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Tom Rufty


Bayer Distinguished Professor of Sustainability

Crop and Soil Science Department, NC State



  • Plant and plant community interactions with the environment
  • Physiological and genetic factors controlling plant responses
  • Experimentation with crop, weed and invasive species


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Date: 05/01/06 - 5/01/22
Amount: $275,000.00
Funding Agencies: Bayer Cropscience (formerly Aventis Crop Science)

During the period of active growth, plants are subjected to varying environmental conditions which prevent the plant from maintaining its maximum potential for growth and survival. In the turf-grass industry in particular, turf-grasses must endure periods of both biotic and abiotic stress. It is the intention of this testing that the parameters best signifying the stress are identified and are scientifically evaluated against novel treatments or combinations of treatments to aid the plant to withstand the effects of such stress, thus improving plant health and quality.

Date: 04/10/19 - 12/31/19
Amount: $30,000.00
Funding Agencies: PlantResponse Biotech, S.L.

To begin exploring and evaluating the impact of PRB33+ on turf grass performance and stress tolerance

Date: 04/01/17 - 3/31/18
Amount: $23,000.00
Funding Agencies: NC Soybean Producers Association, Inc.

The United Soybean Board has funded a continuing project on the development of drought resistant soybean for the past 20 years. One product from this effort is the new drought resistant variety USDA N8002, just released by the USDA soybean breeding program in North Carolina. In 2016, we initiated a project to examine drought resistance in commercial soybean cultivars. More than 100 commercial varieties extending from maturity group V through VIII were evaluated for drought response at the Sandhills Research Station in NC and compared to new drought resistant products developed by the public sector. In August, an intense drought developed at the Sandhills station and commercial cultivars were successfully evaluated for drought response in replicated trials. Results indicated that although many commercial cultivars are drought sensitive, some possess a slow-wilting trait indicative of drought resistance. Yield assessment will be completed this fall. The current funding request is to continue this evaluation for a second year at the Sandhills Research Station. The assessment of commercial cultivars will determine which commercial programs may be using publicly developed drought resistant materials as parental stocks, and which programs need to. We will use this information to target outreach programs to transfer this technology from the public to the private sector.

Date: 04/01/14 - 3/31/17
Amount: $85,500.00
Funding Agencies: NC Soybean Producers Association, Inc.

Drought is one of the major problems for soybean farmers in North Carolina. As research plant physiologists, we are identifying genetic traits that are used by plant breeders to increase drought tolerance of new cultivars. In this project, we will study soybean recovery from periods of drought, a key for maintaining high soybean yields. Preliminary research indicates that large genetic differences exist in the ability to recover high leaf expansion rates and nitrogen fixation. The favorable recovery traits will provide a unique advantage for new cultivars during periods without adequate rainfall. Funding will support the assistantship of a new Ph.D student who has just joined our soybean research program.

Date: 01/01/14 - 11/30/16
Amount: $314,886.00
Funding Agencies: United Soybean Board

The objective is to develop high yielding drought tolerant cultivars adapted to North Carolina and other drought-prone US environments. A broad range of soybean germplasm will be compared for water use efficiency, drought tolerant nitrogen fixation, and stomatal response to drying air. Complementing greenhouse and field experiments will be conducted to examine these traits.

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