He studied at Portsmouth Grammar School before earning a Ph.D. degree at Christ Church, Oxford in 1954 with thesis titled The interaction of montmoril-lonite with some organic compounds. He was lecturer at the University of Ghana. He was director of research at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. He was deputy director general of the International Rice Research Institute. He taught at the University of Reading from 1988.
- P H Greenland, D J Nye, The Soil Under Shifting Cultivation 1960
- Cherish the Earth FAO, 1994
- The Sustainability of Rice Farming CABI, January 4, 1997, ISBN 978-0-85199-163-4