Albert Oliver Ridley (1932-2016)
Al Ridley, retired professor in the Dept. of Soil Science, passed away on Sunday, August 14, 2016. Al’s academic and professional life was largely invested in the University of Manitoba. He completed his B.Sc. in Agriculture at the U of M in 1954 and his M.Sc. in Soil Science at the U of M in 1958. From 1954 until 1958, while working on his M.Sc., Al also worked as a field technician for the Dept. of Soil Science. Then, from 1958 until his retirement in 1995, he worked as a lecturer and then professor in the department.
Professor Ridley’s main focus was teaching and applied research in soil fertility and fertilizer management, along with soil management and conservation. During his lengthy career with the U of M, Al taught hundreds of Aggies, mainly Ag Diploma students, but he also supervised graduate students from Manitoba and around the world. Al also conducted practical field research on the efficiency of different times, forms and methods of fertilizer application; the effects of tillage, green manures, livestock manures, crop rotations and commercial fertilizers on soil fertility and quality; as well as the development of soil productivity rating systems for Manitoba Crop Insurance. In particular, his work on time of application of nitrogen fertilizer for cereal production has been of great importance to Manitoba agriculture.
International agriculture was another dimension of Al’s career. He worked on several agronomy projects at the Queensland Wheat Research Institute in Toowoomba, Australia (1988) and for the Canadian International Development Agency at Kenya’s National Plant Breeding Station in Njoro (1974-1975 and 1980-1982).
Wherever Al worked, his most important contribution was to help farmers manage their nutrients and soil in an efficient and sustainable way. This legacy of his teaching, research and extension accomplishments benefitted many farmers and their farms during his lifetime and will continue to do so for many years to come.