Stephen Young
Weed Ecologist
Assistant Professor

Weed Ecologist Stephen Young

Office Location:
Office Address:


West Central Research and Extension Center
402 West State Farm Road
North Platte, NE 69101
(308) 696-6712
(308) 696-6780

Extension Program Areas:

  • Updating and developing management and control practices for invasive species in surface waterways and weeds in cropping systems with limited water
  • Contributions to extension team efforts in Integrated Crop Management and Natural Resources and Environmental Management
  • Application of multimedia tools and distance education

Focus Areas of Interest:

  • Ecology of invasive plant species and mechanisms of invasiveness
  • Practices for managing weed species that negatively impact surface water flow
  • Ecosystem services associated with agricultural and managed systems
  • Integrated pest management techniques, including automation, GIS and geo-spatial technologies

Selected Publications:

  • Young, SL, GB Kyser, JN Barney, VP Claassen and JM DiTomaso. 2010. Spatio-temporal relationship between water depletion and root distribution patterns of Centaurea solstitialis and two native perennials. Restoration Ecology (In press).
  • Young, SL, JN Barney, GB Kyser, TS Jones and JM DiTomaso. 2009. Functionally similar species confer greater resistance to invasion: implications for grassland restoration. Restoration Ecology. 17(6):884-892.
  • Young, SL, FJ Pierce, JD Streubel and HP Collins. 2009. Performance of solid-state sensors for continuous, real-time measurement of soil CO 2 concentrations. Agronomy Journal. 101(6):1417-1420.
  • Young, SL. 2009. Automated weed control in organic cropping systems. Weed Science 57:449-450.
  • Young, SL and VP Claassen. 2008. Native perennial grasses in highway medians: pre- and post-plant techniques for establishment in a Mediterranean climate. Invasive Plant Science and Management 1(4):368-375.
  • Young, SL and VP Claassen. 2008. Release of roadside native perennial grasses following removal of yellow starthistle. Ecological Restoration 26(4):357-364.
  • Young, SL 2004. Natural product herbicides for control of annual vegetation along roadsides. Weed Technology 18(3):580-587.

Grant Projects and Activities:

  • Chairman 2009 – 2010 “Advancements in Automation and Machine Guided Technologies for Precision Weed Control.” Weed Science Society of America Symposium.
  • Facilitator 2008 – 2010 “Soil Ecosystem Changes in C and N Budgets Induced by a Shift to Biofuels.” USDA-National Research Initiative (NRI) Grant. Washington State University.
  • Leader 2000 – 2007 “Evaluating Alternative Methods for Vegetation Control and Maintenance Along Roadsides: Study I and II.” California Department of Transportation Research Grant. University of California, Davis.

Professional Memberships:

  • Western Society of Weed Science (WSWS)
  • Weed Science Society of America (WSSA)
  • American Society of Agronomy-Crop Science Society of America-Soil Science Society of America (ASA-CSSA-SSSA)
  • American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE)
  • Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS)


  • PhD 2007 Soil Science. University of California, Davis.
  • MS 2000 Plant Science. University of Idaho, Moscow.
  • BS 1996 Horticulture. Washington State University, Pullman, WA.

Professional Experience:

  • Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska, West Central Research & Extension Center, North Platte, NE. 2010 - present.
  • Post-doctoral Research, Washington State University, Center for Precision Agricultural Systems, Prosser, WA. 2008 – 2010. Studied the effects of biofuel crop production on below-ground soil processes, including carbon and nitrogen cycles. Assisted in the design of an automated sensor network for monitoring soil CO 2, O 2, temperature and moisture.
  • Doctoral Research, University of California, Davis, CA. 2002 – 2008. Determined restored native plant communities that include the native perennial grass, Elymus glaucus resist C. solstitialis establishment. Identified light and soil water as mechanisms that allow C. solstitialis to establish in native plant communities. Quantified plant rooting patterns in situ for three herbaceous plant species.
  • Staff Research Associate, University of California, Hopland Research & Extension Center, Hopland, CA. 2000-2002. Conducted pioneering research on natural based products and other alternatives for controlling roadside vegetation.
  • Weed Specialist, United States Forest Service, Potlatch, ID. 2000. Identified, mapped and treated spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe L.) and other exotics to prevent their spread and establishment on public and private forest lands.
  • Masters Research, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. 1997 - 2000. Showed early season weed control and complete crop stand are most effective in reducing escaped and late emerging weeds in sugar beet.
  • Research Technician, Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., Yakima, WA. 1996-1997. Assisted in conducting field experiments on wheat and specialty crops (e.g., raspberries, potatoes, apples and pears) and reviewing GLP (Good Laboratory Practice) notebooks.


West Central Research and Extension Center
Agronomy and Horticulture