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Matthew Helmers

Matthew Justin Helmers

  • Professor
  • Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
My training is from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (PhD in Agricultural Engineering), Virginia Tech (MS in Civil Engineering), and Iowa State University (BS in Civil Engineering).

Contact Info

4354 Elings
605 Bissell Rd.
Social Media and Websites

More Information


My research and extension focus at Iowa State is in the areas of water quality and water resources management. In particular, I am studying water quality effects of agricultural best manage- ment practices including strategic placement and design of buffer systems and methods to improve water quality in tile drained landscapes. I am active in investigating the impacts of cropping practices, fertilization practices, and subsurface drainage management practices on drainage water quality. My Extension program is focused on education of producers and other stakeholders on the impacts of agricultural practices on water quality and methods to minimize these impacts.

Broader Impact

I work with farmers and other stakeholders within the state of Iowa to improve the understanding of the impacts of agriculture on water quality and to implement practices that have the potential to improve water quality in Iowa.

Key Environmental Science Publications

Daigh, A.L., X. Zhou, M. Helmers, C. Pederson, R. Horton, M. Jarchow, and M. Liebman. 2015. Subsurface drainage nitrate and total reactive phosphorus losses in bioenergy-based prairies and corn systems. Journal of Environmental Quality doi:10.2134/jeq2015.02.0080.

Chen, B., W.F. Krajewski, X. Zhou, and M.J. Helmers. 2015. Organized variability of surface runoff processes across neighboring hillslopes in Iowa. Journal of Hydrology 523: 1-13.

Daigh, A.L., M.J. Helmers, E. Kladivko, X. Zhou, R. Goeken, J. Cavadini, D. Barker, and J. Sawyer. 2014. Soil water during the drought of 2012 as affected by rye cover crop in fields in Iowa and Indiana. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 69(6): 564-573.

Zhou, X., M.J. Helmers, H. Asbjornsen, R. Kolka, M. Tomer, and R. Cruse. 2014. Nutrient removal by prairie filter strips in agricultural landscape. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 69(1): 54-64.