soil amendments.

Affiliated Organizations

  • American Society of Agronomy
  • Crop Science Society of America
  • Midwest Forage Association


Laberge, G., P. Seguin, P.R. Peterson, C.C. Sheaffer, N.J. Ehlke, G.J. Guomo, and R.D. Mathison. 2005. Establishment of kura clover no-tilled into grass pastures with herbicide sod suppression and nitrogen fertilization. Agron. J. 97:250-256.

Peterson, P.R.*, R.D. Mathison, N.J. Ehlke, C.C. Sheaffer, and G.J. Cuomo. 2003. Forage potential of perennial ryegrass and tall fescue in Minnesota. In Agronomy Abstracts. ASA, Madison, WI.

Peterson, P.R.*, P. Seguin, G. Laberge, C.C. Sheaffer, N.J. Ehlke, D.R. Swanson, J.D. Larson, R.D. Mathison, and G.J. Cuomo. 2003. No-till drilling kura clover into grass pastures with herbicide suppression and nitrogen fertilization. p.121. In Proc. Amer. Forage and Grassl. Council. Lafayette, LA. 26-30 April 2003.

Peterson, P.R.*, C.C. Sheaffer, R.D. Mathison, N.J. Ehlke, and D.R. Swanson. 2001. Yield and botanical composition of kura clover-grass mixtures under grazing. p.218-222. In Proc. American Forage and Grassland Council. Springdale, AR. 22-25 April 2001.

C. C. Sheaffer, N. J. Ehlke, D. L. Wyse, D. J. Vellekson, D. R. Swanson, J. L. Halgerson and R. D. Mathison. Forage Yield and Nutritive Value of Selected Quackgrass in Forage and Grazinglands Journal of Plant Management Network International. March 2004