Nitrogen Mineralization from Weed Residues

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2010: $9,543.50
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Grant Recipient: Michigan State University
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Kurt Steinke
Michigan State University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn


  • Crop Production: nutrient cycling
  • Pest Management: weed ecology
  • Production Systems: general crop production
  • Soil Management: nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health

    Proposal abstract:

    Sustainable agriculture relies on nutrient cycling within the agro-ecosystem to maximize yield and economic return. Early-season weeds contain between 1-5% nitrogen, which is a function of species, nitrogen supply, and size. However, it is unknown how much nitrogen is returned from weed residues subsequent to weed control. Therefore, we propose to measure nitrogen mineralized from weeds that plague the North Central region, including common lambsquarters, giant foxtail, and common ragweed. Weeds will be collected from a corn study established at the Michigan State Crop and Soil Sciences Research Farm in East Lansing, MI. Weeds will be grown under four nitrogen application rates and harvested when they reach 10 and 15 cm in height. Total nitrogen and carbon content of each weed species and mineralization over a 12-week period will be measured. The correlation between total nitrogen and carbon content of weed species will be evaluated. Estimating available nitrogen from mineralization of weed residues will allow us to adjust nitrogen recommendations for farmers, with the potential of reducing nitrogen inputs and decreasing environmental impact while maintaining profitability. Results from the study will be disseminated through Michigan State Extension programs and professional conferences.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Our objective is to determine the influence of nitrogen application rate and weed size on nitrogen content and subsequent mineralization of nitrogen from weed residues.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.