Frederick E. Below, Jr


Dr. Below creates strategies to teach farmers and agricultural professionals the value of crop management decisions, and develops systems to sustainably produce high-yielding corn and soybeans. He evaluates environmental, genetic, and management factors that impact the productivity of corn and soybeans.

Primary Disciplines


  • B.S.: Agricultural Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • M.S.: Agronomy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Ph.D.: Agronomy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Interests

  • Crop Production Management Evaluation The Seven Wonders of the Corn Yield World The Six Secrets of Soybeans Relation of early plant growth to yield Influence of ethylene inhibitors on plant physiology, biomass and yield Crop Rotation and Tillage effects- The Continuous Corn Yield Penalty Fertilizer placement and timing Drip Irrigation and Fertigation
  • Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) and Nutrient Uptake and Partitioning Discovering genes influencing maize responses to nitrogen: NitroGenes Understanding the Physiological and Genetic basis of NUE -Using field studies, hydroponics and in vitro kernel culture Influence of fertilizer form, placement timing on uptake and yield: Nutrients Variable Rate Nitrogen (VRN) technology Improving plant Bioenergy yield without excess N Nitrogen Utilization Efficiency – Metabolic and enzymatic differences between hybrids in yield production Amino acid signalling of plant N status
  • Grain Quality for Processing Increasing starch quality and quantity for ethanol Improving hard endosperm food grade corn

Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements

  • Outstanding Presentation Award for 'The Six Secrets of Soybean Success' and 'Mineral Nutrition for High Yield Corn Production'.

Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements for Research

  • 2014 Werner Nelson Award for outstanding contributions to the fluid fertilizer industry
  • 2013 Excellence in Yield, Composition, and Profitability Award

Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements for Teaching

  • Incomplete List of Teachers listed as Excellent
  • Campus Award for Excellence in Extramural Teaching

Chapters in Books

  • Wessel, JR, Ruffo, MR, Below, FE. (2007) Spring Rainfall Dictates Success of Nitrogen Applied to Corn in Fall or Winter. In T. Bruulsema (ed.) Managing Crop Nitrogen for Weather. International Plant Nutrition Institute, Norcross, GA.
  • Below, FE, Seebauer JR, Uribelarrea M, Schneerman MC, Moose SP. (2004) Physiological changes accompanying long-term selection for grain protein in maize. p. 133-151. In: J. Janick (ed). Plant Breeding Reviews: Long-term selection: Maize. Vol. 24. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.
  • Below FE, Cazetta JO, Seebauer JR. 2000. Carbon/nitrogen interactions during ear and kernel development of maize. p. 15-24. In M. Westgate and K. Boote (eds.) Physiology and modeling kernel set in maize. CSSA Special publication no. 29. CSSA-ASA. Madison, WI.
  • White, WG, Moose, SP, Weil, CF, McCann, MC, Carpita, NC, Below, FE (2011) Tropical Maize: Exploiting Maize Genetic Diversity to Develop a Novel Annual Crop for Lignocellulosic Biomass and Sugar Production. p167-179. In: Buckeridge MS, Goldman GH, eds. Routes to Cellulosic Ethanol: Springer New York.

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Wang, XT, Below FE. (1996) Cytokinins in Enhanced Growth and Tillering of Wheat Induced by Mixed Nitrogen Source. Crop Sci 36:121-126.
  • Mumera, LM, Below FE. (1996) Genotypic Variation in Resistance to Striga Parasitism of Maize. Maydica 41:255-262.
  • Faleiros, RRS, Seebauer JR, Below FE. (1996) Nutritionally Induced Changes in Endosperm of Shrunken-1 and Brittle-2 Maize Kernels Grown In Vitro. Crop Sci. 36:947-954.
  • Wang XT, Below FE. (1998) Accumulation and Partitioning of Mineral Nutrients in Wheat as Influenced by Nitrogen Form. J. of Plant Nutrition 21 (1):49-61.
  • Cazetta JO, Seebauer JR, Below FE. (1999) Sucrose and Nitrogen Supplies Regulate Growth of Maize Kernels. Annals of Botany 84 (6): 747-754.
  • Lee HJ, Seebauer JR, Below FE. (2000) An Improved Technique for Culture of Rice Panicles. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 60 (1): 55-60.
  • Gentry LE, Below FE, David MB, Bergerou JA. (2001) Source of the Soybean N Credit in Maize Production. Plant And Soil 236 (2): 175-184.
  • Uribelarrea M, Below FE, Moose SP. (2004) Grain Composition and Productivity of Maize Hybrids Derived from The Illinois Protein Strains in Response to Variable Nitrogen Supply. Crop Science 44 (5): 1593-1600.
  • Bergerou JA, Gentry LE, David MB, Below FE. (2004) Role of N-2 Fixation in the Soybean N Credit in Maize Production. Plant and Soil 262 (1-2): 383-394.
  • Seebauer JR, Moose SP, Fabbri BJ, Crossland, L, Below, FE. (2004) Amino Acid Metabolism in Maize Earshoots. Implications for Assimilate Preconditioning and Nitrogen Signaling. Plant Physiology 136 (4): 4326-4334.
  • Uribelarrea, M, Moose, SP, Below, FE. (2007) Divergent selection for grain protein affects nitrogen use efficiency in maize hybrids. Field Crops Res., 100 (1): 82-90.
  • Below, F.E., Duncan, K.A., Uribelarrea, M. and T.B. Ruyle (2009) Occurrence and proposed cause of hollow husk in maize. Agron J. 101:237-242.
  • Uribelarrea, M, Crafts-Bradner, S.J. and Below, F.E. (2009) Physiological N response of field-grown maize hybrids (Zea mays L.) with divergent yield potential and grain protein concentration [Open access] Plant Soil 316:151-160.
  • Gentry, LE, David, MB, Below, FE, Royer, TV, McIsaac, GF. (2009) Nitrogen Mass Balance of a Tile-drained Agricultural Watershed in East-Central Illinois. J. Env. Quality 38:1841-1847.
  • Seebauer, JR, Singletary, GW, Krumpelman, PM, Ruffo, ML, Below, FE (2010) Relationship of source and sink in determining kernel composition of maize. J. Exp Bot 61:511-519. [open access]
  • White WG, Vincent ML, Moose SP, Below FE. (2012) The sugar, biomass and biofuel potential of temperate by tropical maize hybrids. GCB Bioenergy doi: 10.1111/j.1757-1707.2012.01158.x
  • Haegele JW, Below FE (2012) Transgenic Corn Rootworm Protection Increases Grain Yield and Nitrogen Use of Maize. Crop Sci 53:585-594. doi: 10.2135/cropsci2012.06.0348
  • Gentry LF, Ruffo ML, Below FE (2013) Identifying Factors Controlling the Continuous Corn yield Penalty. Agron J. 105:295-303.
  • Bender RR, Haegele JW, Ruffo ML, Below FE (2013) Modern Corn Hybrids' Uptake Patterns. Better Crops 97:7-10
  • Bender RR, Haegele JW, Ruffo ML, Below FE (2013) Nutrient Uptake, Partitioning, and Remobilization in Modern, Transgenic Insect-Protected Maize Hybrids. Agron J. 105:161-170. doi:10.2134/agronj2012.0352
  • Haegele JW, Cook KA, Nichols DM, Below FE (2013) Changes in Nitrogen Use Traits Associated with Genetic Improvement for Grain Yield of Maize Hybrids Released in Different Decades. Crop Sci. doi:10.2135/cropsci2012.07.0429
  • Chen, M.-H., Dien, BS, Vincent, ML, Below, FE and Singh, V (2014) Effect of harvest maturity on carbohydrates for ethanol production from sugar enhanced temperate x tropical maize hybrid. Indust. Crops Products 60:266-272.
  • Haegele, JW, RJ Becker, AS Henninger, and FE Below (2014) Row arrangement, phosphorous fertility, and hybrid contributions to managing increased plant density of maize. Agron J. 106:1838-1846.
  • Haegele, JW, Becker, RJ, Henninger, AS, Below, FE (2014) Row arrangement, P fertility, and hybrid contributions to managing increased plant density of corn. Self-study CEUs section. Crops & Soils mag. Nov.-Dec. issue p. 46-52
  • Ruffo, M., Gentry, LF, Henninger, AS, Seebauer, JR, Below, FE. (2015) Evaluating management factor contributions to reduce corn yield gaps. Agron J. 107:495-505.
  • Bender, RR, Haegele, JW, Below, FE (2015) Nutrient uptake, partitioning, and remobilization in modern soybean varieties. Agron J. 107:563-573.
  • Bender, RR, Haegele, JW, Below, FE (2015) Modern soybean varieties’ nutrient uptake patterns. Better Crops with Plant Food 99 (2):7-10.

Other Publications

  • Corn and Soybean Digest article by Barb Baylor Anderson ‘300-bushel corn quest: Racehorse hybrids, nutrient placement critical.’ Sept. 1, 2012.
  • Bloomberg News article by Jeff Wilson ‘U.S. Corn Growers Farming in Hell as Midwest Heat Spreads.’ July 9, 2013.
  • Illinois Agri-News article by Nat Williams ‘Corn Yields of 300 bushels possible if everything goes just right.’ Aug. 3, 2012.
  • Farm Futures Magazine article by Willie Vogt ‘Learning Lessons: No time to stop now if high-yield crop is still your goal. Recover and move on.’ Sept. 2012 edition.
  • Seed Today article by Rich Keller ‘Should Farmers Mix Corn Hybrids?’ Sept. 16, 2012.
  • Farm Journal AgWeb article by Rhonda Brooks ‘Corn Under Construction.’ Dec. 8, 2012.
  • Indiana Agri-News article by Katie Nickas ‘300-bushel corn could be realized, plant scientist says. Dec. 27, 2012.

Invited Lectures

  • Wisconsin Corn/ Soy Expo. ‘Seven Wonders of the Corn World.’ Wisconsin Dells, WI. Feb. 2-3 2012.
  • Pioneer Northeast Iowa Agronomy Seminar. ‘7 Wonders of Corn Production- Qwest for 300 Bushel Corn.’ Independence, IA. Feb. 15, 2012.
  • BASF Nebraska Consultant Meeting. ‘Seven Wonders of High Yield Corn.’ Las Vegas, NV. Jan 11-12, 2012.
  • South Dakota AgXchange. ‘Fertilizer: Placement + Timing = Profitability.’ Oahe Speedway, SD. June 28-29, 2012.
  • South Dakota AgriBusiness Association Agronomy Conference. ‘The Quest for High-Yield Corn and Soybean.’ Sioux Falls, SD. Dec. 19-20, 2012.
  • National Invited Presentations
  • Fluid Fertilizer Foundation Forum. ‘300 bushel Corn Sustainably’. with Dr. Laura Overstreet. Scottsdale, AZ. Feb. 21, 2011.
  • American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. ‘Future Crop Production: Is 300 bushel Corn Yield Possible?’ Des Moines, IA. Mar. 22, 2011.
  • Farm Journal Corn College. ‘Advice to hit your yield goal.’ Bloomington, IL. July 19, 2011.
  • Plant Growth Regulation Society of America 2011 meeting. Invited ‘Managing ethylene to achieve 300 bushel corn’ and volunteered ‘Changes in maize growth and reproductive development associated with aminoethoxyvinylglycine application’ Chicago, IL. July 25-26, 2011.
  • Farm Progress Show. ‘Seven wonders of the corn yield world.’ Decatur, IL. Aug 30- Sept 1, 2011.
  • Ag Retailers Association- ARA Conference. ‘Seven Wonders of the Corn Yield World.’ Boca Raton, FL. Nov 29- Dec 1, 2011.
  • Cargill ProShop VIP Meeting. ‘Key Factors Driving Corn Yields.’ Minneapolis, MN. Dec. 6, 2011.
  • Farm Progress Show. (FEB and AH) ‘7 Wonders of Corn Yield.’ Boone, IA. Aug. 28-30, 2012
  • Husker Harvest Days. (FEB and AH) ‘7 Wonders of Corn Yield.’ Grand Island, NE. Sept. 10-11, 2012.
  • Syngenta Water Summit. (FEB and JWH) ‘Role of Drought Tolerant Hybrids in a Systems Approach to High Yield Corn.’ Denver, CO. Sept. 17-18, 2012.
  • The Solar Corridor’s Potential to Increase Solar Radiation Use Efficiency Symposium. ASA- CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meetings. ‘Increasing Plant Population for Better RUE and Higher Yield of Corn.’ Cincinnati, OH. Oct. 21-24, 2012.
  • Understanding Yield Variability Across Spatial and Temporal Scales Special session. ASA- CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meetings. ‘Opportunities for Managing the within field GxE interaction.’ Cincinnati, OH. Oct. 21-24, 2012.
  • The Fertilizer Institute and the Fertilizer Industry Round Table Fertilizer Outlook and Technology Conference. ‘7 Wonders of the Corn Yield World.’Philadelphia, PA. Nov. 12-15, 2012.
  • International Invited Presentations
  • 'Crop Management for Biofuel Production: Managing Maize Hybrids for Fuel Ethanol Production' Keynote Presentation at the Chinese Society of Agronomy Annual Meeting, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. April 24, 2007.
  • International Seminar on Crop Nutrition, Paysandu, Uruguay, May 8, 2007.
  • 'Using Maize as a Sugar Crop' Workshop on Plant Breeding and Biotechnology in the Great Pannonian Region- Present and Future Needs. PPBA and Agric. Inst Osijek, Osijek, Croatia. April 7-9, 2008
  • 8th International Symposium on the plant hormone ethylene. ‘Ethylene control for achieving high yields.’ Ithaca, NY. June 21-25, 2009.
  • Joint symposium S04 & S08: Fertilizer efficiency improvement at ASA, CSSA, and SSSA Annual meetings. ‘Technology and biotechnology for better nitrogen use efficiency in corn.’ Pittsburgh, PA. Nov. 1-5, 2009.
  • A-9 symposium: Applications for plant health and agronomic perspective at ASA, CSSA, and SSSA Annual meetings. ‘Is there a physiological benefit from strobilurin fungicides to yield of corn?’ Pittsburgh, PA. Nov. 1-5, 2009.
  • Mosaic AgCollege. 2010. ‘The 300 bushel corn yield formula?’ Orlando, FL Jan 13-15, 2010.
  • TD Agriculture/ Fertilizer Investor Conference. ‘The formula for 300 bushel corn.’ Toronto, Canada. Nov. 18, 2010.
  • 18th Annual Southwest Ag Conference. ‘The Quest for 300 bushel Corn’. Chatham, Ontario, Canada. Jan. 5-6, 2011.
  • XIX Congress AAPRESID (no- till association in Argentina). Two invited presentations ‘The quest for 20- ton maize’ and ‘Strategies for improving nitrogen use efficiencies of maize’. Rosario, Argentina. Aug 15- 23, 2011.
  • XIII Brazilian Congress of Plant Physiology. ‘The Quest for 20-Ton Maize.’ Buzios, Brazil. Sept. 19, 2011.
  • Central Ontario Agricultural Conference. ‘7 Ways to Push Your Yield Barrier.’ Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Jan. 4-6, 2012.
  • Syngenta Technology Forum. ‘7 Wonders of Corn Production.’ Basel, Switzerland. Mar. 26, 2012.