Richard Ferguson - Extension Soil Fertility Specialist

Richard Ferguson

Richard Ferguson became vice chancellor for the university's Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA) Jan. 1, 2019. His email is rferguson1@unl.edu.

Faculty Bio

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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Chart of N research treatments

Feasibility of Sensor-Based Nitrogen Fertigation Management in Corn

January 8, 2018
An article from the Proceedings of the 2018 Nebraska Extension Crop Production Clinics on university research testing sensor-based N fertigation treatments.

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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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Wheat

Fertilizer Management for Winter Wheat

August 29, 2017
With winter wheat planting drawing near, it's time to collect soil samples and determine fertilizer needs. Use the nitrogen and phosphorus information to guide your strategy.

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Chart of potential for nitrate-N leaching in spring 2017

Risk of Nitrate Leaching Across Nebraska as of May 21, 2017

May 25, 2017
Following heavy spring rains UNL soil scientists model potential loss of nitrate-N to soil leaching, finding an average 14% loss from mid-April levels, with three sites with much higher losses.

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Phosphorus yield effect

You Can Postpone Phosphorus, Potassium, and Zinc Fertilizer Applications When….

February 28, 2017
Soil testing and applying only the soil nutrients needed to produce your yield goal can provide a significant savings in fertilizer costs. Nebraska research shows growers can save as much as $52.12/acre for postponing phosphorus, potassium and zinc applications.

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