Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse gas with implication for climate change. Agriculture accounts for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, but 75% of the country's N2O emissions. In the absence of PRE herbicides, weeds compete with soybean for available soil moisture and inorganic N, and may reduce N2O emissions relative to a weed-free environment. However, after weeds are killed with a POST herbicide, the dead weed residues may stimulate N2O emissions by increasing soil moisture and supplying carbon and nitrogen to microbial denitrifiers. Wider soybean rows often have more weed biomass, and as a result, row width may further impact how weeds influence N2O emissions. To determine this relationship, field studies were conducted in 2013 and 2014 in Arlington, WI. A two-by-two factorial treatment structure of weed management (PRE POST vs. POST-only) and row width (38 or 76 cm) was arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replications. N2O fluxes were measured from static gas sampling chambers at least weekly starting 2 wk after planting until mid-September, and were compared for the periods before and after weed termination using a repeated measures analysis. N2O fluxes were not influenced by the weed by width interaction or width before termination, after termination, or for the full duration of the study at P ≤ 0.05. Interestingly, we observed that POST-only treatments had lower fluxes on the sampling day immediately prior to POST application (P = 0.0002), but this was the only incidence where weed influenced N2O fluxes, and overall, average fluxes from PRE POST and POST-only treatments were not different for any period of the study. Soybean yield was not influenced by width (P = 0.6018) or weed by width (P = 0.5825), but yield was 650 kg ha−1 higher in the PRE POST than POST-only treatments (P = 0.0007). These results indicate that herbicide management strategy does not influence N2O emissions from soybean, and the use of a PRE herbicide prevents soybean yield loss.
Nomenclature: Soybean; Glycine max (L.) Merr.