Robert Gilbert


Dr.Gilbert has served as Agronomy Department Chair since January, 2014. The Agronomy Department has 29 faculty in Gainesville and at 5 Research and Education Centers in Florida. Our research foci include breeding and genetics, forage management, weed science and invasive plants, and crop physiology and management. Our teaching programs include the undergraduate plant science major and graduate programs in agronomy, including an online specialization in agroecology.

Priot to becoming Agronomy Chair, Dr.Gilbert served as Center Director of the UF_IFAS Everglades Research and Education Center from 2010-2013. He was the sugarcane agronomist at EREC from 2000-2010 and taught for a year at EARTH University in Costa Rica while on sabbatical leave. He has also spent 7 years performing cropping systems research and extension in Africa in Sierra Leone, Mali and Malawi.

Contact Information

Main Office

3105A McCarty Hall B
P.O. Box 110500
Gainesville, FL 32611
Phone: (352) 392-1811
Fax: (352) 392-1840



Department Chair - Professor

Sugarcane Agronomy & Biofuels - University of Florida
Agronomy Department

Active Projects

Sugarcane cultivar development. I am responsible for Stage III of the “CP” breeding program that produces the Canal Point sugarcane clones. The CP program is a tripartite agreement between USDA-ARS, the Florida Sugar Cane League and the University of Florida. CP clones are grown on > 90% of the Florida sugarcane acreage and are also economically important in many countries including Argentina (25% of total sugarcane acreage), Belize (16%), El Salvador (50%), Guatemala (65%), Honduras (47%), Mexico (15%), Morocco (54%), Nicaragua (75%), Senegal (9%) and Venezuela (9%).

Energy cane cultivar development. A new project in conjunction with USDA-ARS involves selecting and evaluating energy canes germplasm for cellulosic ethanol production or direct combustion. Energy canes differ from sugarcane in that they have a high percentage of Saccharum spontaneum genes, fiber content and high plant population. We are evaluating these clones for biomass production, fiber characteristics and disease resistance at sites in South and Central Florida as well as in Costa Rica (in a collaboration with EARTH University). Our research program also includes agronomic comparisons of energy cane feedstocks to other grass species such as elephantgrass, Miscanthus and Arundo donax.

Green cane harvesting. I am evaluating different harvest methods for sugarcane. Traditionally sugarcane has been burnt prior to harvest to remove the adhering dead leaves (termed cane trash) and increase efficiency of harvest. However there is increasing pressure worldwide to harvest sugarcane without burning (termed green cane harvest). This research project is examining burnt vs. green sugarcane harvest effects on sugarcane growth, yield and microclimate in Florida and Costa Rica.

Transgenic sugarcane. I am evaluating agronomic performance for sugarcane genotypes transformed for resistance to sugarcane mosaic virus and yellow leaf syndrome in collaboration with USDA-ARS. Agronomic evaluation is necessary due to somaclonal variation in the transformed clones.

Selected Publications

Odero, D. C. and R. A. Gilbert. 2012. Dose-response of newly-established elephantgrass (Pennisetum purpureum) to postemergence herbicides. Weed Technology. Under review.

Odero, D. C. and R. A. Gilbert. 2012. Response of Giant Reed (Arundo donax) to Asulam and Trifloxysulfuron. Weed Technology 26:71-76.

Gilbert, R.A., G. Kingston, K. Morgan, R.W. Rice, L. Baucum, J.M. Shine, and J.F. Subiros. 2010. Effect of harvest method on microclimate and sugarcane yield in Florida and Costa Rica. Proc. Int. Soc. Sugar Cane Technol. 27:1-10.

Morgan, K.T., R.A. Gilbert, Z.R. Helsel, L. Baucum, R. Leon, and J. Perret. 2010. White Paper Report from Working Groups Attending the International Conference on Research and Educational Opportunities in Bio-Fuel Crop Production. Biomass and Bioenergy. 34:1968-1972.

Snapp, S.S., M.J. Blackie, R.A. Gilbert, R. Bezner-Kerr and G.Y. Kanyama-Phiri. 2010. Biodiversity can support a greener revolution in Africa. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107:20840-20845.

Gilbert, R.A., N.C. Glynn, J.C. Comstock, and M.J. Davis. 2009. Agronomic performance and genetic characterization of sugarcane transformed for resistance to sugarcane yellow leaf virus. Field Crops Res. 111:39-46.

Gilbert, R.A., J.C. Comstock, B. Glaz, S.J. Edme, R. W. Davidson, N. C. Glynn, J.D. Miller, and P.Y.P. Tai. 2008. Registration of CP 00-1101 sugarcane. J. Plant Reg. 2:95-101.

Reicosky, D.C., R.W. Gesch, S.W. Wagner, R.A. Gilbert, C.D. Wente, and D.R. Morris. 2008. Tillage and wind effects on soil CO2 concentration in muck soils. Soil Till. Res. 99:221-231.

Gilbert, R.A., D.R. Morris, C.R. Rainbolt, J.M. McCray, R.E. Perdomo, B. Eiland, G. Powell and G. Montes. 2008. Sugarcane response to mill mud, fertilizer, and soybean nutrient sources on a sandy soil. Agron. J. 100:845-854.

Gilbert, R.A., C.R. Rainbolt, D.R. Morris, and J.M. McCray. 2008. Sugarcane growth and yield responses to a three-month summer flood. Agric. Water Manage. 95:283-291.

Gilbert, R.A., C.R. Rainbolt, D.R. Morris, and A.C. Bennett. 2007. Morphological responses of sugarcane to long-term flooding. Agron. J. 99: 1622-1628.

Gilbert, R.A., J.D. Miller, J.C. Comstock, B. Glaz and S.J. Edme. 2007. Performance of exogenous germplasm on mineral soils of Florida, USA. Proc. Int. Soc. Sugar Cane Technol. 26:388-393.

Morris, D.R., R.A. Gilbert, C.R. Rainbolt, R.E. Perdomo, G. Powell, B. Eiland and G. Montes. 2007. Sugarcane yields and soil chemical properties due to mill mud applications to a sandy soil. Proc. Int. Soc. Sugar Cane Technol. 26:444-448.

Henshaw, T.L., R.A. Gilbert, J.M.S. Scholberg and T.R. Sinclair. 2007. Soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) genotype response to early-season flooding: I. Root and nodule development. J. Agron. Crop Sci. 193:177-188.

Henshaw, T.L., R.A. Gilbert, J.M.S. Scholberg and T.R. Sinclair. 2007. Soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) genotype response to early-season flooding: II. Aboveground growth and biomass. J. Agron. Crop Sci. 193:189-197.

Gesch, R.W., D.C. Reicosky, R.A. Gilbert and D.R. Morris. 2007. Influence of tillage and plant residue management on respiration of a Florida Everglades Histosol. Soil Till. Res. 92:156-166.

Glaz, B. and R.A. Gilbert. 2006. Sugarcane response to water table, periodic flood, and foliar nitrogen on organic soil. Agron. J. 98:616-621.

Gilbert, R.A., J.M. Shine, Jr., J.D. Miller, R.W. Rice and C.R. Rainbolt. 2006. The effect of genotype, environment and time of harvest on sugarcane yields in Florida, USA. Field Crops Res. 95:156-170.

Morris, D.R. and R.A. Gilbert. 2005. Inventory, crop use, and soil subsidence of Histosols in Florida. Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment 3:190-193.

Gilbert, R.A., M. Gallo-Meagher, J.C. Comstock, J.D. Miller, M. Jain and A. Abouzid. 2005. Agronomic evaluation of sugarcane lines transformed for resistance to sugarcane mosaic virus strain E. Crop Sci. 45:2060-2067.

Sinclair, T.R., R.A. Gilbert, J.M. Shine, Jr., and R.E. Perdomo. 2005. Early-season predictions of sugarcane yield in Florida, USA. Proc. Int. Soc. Sugar Cane Technol. 25:192-197.

Gilbert, R.A., P.Y.P. Tai, B. Glaz, S. Edme, J.D. Miller, J. Davidson, J. Dunckelman and J.C. Comstock. 2005. Registration of CP 96-1602 sugarcane. Crop Sci. 45:786-787.

Sinclair, T.R., R.A. Gilbert, R.E. Perdomo, J.M. Shine, Jr., G. Powell and G. Montes. 2005. Volume of individual internodes of sugarcane stalks. Field Crop Res. 91:207-215.

Gilbert, R.A., J.M. Shine, Jr., J.D. Miller and R.W. Rice. 2004. The effect of year, cultivar and time of harvest on sugarcane yields in Florida. J. Amer. Soc. Sugar Cane Technol. 24:165-184.

Gilbert, R.A., J. M. Shine, Jr., J.D. Miller and R.W. Rice. 2004. Sucrose accumulation and harvest schedule recommendations for CP sugarcane cultivars. Crop Management. [online] doi:10.1094/CM-2004-0402-01-RS.

Sinclair, T.R., R.A. Gilbert, R.E. Perdomo and J.M. Shine, Jr. 2004. Sugarcane leaf area development under field conditions in Florida, USA. Field Crops Res. 88:171-178.

Morris, D.R., R.A. Gilbert, D.C. Reicosky and R.W. Gesch. 2004. Oxidation potentials of soil organic matter in Histosols under different tillage methods. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 68:817-826.