Project Profile: Nitrogen, Weed Management, and Climate Change

About Becky Redline Bailey


I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, majored in chemistry at Wheaton College (IL), and worked at the USDA’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (MD) prior to coming to Madison. I enjoy spending as much time outdoors as possible, particularly running, hiking, camping, and biking.Contact Information:
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Becky Redline Bailey’s resume [PDF]

Project Title: Effects of Nitrogen Management and Early-Season Weed Competition on N2O Emissions in Midwest Corn Production


Nitrogen fertilization and weed management are very critical elements to profitable corn production. However, agricultural soil management practices like fertilization produce 70% of the nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions in the United States. N2O is a potent greenhouse gas, and emissions generally increase with increasing rates of nitrogen (N) fertilizer and under anaerobic, high soil moisture conditions. Weeds competing with crops reduce soil available N and water before termination with POST-applied herbicides, but the residues from dead weeds remain on the soil surface after termination, which may later increase soil moisture and available N. Several studies have evaluated the impact weeds have on N and water use in corn systems, but none have related those factors to N2O emissions. The objective of my research is to determine the impact early-season weeds have on N2O emissions in corn production as influenced by N management.


  1. 1. To determine the effect POST controlled weeds have on N2O emissions as they remain to decay on the soil surface.
  2. 2. To determine the effect POST controlled weeds have on N2O emissions in corn and soybean systems.


Objective 1:

Greenhouse and field studies will evaluate N rate and weed density on N2O emissions. Gas samples and soil moisture data are collected from the time of weed seeding to four weeks past herbicide application. Several times per week, a lid is placed on a static chamber and four gas samples are removed from each treatment over the course of one hour. Gas chromatography is used to analyze the concentration of N2O in these samples. Gas fluxes for each treatment will be determined by regression of the four sample timings.

Objective 2:

Same sampling approach as above, but I’m investigating the effects of weed competition for N and soil moisture with corn, and how soybean plots with different row spacings and levels of weed management impact N2O emissions.


  • 2014 North Central Weed Science Society poster, “N2O Emissions from Soybean as Influenced by Herbicide Management Strategy and Row Width” [PDF]
  • 2014 North Central Weed Science Society paper, “Impact of PRE+POST vs. POST-only Weed Management Strategy on N2O Emissions” [PDF]
  • Award-winning 2013 North Central Weed Science Society poster, “Impact of Weed Management and Nitrogen Rate on Nitrous Oxide Emissions in Corn” [PDF]
  • Award-winning 2013 North Central Weed Science Society paper, “Nitrous Oxide Emissions as Influenced by Nitrogen and Weeds Before and After Postemergence Glyphosate Application” [PDF]
Updated July 1, 2015