Matt Ruark


Matt Ruark – Associate Professor

Soil fertility and nutrient management.

UW-Madison, Department of Soil Science
1525 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1299, USA
Office: 158 Soil Science

Phone: 608.263.2889
Fax: 608.265.2595

Extension Web site:
Ruark Lab Web site:

Program Affiliations

  • Department of Soil Science
  • Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies
  • Agroecology


  • B.S. Environmental Science, 1999, University of Minnesota
  • M.S. Soil Science, 2002, University of Minnesota
  • Ph.D. Agronomy, 2006, Purdue University
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, 2006-2008, University of California-Davis

Teaching and Research Overview

The overall goals of my research and extension programs are to: (1) improve nutrient use efficiency in grain, vegetable, organic and biofuel production systems, and (2) reduce edge-of-field losses of contaminants from agricultural production systems.

Current research projects:

Grain crops

  • Slow-release nitrogen fertilizer use in no-till continuous corn systems
  • Nitrogen use efficiency in long-term, conventional tillage, continuous corn production systems


  • Slow-release nitrogen, urease inhibitor, and nitrification inhibitor fertilizer use in potato production systems
  • Nitrogen leaching losses in potato production systems on sandy soils
  • Nitrogen use efficiency of improved sweet corn hybrids
  • Interaction between sweet corn hybrid, planting density, and nitrogen fertilizer application rate


  • Cover crop species and timing of plow-under in a diverse organic crop rotation
  • Performance of leguminous cover crops with and without oat companion crop


  • Nitrogen use efficiency in continuous corn rotation systems with annual removal of stover
  • Nitrogen management of switchgrass in Wisconsin

Water Quality

  • Nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon losses from tile drained cropping systems in Wisconsin

Selected Publications

Cates, A.M., M.D. Ruark, J.L. Hedtcke, and J.L. Posner. 2016. Long-term tillage, rotation and perennialization effects on particulate and aggregate soil organic matter. Soil and Tillage Research, 155:371-380. (

Bero, N.J., M.D. Ruark, and B. Lowery. 2016. Bromide and chloride tracer application to determine sufficiency of plot size and well depth placement to capture preferential flow and solute leaching. Geoderma 262:94-100. (

Wang, Y., M.D. Ruark, A.J. Gevens, D.T. Caine, A.L. Raster, N.J. Goeser, and A.J. Bussan. 2015. Processing snap bean variety responses to applied nitrogen and irrigation in the North Central United States. Agronomy Journal 107:1401-1410.

Minks, K.R., M.D. Ruark, B. Lowery, F.W. Madison, D. Frame, T.D. Stuntebeck, M.J. Komiskey, and G.J. Kraft. 2015. At-grade stabilization structure impact on surface water quality of an agricultural watershed. Journal of Environmental Management 153:50-59.

Madison, A.M., M.D. Ruark, T.D. Stuntebeck, M.J. Komiskey, L.W. Good, N. Drummy, and E.T. Cooley. 2014. Characterizing phosphorus dynamics in the tile-drained agricultural fields of eastern Wisconsin. Journal of Hydrology 519:892-901.