Kurt Thelen, Ph.D.

Kurt Thelen


Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center

Professor - Crop systems that increase food, feed & energy security while safeguarding soil, air, water and biodiversity.

Telephone: 517-353-0232

Plant and Soil Sciences Building
1066 Bogue Street, Room 512m
East Lansing, MI 48824

Area of Expertise:

Crop systems that increase food, feed & energy security while safeguarding soil, air, water and biodiversity.


Ph.D., Michigan State University, Crop & Soil Sciences


General areas of expertise:

BioEnergy, Agronomy


Overview of current program: 

Dr. Thelen is a professor at Michigan State University, in the Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences Department and the Great Lakes BioEnergy Research Center.  His research program is focused on developing crop systems that increase food, feed, and energy security while safeguarding soil, air, water, and biodiversity.



  1. Gao, J., K. D. Thelen,  and X. Hao.  2013.  Life cycle analysis of corn harvest strategies for bioethanol production.  Agron J. Accepted Feb. 2013
  2. Smith, S.L., K.D. Thelen, and S.J. MacDonald.  2013.  Yield and quality analyses of bioenergy crops grown on a regulatory brownfield.  Biomass and BioEnergy.  49:123-130.
  3. Hao, X., K.D. Thelen, and J. Gao.  2012.  Prediction of the ethanol yield of dry-grind maize grain using near infrared spectroscopy.  Biosystems Engineering.  112:161-170.
  4. Thelen, K.D.,  J. Gao, J. Hoben, L. Qian, C. Saffron, and K.K. Withers.  2012.  A Spreadsheet-Based Model for Teaching the Agronomic, Economic, and Environmental Aspects of BioEnergy Cropping Systems.  Computers and Electronics in Agriculture.  85:157-163.
  5. Thelen, K. D. 2011.  Environmental issues associated with agricultural production systems.   Book chapter in: Environmental Safety of Genetically Engineered Crops.  Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI.  pp 15-21.
  6. Wagstaff, S., and K. D. Thelen.  2011.  Interseeded winter-annual rye in dry bean cropping systems. J. Crop Improv. 25:425-:434.
  7. Gao, J., L.Qian, K. D. Thelen, X. Hao, L.Da Costa Sousa, V. Balan, and B.E Dale.  2011. Corn Harvest Strategies for Combined Starch and Cellulosic Bioprocessing to Ethanol.  Agron J. 103: 844-850.
  8. Thelen, Kurt D., Fronning, Brad. 2011. "Improving Short-term Carbon Sequestration Rates and Net Global Warming Potential in Stover-Removed Cropping Systems." BIT Life Sciences, Inc., China Dalian: 2nd Quarter/Spring.
  9. Hao, X., Thelen, K., and Gao, J. 2010. Earlier-maturing hybrids improve corn grain profitability in the northern Corn Belt. Online. Crop Management   doi:10.1094/CM-2010-1203-01-RS.
  10. Andrew Corbin, K.D.  Thelen, R. Leep, and G.P. Robertson, 2010.  Influence of Cropping Systems on Soil Aggregate and Weed Seedbank Dynamics During the Organic Transition Period.  Agron J. 102:1632-1640
  11. Shao, Q., C. Shishir,  C. Krishnan, B. Bals,  L.Sousa, K. D. Thelen,  B. E.Dale,  and V. Balan.  2010.  Enzymatic digestibility and ethanol fermentaability of AFEX-treated starch-rich lingo-cellulosics such as corn silage and whole plant corn. Biotechnology for Biofuels 3:12 10. http://www.biotechnologyforbiofuels.com/content/3/1/12..
  12. Gao, J., K.D. Thelen, D.H. Min, S. Smith, X. Hao, and R. Gehl.  2010.  Effects of manure and fertilizer applications on canola oil content and fatty acid composition.  Agron J. 102:790-797.
  13. Hao, X., K.D. Thelen, and J. Gao.  2010.  Effects of soil and topographic properties on spatial variability of corn grain ethanol yield.  Agron J. 102:998-1006.
  14. D. Stowers, Mark, H. Tiller, Kelly, Philip Robertson, G., D. Thelen, Kurt, C. Ting, K., 2010. Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST).  2010.  Convergence of Agriculture and Energy: IV. Infrastructure Requirements for Biomass Harvest, Transportation, and Storage. CAST Commentary QTA2010-1. CAST, Ames, Iowa
  15. Thelen, K.D., B.E. Fronning, S.A. Kravchenko, D.H. Min, and G.P. Robertson.  2010.  Integrating Livestock Manure with Corn-Soybean Bioenergy Cropping Systems Improves Short-term Carbon Sequestration Rates and Net Global Warming Potential.  Biomass and BioEnergy.  34:960-966.
  16. Jesus, E.C., E. Susilawati, S. Smith, Q. Wang, B. Chai, R. Farris, J. Rodriguez, K.D. Thelen, and J.M. Tiedje.  2010.  Bacterial communities in the rhizosphere of biofuel crops grown on marginal lands as evaluated by 16S rRNA  gene pyrosequences.  BioEnergy Research.  3:20-27.  
  17. James, L.K., S.M. Swinton, and K.D. Thelen.  2010. Can Dedicated Cellulosic Feedstock Crops Out-earn Corn?  Agron. J.  102:675-687.


Courses taught: 

  • CSS/BSE/FOR 467  BioEnergy Feedstock Production


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