Picture of  Richard E. Farrell

Richard E. Farrell Associate Professor and Ministry of Agriculture Strategic Research Chair

5E18 - Agriculture Building

Research Area(s)

  • Nutrient supply
  • Agroecosystem capacity and integrity
  • Soil resources
  • Environmental agronomy
  • Greenhouse gas emissions


Soil Science

Research Interests

The Strategic Research Program (Soil Biological Processes) takes an inter-disciplinary approach to applied and fundamental research focusing on biological aspects of the soil/water/plant continuum as they relate to nutrient supply and the efficient use of nutrients by plants in traditional (annual, forage) and alternative (organic, agroforestry) cropping systems to enhance or maintain agroecosystem capacity and integrity. This work contributes to strategies aimed at enhancing or maintaining agroecosystem capacity and integrity, enhancing the environmental and economic sustainability of soil resources. 

The environmental agronomy program works in partnership with federal and provincial government agencies and the private sector to assess and demonstrate the utility of plant-based systems in a remediation or eco-restoration capacity under prevailing western Canadian environmental conditions and associated regulatory oversight. Our research also aims to develop a greater understanding of the processes that control GHG emissions so that we can reliably up-scale our research estimates of GHGs in a meaningful and useful manner.


B.Sc. (Resource Development, University of Rhode Island)
M.Sc. & Ph.D. (Soil Chemistry, Iowa State University)

Selected Recent Publications

Gillespie, A.W., R.E. Farrell, F.L. Walley, A.R.S. Ross, P. Leinweber, K.U. Eckhardt, T.Z. Regier, R.I.R. Blyth. 2011. Glomalin-related soil protein contains non-mycorrhizal-related heat-stable proteins, lipids and humic materials. Soil Biol. Biochem. 43: 766–777.

Agnew, J., C. Lague, J. Schoenau, R.E. Farrell. 2010. Greenhouse gas emissions measured 24 hours after surface and subsurface application of different manure types. Transactions of the ASABE 53: 1689–1701.

Amy Sangster, Diane Knight, Richard Farrell and Angela Bedard-Haughn. 2010. Repeat-pulse 13CO2 labeling of canola and field pea: Implications for soil organic matter studies. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 24: 2791–2798.

Reynald L. Lemke, Richard E. Farrell and Sukhdev S. Malhi, 2010. Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Crop Production Systems in the Northern Great Plains of North America. Chapter 14, Pp. 385-408 In: Sukhdev S. Malhi, Jeff J. Schoenau, Reynald H. Lemke, Stewart A. Brandt, Yantai Gan and Cecil L. Vera (eds.), Recent Trends in Soil Science and Agronomy Research in the Northern Great Plains of North America. Research Signpost, Trivandrum, Kerala, India.

Dan Pennock, Thomas Yates, Angela Bedard-Haughn, Kim Phipps, Richard Farrell and Rhonda McDougal. 2010. Landscape controls on N2O and CH4 emissions from freshwater mineral soil wetlands of the Canadian Prairie Pothole region. Geoderma 155(3-4): 308–319.

A.W. Gillespie, F.L. Walley, R.E. Farrell, P. Leinweber, A. Schlichting, K.U. Eckhardt, T.Z. Regier, and R.I.R. Blyth. 2009. Profiling rhizosphere chemistry: Evidence from N & C K-edge XANES and Py-FIMS. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 73:2002–2012.

Yuguang Bai, Tyler Colberg, J.T. Romo, Brian McConkey, Dan Pennock and Richard Farrell. 2009. Does expansion of western snowberry enhance ecosystem carbon sequestration and storage in Canadian Prairies? Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 134(3-4): 269-276.

Phillips, L.A., C.W. Greer, R.E. Farrell and J.J. Germida. 2009. Field-scale assessment of weathered hydrocarbon degradation by mixed and single plant treatments. Applied Soil Ecology, 42:9-17.

Farrell, R.E. & J.A. Elliott, 2008. Soil Air. In M.R. Carter & E.G. Gregorich (eds.), Soil Sampling and Methods of Analysis, 2nd Edition, 833-850, Chapter 64, Canadian Society of Soil Science. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL: Lewis Publishers.

Ma, W.K., A. Bedard-Haughn, S.D. Siciliano and R.E. Farrell, 2008. Relationship between nitrifier and denitrifier community composition and abundance in predicting nitrous oxide emissions from ephemeral wetland soils. Soil Biol. Biochem. 40:1114–1123.

Reynald Lemke and Rich Farrell, 2008. Nitrous oxide emissions and prairie agriculture. Prairie Soils and Crops: Scientific Perspectives for Innovative Management. Online Magazine.

Phillips, L.A., J.J. Germida, R.E. Farrell & C.W. Greer. 2008. Hydrocarbon degradation potential and activity of endophytic bacteria associated with prairie plants. Soil Biol. Biochem. 40:3054-3064.


Soil Science 803 – Instrumental Techniques in Soil Research