Javed Iqbal Joins IANR Soil Science Team

Javed Iqbal Joins IANR Soil Science Team

Welcome to Javed Iqbal who recently joined the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture as an assistant professor for nutrient management and water quality. His appointment in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources will be 40% research and 60% Extension.

Javid Iqbal
Javed Iqbal

Over the last 14 years Iqbal has worked internationally to conduct research and education programs to increase nutrient use efficiencies while working with diverse crops, landscapes, cultures, and people. Most recently he was at the Iowa State University for eight years where he focused on helping growers increase crop nutrient utilization to increase crop yield and farm income while reducing nutrient losses into the environment. (See sustainablecorn.org and grower resources at Useful to Usable [U2U] for more information on the work of this multi-state team.)

This summer Iqbal and his wife, Nazia Hina, and their three children moved to Lincoln, where they are enjoying the welcoming nature and diversity of the community.

At UNL Iqbal will be conducting research and education on efficient uses of nutrients to enhance crop production, working with the diversity of crops and cropping systems found from eastern to western Nebraska.

His responsibilities at IANR will include:

  • providing statewide leadership on improving crop nutrient use efficiency, conducting research on practices and products that influence crop nutrient utilization;
  • improving nitrogen management recommendations for growers, especially in areas of Nebraska with groundwater nitrate issues;
  • collaborating with Natural Resource Districts, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other agencies/organizations to conduct educational programming to encourage adoption of management practices that increase nutrient use efficiency and  profitable use of fertilizers; and
  • providing leadership in research and extension efforts toward efficient utilization of nutrients derived from livestock manure, to optimize profitable use of manure in crop production while protecting environmental quality.

A native of Pakistan, Iqbal received a bachelor’s degree in soil science (2004) and a master’s degree in soil science with a focus on soil microbiology and biochemistry (2006) from the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Pakistan. He received his Ph.D. in soil science with a focus on soil ecology and environment from Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China in 2009.

Iqbal grew up in a semi-arid region of Punjab, a province in Pakistan, where cotton, wheat, and sugarcane account for more than 75% of the crop value and furrow irrigation is common. In Pakistan farmers generally under-applied fertilizer due to its high cost, a contrast to what he’s seen in the Midwest where fertilizer is regularly applied and sometimes over-applied. One of his priorities will be researching and conducting extension programs on managing fertilizer applications to get the most crop response for the investment.

“My focus will be on the 4 R’s of fertilizer management: applying the right product to meet the crop’s need at the right time, in the right amount, and at the right place,” Iqbal said.

He plans to work with farmers to increase nitrogen efficiency, improve the economics of its use, and reduce possible loss to the environment by applying nitrogen when the plant most needs it. Developing simple tools to help farmers better manage fertilizer use is one of his goals.

While working on his bachelor's and master's degrees, Iqbal researched wheat. When pursuing his Ph.D. studies in China (2006-2009), he worked with diverse cropping systems (corn, soybean, rice, green tea, vegetables, and citrus) and studied the effect of land-use change on soil nutrient dynamics.

Throughout his career, Iqbal has sought to research and study soil science issues in a variety of crops and agricultural systems. His post-doc work (2009-2011) at the University of Kentucky was with grasslands. His next position was at Iowa State University (2011-2019) where he led a USDA-NIFA funded climate change project on greenhouse gas measurements. The project, Climate Change, Mitigation and Adaptation in Corn-Based Cropping System, involved 11 institutions spanning eight states and more than 20 field sites (http://sustainablecorn.org/). He helped develop nutrient management practices to increase crop nutrient utilization and crop yield while reducing nutrient losses into the environment.

Iqbal said he is looking forward to working with growers, students, consultants, scientists and organizations to pursue research and recommendations to aid crop nutrient use and Nebraska crop production. He invited those interested in collaborating on research and extension projects to contact him at 402-472-1432 or javed.iqbal@unl.edu.