Wade. Thomason



Ph.D., Soil Science, Oklahoma State University, 2001                          

M.S., Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State University, 1998

B.S., Animal Science, Oklahoma State University, 1996


2015 - Present- Professor/Extension Grains Specialist, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech
2010 - 2015 - Associate Professor/Extension Grains Specialist, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech
2004 - 2010 - Assistant Professor/Extension Grains Specialist, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech
2001 - 2003 - Soil Fertility and Crops Specialist, Samuel R. Noble Foundation, Ardmore, Okla.


Link to curriculum vita

Program Focus   

My research focuses on practical, economical, and environmentally sound rotational and reduced tillage production techniques for grain production.  We also emphasize precision agriculture technologies, especially non-destructive remote sensing techniques, in an effort to improve production efficiency and reduce environmental impacts of agriculture.  Finally, I work with Virginia Cooperative Extension Agents, producers, and agribusiness persons to concentrate not only on being efficient, low cost producers, but also on being effective producers.  Effectiveness involves taking advantage of opportunities to produce products that fit a specific niche and sustain prices above those offered for commodities.  Paramount to taking advantage of these opportunities is understanding the possibilities, knowing how to participate, and having the tools to do so.

Role of Graduate Students  

Interaction with graduate students is crucial for faculty as well as students and is especially important for faculty with majority extension appointments.  In my group, students are responsible for their own projects but also work collaboratively with other students much of the time.  We all learn and succeed together.  I actively participate in graduate education by serving as major adviser for graduate students and as a committee member for students in the Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, PPWS, and Horticulture departments.

Future Research   

In the future, the problem of tailoring crops and cropping systems to changing environments will become more important, not less, as the ability to genetically manipulate plants advances.  Opportunities will exist to greatly improve crop productivity with better understanding of the interaction of crops and climate.  At the crop and cropping system level, this evaluation and placement will move from the current approach of understanding genotype by environment interactions to understanding gene by environment interactions. 


Extension Program

The basis of my outreach/extension education program is integration of corn, wheat, barley, and other grain crops into profitable cropping systems for the eastern U.S.  Practical, economical, and environmentally sound production techniques are the major areas of emphasis.  I manage the official Virginia corn hybrid and small grain yield testing programs and am also an active participant in extension agent-led, on-farm experiments and demonstrations that provide science-based information for Virginia producers.  Given the diversity in climate and the economic importance of cultivar selection on overall farm profitability, there is an ongoing need for current information on cultivar performance in our environment. 

Extension Philosophy

Extension is a face-to-face business.  However, with today’s technology we don’t always have to be in the same room to make this happen.  Either way, we must know our clientele and coworkers well enough to understand their problems and issues as well as have a collaborative working relationship.  I use a combination of applied research and field demonstrations, along with electronic and traditional communication tools to reach clientele.

Dr. Wade Thomason
  • (540) 231-2988
  • wthomaso@vt.edu
  • 185 Ag Quad Lane
    422 Smyth Hall
    Blacksburg, Virginia