Purdue Water Community

Jeffrey Volenec

Contact Information

Lilly 2-327
Department of Agronomy
College of Agriculture
West Lafayette, IN 47907


Dr. Volenec conducts research on physiological processes that influence productivity of perennial forage crops. Two processes of particular importance in these crops are their ability to survive winter, and to withstand complete defoliation at monthly intervals during the growing season. By understanding the biochemical and physiological mechanisms by which forages tolerate these severe stresses, Dr. Volenec hopes to be able to design rational and efficient approaches to improve their productivity and long-term persistence. These same issue impact performance of biofuels crops. For example, frequent harvesting at immature growth stages will reduce fiber and increase soluble carbohydrates in biomass, but persistence and yield are reduced. Developing technologies (genetic, management options) to maximize productivity while minimizing negative consequences is one focus of Volenec’s research. 

Volenec also teaches AGRY 505 “Forage Management”. The principles taught in this dual-level course are as readily applied to issues facing forage-livestock producers as others wishing to grow perennial plants for use as biofuels feedstocks. He also has an Extension appointment and participates in symposia target to forage producers wanting to learn how to apply the latest research discoveries on their farms.  

Expertise: Physiology of perennial plants used for forage/biomass production




B.S., Agronomy-Natural Science, University of Wisconsin--Madison, 1978 
M.S., Crop Physiology, University of Missouri--Columbia, 1980 
Ph.D., Crop Physiology, University of Missouri--Columbia, 1983


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