Richard Ferguson - Extension Soil Fertility Specialist

Richard Ferguson

Faculty Bio

Graph showing hypothetical illustration of variability of N loss.

Overall Efficiency of Fertilizer Nitrogen Use for Corn Production in Nebraska April 3, 2019

How well are we managing N fertilizer in corn and where can we improve to increase economic and environmental benefits.This article looks at sources of N fertilizer losses, input efficiencies and other factors.

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Routes of nitrogen loss in the soil

Nitrogen Inhibitors for Improved Fertilizer Use Efficiency January 14, 2019

This article looks at how some nitrogen inhibitors temporarily reduce populations of Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter bacteria, the soil bacteria responsible for converting ammonium to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate as well as what to look for in product claims.

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Chart of nitro use efficiency and partial profits

Profit and Nitrogen Use Efficiency Gain Using Sensor-Guided Fertigation January 9, 2019

A UNL study of sensor-based and model-informed fertigation treatments confirms that sensor fertigation treatments are consistently the most profitable and efficient methods of applying N compared to current best management practices (BMPs).

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Richard Ferguson

Richard Ferguson to Lead Rwanda Institute December 6, 2018

Richard Ferguson has been named vice chancellor for the Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA), effective Jan. 1, 2019. Ferguson, professor and interim head of the Agronomy and Horticulture Department, has led research and extension projects related to nitrogen management and soils since joining the university in 1985.

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Spring N application in the field
Growers planning for their 2019 N management in corn might consider the potential for increased N efficiency and reduced loss from split applications at planting and up to R3 growth stage rather than a fall application.

Consequences of Fall-Applied N November 9, 2018

A fall nitrogen application has a relatively high loss potential and is considered the riskiest N management practice. Consider breaking tradition and splitting your N applications next year to coincide with when your corn most needs more N.

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Figure 1. A view of all four treatments of a corn residue and cover crop experiment at the South Central Agricultural Laboratory near Clay Center. Top left is cereal rye with 60% corn residue removal; top right is cereal with corn residue. Bottom left is no cereal rye with 60% corn residue removal; bottom right is corn residue and no cover crop (control).
Figure 1. A view of all four treatments from a corn residue and cover crop experiment at the South Central Agricultural Laboratory near Clay Center. Top left is cereal rye with 60% corn residue removal; top right is cereal with corn residue. Bottom left is no cereal rye with 60% corn residue removal; bottom right is corn residue and no cover crop (control).

Cover Crop and Crop Residue Management: How Does it Affect Soil Water in the Short and Long Term? August 13, 2018

How you manage your soil today impacts its productivity tomorrow. This article focuses on how plant residue management and cover crop use affect water infiltration and plant available water.

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Chart of residue required for different slopes

Crop Residue and High-Carbon Char: Potential Soil Conservation Tools May 8, 2018

Soil is the single most important resource on which our agriculture depends. Proper soil management is necessary to sustain long-term agricultural productivity. Soil loss through erosion or run-off hurts agricultural production with depletion of organic matter and fertility. It also has environmental implications.

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Corn leaves showing signs of nitrogen deficiency
Figure 1. Corn at V10 growth stage displaying symptoms of N deficiency (inverted V-shaped yellowing starting at the tip of lower leaves). Corn can display these symptoms when N supply is insufficient, possibly due to multiple reasons, including losses.

Nitrogen Fertilizer Stabilizers in Corn April 19, 2018

Understanding how the three types of nitrogen stabilizers work can be helpful in deciding whether to add one to your spring application. Short- and long-term studies in Nebraska offer insight into how they performed across multiple years. Now, if you only knew how many inches of rain you'd get the first six weeks after application.

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