Soil Science Research

char plot

Soil science research in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture focuses on the management of agroecosystems and their impact on soil ecosystem services such as crop productivity, environmental stewardship and climate resilience. This is accomplished through state-of-the-art techniques and experiments in research areas that range from soil management to soil-water-plant interactions, from soil health and crop yield to food security, and from water quality, and greenhouse gas emissions to soil carbon sequestration.

Soil management practices that are targeted in different research projects include fertilization strategies (Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time, Right Placement), tillage intensity, application of manure, biochar and char as well as grazing intensity, irrigation and plant residue management. Research on crop management strategies includes crop nutrient uptake, cover crop residue decomposition and nutrient release, crop rotations, crop ecophysiology and site-specific cropping systems. Furthermore, site-specific management strategies considering nutrient input and losses as well as agricultural application of digital and precision technologies and modeling are critical parts of ongoing research efforts.

Field experiments - both short and long-term - and on-farm research, greenhouse and laboratory experiments are used to gain an understanding of soil processes from the molecular/micro scale to the field scale and beyond. Research data are published in peer reviewed scientific journals, shared at scientific meetings, and distributed to the agricultural community, stakeholders, and policymakers. Dissemination efforts are aimed at providing recent scientific findings to producers, natural resources managers, and community leaders in agricultural regions to foster the implementation of sustainable soil management strategies that improve crop yield, soil health, resource efficiency, water quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Faculty members approach the teaching and learning mission creatively and are engaged in research on teaching and learning methods and learning tools across the undergraduate and graduate curriculum expanding in-person, hybrid, and online deliveries.

Cropwatch – Soil Management to Optimize Crop Production in Nebraska

UNL Water – Soil and Water Management

Andrea Basche

Andrea Basche

Assistant Professor
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Humberto Blanco

Humberto Blanco

Professor
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Rhae Drijber

Rhae Drijber

Professor
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RICHARD B. FERGUSON

Richard Ferguson

Professor and Vice Chancellor of Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture
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JAVED IQBAL

Javed Iqbal

Assistant Professor
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Michael Kaiser

Michael Kaiser

Assistant Professor
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Katja Koehler-Cole

Katja Koehler-Cole

Research Assistant Professor
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Bijesh Maharjan

Bijesh Maharjan

Assistant Professor
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Martha Mamo

Martha Mamo

Department Head
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LAILA PUNTEL

Laila Puntel

Assistant Professor
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Sabrina Ruis

Sabrina Ruis

Research Assistant Professor
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Meghan Sindelar

Meghan Sindelar

Assistant Professor of Practice
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REBECCA YOUNG

Rebecca Young

Assistant Professor of Practice
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Related Programs

Some faculty within the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture also advise and mentor graduate students admitted through the following programs.