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

Amadi, Chukwudi C., Richard E. Farrell, and Ken C.J. Van Rees. 2017. Dynamics of soil-derived greenhouse gas emissions from shelterbelts under elevated soil moisture conditions in a semi-arid prairie environment. Agroforestry Sys. (In Press)

Karppinen, E.M., K.J. Stewart, R.E. Farrell, and S.C. Siciliano. 2017. Petroleum hydrocarbon remediation in frozen soil using a meat and bonemeal biochar plus fertilizer. Chemosphere 173: 330–339.

Amadi, C.C., R.E. Farrell, and K.C.J. Van Rees. 2016. Greenhouse gas emissions along a shelterbelt–cropped field transect. Agric. Ecosys. Environ. 241: 110–120.

Amadi, C.C., K.C.J. Van Rees, and R.E. Farrell. 2016. Soil-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in shelterbelts compared with adjacent cropped fields. Agric. Ecosys. Environ. 223: 123–134.

Amadi, C.C., K.C.J. Van Rees, and R.E. Farrell. 2016. Greenhouse gas mitigation potential of shelterbelts: Estimating farm-scale emission reductions using the Holos model. Can. J. Soil Sci. (published on-line at:  dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjss-2016-0017).

Hamilton, J.G., R.E. Farrell, N. Chen, J. Reid, R. Feng, and D. Peak. 2016. Effects of dolomitic limestone application on zinc speciation in boreal forest smelter-contaminated soils. J. Environ. Qual. 45: 1894–1900.

Balogianni, V.G., Wilson, S.D., and Farrell, R.E. 2015. Rapid root decomposition decouples root length from increased soil C sequestration following grassland invasion. Ecosystems 18(8): 1307–1318.

Arcand, Melissa, J. Diane Knight and Richard E. Farrell. 2014. Differentiating between the supply of N to wheat from above and belowground residues of preceding crops of pea and canola. Biology and Fertility of Soils 50: 563–570.

Arcand, M. M., R.L. Lemke, R.E. Farrell and J.D. Knight. 2014. Nitrogen supply from belowground residues of lentil and wheat to a subsequent wheat crop. Biology and Fertility of Soils 50:  507–515.

Brummell, M.E., R.E. Farrell, S.P. Hardy, and S.D. Siciliano. 2014. Greenhouse gas production and consumption in High Arctic deserts. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 68: 158–165.

Arcand, M.M., J.D. Knight, and R.E. Farrell. 2013. Temporal dynamics of nitrogen rhizodeposition in field pea as determined by 15N labeling. Can. J. Plant Sci. 93:  941–950.

Leinweber, P., Kruse, J., Baum, C., Arcand, M., Diane Knight, J., Farrell, R., Eckhardt, K., Kiersch, K., Jandl, G., 2013. Advances in Understanding Organic Nitrogen Chemistry in Soils Using State-of-the-art Analytical Techniques. Pp. 83–151 In: Donald, S. (Ed.), Advances in Agronomy, Academic Press.

Walley, F.L., A.W. Gillespie, A.B. Adetona, J.J. Germida, and R.E. Farrell. 2014. Manipulation of rhizosphere organisms to enhance glomalin production and C sequestration: Pitfalls and promises. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 94: 1–8.

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

Richard E. Farrell, Eeltje de Jong and Jane A. Elliott, 2002.  Gas Sampling and Analysis.  In J. Dane and C. Topp (eds.), Methods of Soil Analysis, Part 4, Physical Methods, 1076-1111, Chapter 4.2.  SSSA Book Series No. 5. Madison, WI: Soil Science Society of America, Inc.


Soil Science 803 – Instrumental Techniques in Soil Research