Ray Weil

Ray Weil
Adjunct Senior Research Scientist

RayWeil_Hat_smallRay Weil Professor of Soil Science at the University of Maryland where he teaches five undergraduate and graduate courses. He has taught over 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students in his university courses, addressed over 5,000 farmers at meetings and field days, and helped train hundreds of researchers and managers in numerous companies and organizations, including the World Bank. He has been the major advisor for 40 MS and PhD students in the US and has co-advised numerous others at African universities. He is a Fellow of both the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy and has twice been awarded Fulbright Fellowships to support his work in Africa. He is probably best known for his ecological approach to soil science as coauthor of the 11th – 14th editions of the most widely adopted and cited textbook in the field, The Nature and Properties of Soils, by Brady and Weil.

He is a leader in researching and promoting the adoption of more sustainable agricultural systems in both industrial and developing countries. His research focuses on soil organic matter management for enhanced soil ecosystem functions and nutrient cycling for water quality and agricultural sustainability. Weil’s research program combines three interrelated areas: 1) Organic matter management for soil quality; 2) Sustainable cropping systems; and 3) Soil management for improved nutrient cycling and water quality. His research probes fundamental relationships between soil organic matter management and soil ecological functions. His soil quality program has achieved international recognition for its innovative efforts to develop a soil quality index and methods for the rapid, routine assessment of soil quality indicators. The analytical methods for soil microbial biomass and labile soil C that he developed have been adopted by the USDA/NRCS and are used in ecosystem studies worldwide. His contributions to improved cropping systems, including innovative cover crops, are now increasing on-farm biodiversity and improving soil function on farms large and small. He is an expert at diagnosing soil-related problems in the field. He has worked with the Ag Center to develop the SoilDoc, an package of innovative methods for on-the-spot soil analysis to assist in field diagnosis.