Get to the Root of Optimum Yield Potential.  Nitrogen losses due to leaching and denitrification can have a significant impact on the health and yield potential of corn. As the single largest input investment for producers, it’s important to protect nitrogen (N) throughout the growing season, when and where corn needs it most - at the root zone. Explore by clicking on the section tabs below or simply scroll down to see the story unfold… Protecting Nitrogen Starts Here.

Get to the Root of Optimum Yield Potential

Nitrogen losses due to leaching and denitrification can have a significant impact on the health and yield potential of corn. As the single largest input investment for producers, it’s important to protect nitrogen (N) throughout the growing season, when and where corn needs it most - at the root zone. Explore by clicking on the section tabs below or simply scroll down to see the story unfold… Protecting Nitrogen Starts Here.

Fundamentals of Nitrogen Loss
Common Forms of Nitrogen
Stabilized Nitrogen
Environmental Stewardship
Instinct® Info
N-Serve® Info
Fundamentals of Nitrogen Loss
Common Forms of Nitrogen
Stabilized Nitrogen
Environmental Stewardship

Fundamentals of Nitrogen Loss

What happens to applied nitrogen? (Part 1 of 3)

After application, nitrogen sources in the ammonium form (NH4+) rapidly convert to the nitrate form (NO3-) via a process called nitrification.

Temperature-sensitive Nitrosomonas soil bacteria convert NH4+ to the nitrite form NO2-. Another bacteria, Nitrobacter, then converts nitrite NO2- to the nitrate form NO3-.

These soil microbes become more active when soil temperatures reach 50 F and higher. The entire nitrification process can take as little as two to four weeks during warmer conditions.

In the ammonium form, nitrogen carries a positive charge and binds to negatively charged soil particles. However, unstabilized nitrogen is converted to the negatively - charged nitrate form and losses can occur as a result of leaching and denitrification.

Conversion Process of Nitrogen

Conversion Process of Nitrogen Nitrogen Loss Video

What happens to applied nitrogen? (Part 2 of 3)

Leaching is the loss of nitrates from the soil below the root zone due to rain and irrigation. Nitrates can be washed from the root zone because the soil and nitrate both have a negative charge. (Think of two magnets with the negative poles repelling each other.) N loss from leaching is primarily a concern in coarse, sandy soils.

Denitrification refers to the loss of N when soil microbes convert nitrates to gaseous N. This gaseous N escapes into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. Denitrification affects only nitrates; it has no impact on the ammonium form of N.

Watch a simple demonstration of this process in the video to the right.

What happens to applied nitrogen? (Part 3 of 3)

How quickly can your N be lost?
Most yield reductions come from one or two nitrogen - loss events pertaining to:

Denitrification

  • 10 percent lost in three days of saturated soils
  • 10 percent lost each additional day that soils stay saturated (i.e., 20+ percent lost in four days of wet soils)

Leaching

  • Heavy soils: lose NO3 nitrogen with tile-line flow (15 to 50 lbs./year)
  • Sandy soils: each inch of rain may move NO3- nitrogen down 1 foot in the soil profile.

What forms of N can corn use?

Corn uses N in two forms: ammonium NH4+ and nitrate NO3-.

Ammonium is taken up through the roots, where it’s converted into amino acids. This differs from nitrates, which are transported to the leaves before being transformed into amino acids. To complete the process, the plant transports sugar, produced through photosynthesis, from the leaves to the roots.

Both processes yield the same product, but ammonium encourages the plant to capture more energy from sunlight to make sugar. Nitrates require the plant to consume energy that could be better used for grain production. Plus, nitrates are very susceptible to loss by leaching and denitrification.

Can't I just apply excess nitrogen to make up for the loss? (Part 1 of 2)

Applying excess nitrogen doesn’t make agronomic sense because corn will use only what it needs and the likelihood is great that excess N will continue to be lost to the environment due to leaching or denitrification. Particularly with today’s high cost of N, university and extension researchers recommend that the best plan is to apply only the N that the crop needs and take precautions to hold it in place as long as possible with a proven nitrogen stabilizer such as Instinct or N-Serve.

Can't I just apply excess nitrogen to make up for the loss? (Part 2 of 2)

Still on the fence about applying excessive N?

Consider for a moment that you’re a cattle rancher with a gaping hole in your fencing. You wouldn’t invest in more head to replace the steers that continue to escape, would you? It simply wouldn’t make economic sense when all you really need to do is mend the fence and fix the problem. This same analogy applies to nitrogen loss.

How is N loss affected by soil type and pH?

Nutrient availability - much like soil types and pH levels - often vary within a grower’s field. This effect is complex and varies with different nutrients; however, some generalizations can be made about the impact that each has on nitrogen and volatilization losses.

Soil pH
There is a higher potential for leaching and denitrification losses as soil pH increases from 7 (considered neutral) to the moderately alkaline pH levels of 7.6 to 8.3. This results in rapid denitrification. In acidic soils, where pH is less than 5, denitrification is slower.

In general, there is a greater need to stabilize N in high-pH soils with a nitrification inhibitor such as N-Serve nitrogen stabilizer, in both fall and spring preplant applications. Using N-Serve in high-pH soils can offer higher yield responses.

How does making N last longer benefit corn plants? (Part 1 of 3)

When you think about how corn develops, it may be easier to view each plant as a working machine. Within each plant, raw materials - including water and minerals from the soil, and carbon dioxide and oxygen from the air - combine with sunlight to provide energy. The product of this process is grain.

The longer the ammonium form of N is available to corn plants during the growing season, the more likely the corn crop will reach its maximum yield potential.

N-Serve and Instinct protect the ammonium form of N from conversion to nitrates and keep the nutrient in the root zone for efficient uptake.

More than 30 years of university research shows that the use of nitrapyrin, the active ingredient of Instinct and N-Serve, can result in up to 5 percent to 7 percent additional yield.

Keeping N in the ammonium form longer pays off in other ways too:

  • Produces superior plant food, which encourages grain production
  • Reduces peak N loss, which coincides with corn’s greatest N demands
  • Provides a quick start, ensuring ammonium N availability as the corn’s yield potential is determined during the first 30 to 40 days after emergence

Did you know? When a corn plant is mature (R6), 67 percent of total plant nitrogen, or nearly 140 lbs. N per acre, is contained in the grain.

(Based on 200 bu. corn.)

How does making N last longer benefit corn plants? (Part 2 of 3)

The Root Zone: Where N Matters Most

Why is the root zone so important? Roots are responsible for the direct uptake of nutrients and, most important, the ammonium form of N.

Ammonium is the preferred form of N because it is taken
up through the roots, where it’s converted to amino acids,
which encourages the plant to capture more energy from
sunlight to make sugar for advancing plant growth and finally
grain production.

As corn seedlings germinate and grow, their roots begin shallow and then branch deeper into the soil profile as the plant progresses through each vegetative growth stage.

Protecting ammonium-N from leaching and denitrification out of the upper 2 feet of soil is key to a strong start, and optimized grain production and yield.

Did you know? When a corn plant is mature (R6), 67 percent of total plant nitrogen, or nearly 140 lbs. N per acre, is contained in the grain.

(Based on 200 bu. corn.)

How does making N last longer benefit corn plants? (Part 3 of 3)

Stronger, healthier plants

Research shows that the benefit to ensuring that N is readily available for crop uptake can result in:

  • Increased grain protein
  • Improved standability
  • Reduced risk of stalk rot
  • Faster crop drydown
  • Increased grain test weight
Lush, Healthy Corn Rows

When is the time of greatest N loss and crop demand? (Part 1 of 3)

When do nitrogen losses occur?

Whether fall- or spring-applied, unprotected N converts in the spring to the nitrate form as soil temperatures increase. Peak nitrate losses occur from May through July - or any time up to 75 days after crop emergence, as seen in the figure to the right.

A shortage of N during this period severely restricts yield potential since it coincides with corn’s greatest N demands.

When is the time of greatest N loss and crop demand? (Part 2 of 3)

When does corn demand nitrogen during the growing season?

Start strong: Yield potential of a corn crop is determined during the first 30 to 40 days following emergence; however, nutrient availability must be maintained throughout the whole season during key growth stages for optimum yields.

Finish strong: During the time period extending from three weeks before tasseling to mid-silk, the crop needs more than one-half of its total required N.

Using N-Serve or Instinct makes more ammonium-N available to corn early when yield potential is determined and later during ear-set and grainfill.

Nitrogen-Corn Graph

Source: Chalmer’s Silty Clay Loam, R.A. McCormick,Ph.D. Thesis, Purdue University

When is the time of greatest N loss and crop demand? (Part 3 of 3)

Nitrogen deficiency in corn

As corn plants mature throughout the season, their source of N can be lost due to leaching and denitrification. If N is no longer available for the plant to use, the plant begins to absorb the N contained within its own leaves and stalk. This process is known as cannibalization.

When the plant is absorbing nutrients from itself, it’s also making sacrifices, such as reducing the supply of nutrients to lower leaves.

Nitrogen deficiency leads to:

  • Weakened cornstalks
  • Susceptibility to stalk rot
  • Significantly reduced yields
Cannibalization in Corn Watch for excessive “firing,” a visual symptom of N deficiency where the lower leaves turn yellow, shrivel to a fraction of their normal size and eventually drop. Also, note the distinctive V-shaped yellowing.

Who first discovered nitrogen stabilizer technology? (Part 1 of 3)

For more than three decades, Dow AgroSciences has been the leader in N stabilization for anhydrous ammonia, providing solutions that stabilize N in order to provide the best overall return on investment per pound of N applied.

Nitrapyrin Introduced in 1976

  • The active ingredient nitrapyrin was discovered by Dow Chemical scientists in the late 1950s and was presented to the scientific community in 1962.
  • U.S. EPA registration was granted in 1976 with the introduction of N-Serve.

Who first discovered nitrogen stabilizer technology? (Part 2 of 3)

Dow AgroSciences Introduces Instinct® for UAN and Liquid Manure

Instinct nitrogen stabilizer was introduced in 2009 as a new water-based, microencapsulated formulation of the active ingredient nitrapyrin that was designed for today’s farming practices.

More than 30 years of research confirms that the use of nitrapyrin, the active ingredient in Instinct, protects nitrogen and therefore helps to optimize yield potential. On-farm field trials in Iowa showed an average yield increase of 5 to 7 percent per acre when Instinct was used with UAN, compared with plots without stabilized N.

Instinct® joins N-Serve® in the Dow AgroSciences nitrogen management offering as the only other N stabilizer for UAN and liquid manure registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Who first discovered nitrogen stabilizer technology? (Part 3 of 3)

Results of 2008 24(c) Trials

In 2008, 76 field comparisons were conducted in Iowa to research yield results from using stabilized and unstabilized UAN. (Click on each thumbnail for an expanded view.)

  • Strips usually were replicated three to four times throughout commercial production fields.
  • N applications and harvesting were conducted using commercially available farm equipment.
  • Aerial photos are from midsummer, yield components taken at harvest.
Instinct® Info
N-Serve® Info
Fundamentals of Nitrogen Loss
Common Forms of Nitrogen
Stabilized Nitrogen
Environmental Stewardship

Common Forms of Nitrogen

Where do nitrogen stabilizers provide value? (Part 1 of 2)

Dow AgroSciences nitrogen stabilizers provide value for all major forms of nitrogen in all agricultural practices. For liquid manure and UAN, Instinct® nitrogen stabilizer, along with N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizer for anhydrous ammonia, helps stabilize N longer in a form that is more usable to the corn plant and maximizes the use of applied N to achieve optimal yields.

The availability of this critical nutrient is essential for getting the most out of today’s hybrids, which are using N more efficiently, yet with an increasing demand. As producers, you have no control over the price of N; however, you can improve the cost-effectiveness of your N investment.

Dow AgroSciences is the leader in the nitrogen stabilization industry, and today we continue to deliver products offering the highest level of nitrification protection. With Instinct and N-Serve, there’s a solution for a variety of fertilizer applications proven to help protect nitrogen, the environment and yield potential.

Where do nitrogen stabilizers provide value? (Part 2 of 2)

17 Years of Corn Yield Studies Fall- vs. Spring-applied N

In a 17-year University of Minnesota study, using N-Serve with fall-applied anhydrous ammonia returned an average of 7 bushels more corn per acre than applications without N-Serve.

What forms of nitrogen can be stabilized? (Part 1 of 3)

N-Serve® and Instinct® nitrogen stabilizers from Dow AgroSciences helps growers optimize yield potential by protecting nitrogen at the root zone - where and when it’s needed.

Whether your fertilizer is applied spring or fall, there is a proven nitrogen stabilizer that fits the way you farm.

Spring Applications

  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • UAN (28 percent to 32 percent)
  • Urea
  • Liquid Manure

Fall Applications

  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • Liquid manure
  • Urea, where permitted
Dow AgroSciences always recommends following all state and local best management practices in regards to Nitrogen Applications.

What forms of nitrogen can be stabilized? (Part 2 of 3)

Advantages of Fall-applied Nitrogen

Applying anhydrous ammonia in the fall brings advantages to growers all season long:

  • Fall applications reduce potential for soil compaction and seeding injury associated with spring applications.
  • Busy growers and fertilizer dealers are able to spread workloads across the fall allowing more time for spring activities.
  • Wet springs can reduce or eliminate the window for applying N.
  • Purchasing anhydrous ammonia in the fall may allow growers to take advantage of lower prices.

“By stabilizing anhydrous ammonia in the fall, we avoid spring compaction, plant earlier and spread out our workload.”

John Goodman, Grower; Conrad, Iowa

What forms of nitrogen can be stabilized? (Part 3 of 3)

Advantages of Spring-applied Nitrogen
Research shows that you can lose more than 20 percent of your field’s nitrogen (N) after just one or two spring rainfalls. It’s just as important to protect spring applications of anhydrous ammonia as it is during the fall.

Just seven weeks after planting, an acre of corn consumes about 7.5 pounds of N a day. Stabilized N is protected from loss due to leaching - so it stays put even during spring rains.

What equipment is recommended for mixing or injection? (Part 1 of 3)

Pumping equipment for N-Serve

The Sotera® Chemtraveller portable pumping system is recommended for transferring N-Serve nitrogen stabilizer from mini bulk tanks to sidekick tanks.

Direct injection of N-Serve

Raven SCS-Sidekick systems are recommended for direct injection of N-Serve.

  • Mixes product at the point of distribution, not in the tank
  • Use as stand-alone controller or pair with existing controller with adapter cable

Complete list of recommended equipment providers.

Chemtraveller is a registered trademark of Sotera Systems

What equipment is recommended for mixing or injection? (Part 2 of 3)

Direct Injection of Instinct®

Designed to stabilize N in liquid manure, Instinct comes in a unique formulation that makes it ideal for direct-injection systems used with liquid manure.

  • Water-based microencapsulation formulation makes Instinct no more corrosive than liquid manure and noncorrosive to aluminum.
  • Requires no special equipment for application.
  • Tank-mix compatible to fit either the Raven SCS-Sidekick or FarmChem InjectMATE systems.

Complete list of recommended equipment providers.

What equipment is recommended for mixing or injection? (Part 3 of 3)

Equipment Providers

The following manufacture equipment that is preferred in the handling of N-Serve and Instinct nitrogen stabilizer.

FarmChem Corp. (IA)

Provides equipment and service for crop input manufactures and dealers.

(800) 247-1854

www.farmchem.com

Economy Controls Corp. (MO)

Manufactures individual components or complete systems to fill, dispense, measure, inject and transfer liquids. Expertise in manufacturing the dispensing system that injects and blends N-Serve nitrogen stabilizer into anhydrous ammonia applicators and nurse tanks.

(800) 350-9797

www.economycontrols.com

Raven Industries Inc. (SD)

Offers products and services in the areas of application control, guidance and precision, chemical injection, planter control and flow control.

(800) 243-5435

www.ravenprecision.com
Instinct® Info
N-Serve® Info
Fundamentals of Nitrogen Loss
Common Forms of Nitrogen
Stabilized Nitrogen
Environmental Stewardship

Stabilized Nitrogen

What is stabilized nitrogen and how does it work?

Managing nitrogen availability to this area throughout the growing season is essential for resisting disease, increasing solar collection and stalk quality while reaching the true potential of today’s high-yielding corn hybrids.

Growers are planting earlier, and at higher populations, all without increasing N rates. Nitrogen stabilizers like N-Serve and Instinct give greater nitrogen efficiency by maintaining nitrogen longer into the season when the crop demands it.

How do nitrogen stabilizers differ? (Part 1 of 2)

There are two main types of nitrogen stabilizers: urease inhibitors and nitrification inhibitors, which are completely different. Urease inhibitors effect the urease enzyme which catalyzes the hydrolysis of urea when urea is left at the soil surface. Any small amount of soil moisture causes unprotected urea to hydrolyze and convert to ammonium and carbon dioxide which may then be lost through volatilization. According to the University of Minnesota, Extension, this process can occur in 2 to 4 days and happens quicker on high pH soils.

Urease inhibitors can provide up to 10 days of protection for only the urea components of fertilizer on the soil surface.

Instinct® and N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizers, nitrification inhibitors, do more. Both reduce the loss of nitrogen in the soil due to leaching and denitrification, keeping nitrogen in the corn root zone when and where it’s most needed. Instinct, for example, is surface-stable for up to 10 days but does not inhibit the urease enzyme. Instinct only inhibits the nitrification process caused by temperature-sensitive Nitrosomonas soil bacteria.

Once ½ inch of water moves the urea and nitrapyrin - the active ingredient in Instinct - into the soil, nitrification inhibition takes place.

How do nitrogen stabilizers differ? (Part 2 of 2)

Instinct vs N-Serve

Click to enlarge.

Visit our FAQ section for more information regarding the differences between Instinct, N-Serve and several other inhibitors.

Why should I stabilize my N and at what rate? (Part 1 of 2)

Today’s hybrids demand more from our nitrogen than ever before. With N being the single largest input investment for producers, it makes agronomic sense to protect it from loss. In addition, there are a number of compelling reasons to stabilize:

  • For maximum crop health and yields at harvest, corn plants need readily available ammonium-N in the root zone during key growth stages.
  • As plants mature through the season, their source of N can be lost into the environment due to leaching and denitrification.
  • If N is no longer available for plant use, the plant begins to absorb the N contained within its own leaves and stalk, resulting in weakened cornstalks, susceptibility to stalk rot and significantly reduced yields.

Why should I stabilize my N and at what rate? (Part 2 of 2)

N-Serve and Instinct, Application Timing

Click to enlarge.

What are some best management practices for N? (Part 1 of 3)

Best management practices include a wide range of proven methods for getting the most from your
fertilizer investment.

  • 1. Begin record keeping for field-specific information.
    • Keep accurate and systematic information on crop yields, hybrid selection, plant populations, N fertilizer and manure applications, and soil test results. Use this information to monitor and adjust N management more precisely to maximize profit and protect the environment.
  • 2. Setting realistic yield goals for each field.
    • Calculate average yield for each field based on the most recent five-year average, excluding the worst year. Use this average as a realistic yield expectation for fertilization. This can provide adequate N for the crop while reducing excess N.

What are some best management practices for N? (Part 2 of 3)

  • 3. Adjust N rate according to soil organic matter content, the previous crop for that field and manure application.
    • After determining a realistic yield goal for a field, calculate how much N you need by multiplying the yield goal by a number in a range from 0.9 to 1.2 lbs./A of N. In addition, take into account any leftover N from your previous crop, your starter, and weed-and-feed fertilizer. After subtracting these additional N sources, you will know how much N needs to be applied.
  • 4. Use soil nitrate tests to develop a balanced fertilizer program.
    • Measure soil-residual N in the root zone to determine the current level of N available for the crop, which can save money and reduce the amount of excess N you might apply. This is important when planting corn following corn, especially if the previous crop did not yield as well as expected. Another consideration is a Pre-Sidedress Nitrate Test (PSNT). The PSNT is especially useful for those who have made a nonstabilized preplant N application (fall or spring) and have experienced an unusually wet spring, and are worried about whether there is enough N left for the crop.

What are some best management practices for N? (Part 3 of 3)

  • 5. Credit second-year nitrogen contributions from alfalfa and manure.
    • Adopt an N credit up to 75 lbs./A for second-year corn following a good stand of alfalfa on medium- and fine-textured soils, according to the University of Minnesota. If you’ve applied manure, the university suggests that 30 percent to 50 percent of the organic N will be converted to plant-available N each year after application.
  • 6. Do not overapply N beyond recommended rates.
    • An increase in N rates above the optimum level does not mean yield may not increase; however, nitrate losses increase substantially and yield increases beyond optimum N rates seldom pay for themselves. Using proper N rates and implementing better management practices will reduce N losses.
  • 7. Using Instinct® or N-Serve® to protect N at the root zone
    • When N is optimized at a level that represents only the amount of N required by the corn crop for expected yields, using Instinct or N-Serve is critical because you cannot tolerate N loss. Adding a nitrification inhibitor will slow the conversion of N to the nitrate form (NO3) and help reduce losses of N due to leaching and denitrification. Instinct and N-Serve improve the efficiency of applied N.

How do N-Serve® and Instinct® optimize yield potential? (Part 1 of 3)

Instinct and N-Serve optimize yield potential by ensuring that N is available in the root zone during key stages of corn growth. Corn with access to sufficient N when it needs it most tends to be greener, taller and more robust - setting the stage for optimum yields.

Instinct and manure

Animal manure is one of the most widely used forms of N used alone or with synthetic fertilizers.

With growing environmental concerns around this nitrogen source, growers are evaluating tools for better N management.

In this video, watch as Instinct nitrogen stabilizer is incorporated into fall-applied swine manure to help stabilize one farm’s nitrogen levels and improve yields at harvest.

How do N-Serve® and Instinct® optimize yield potential? (Part 2 of 3)

Instinct and UAN

Liquid UAN is the second most widely used form of N in the Midwest?

This video shows how a Midwestern farm incorporated Instinct nitrogen stabilizer into its spring UAN application and realized increased biomass and a 7 bu./A yield advantage at harvest.

How do N-Serve® and Instinct® optimize yield potential? (Part 3 of 3)

N-Serve and anhydrous ammonia

Including N-Serve nitrogen stabilizer in fall anhydrous ammonia applications is important for many reasons.

By stabilizing anhydrous ammonia in fall, producers can avoid spring compaction, plant earlier, spread out the workload and be more productive at harvest.

This video provides a side-by-side comparison revealing the benefits and results from using stabilized N in the fall.

“N-Serve is like a crescent wrench that fits all types of farming situations.”


Chuck Beckman, Crop Consultant

Lee Fertilizer, Camp Point, Ill.

How much N is contained in manure? (Part 1 of 3)

This simple calculation shows the price per pound of N contained in 1,000 gallons of liquid swine manure.

Anhydrous ammonia = $700/ton

  • Contains 82 percent nitrogen (NH3+)
  • 2,000 x.82 = 1,640 lbs. of actual nitrogen/ton
  • $700 / 1,640 = $0.4268 per lb. of nitrogen

1,000 gallons of liquid swine manure out of a finishing house contains approximately 34 pounds of available ammonium nitrogen.

  • 34 lbs. x $0.4268 per lb. of nitrogen = $14.51 per 1,000 gallons
  • 3,500 gallons applied per acre would be ~ 119 lbs. of nitrogen worth $50.78

How much N is contained in manure? (Part 2 of 3)

Managing manure value through stabilization

Livestock manure gives producers an invaluable resource for improving grain yield and quality.

As with commercial N fertilizer, field-applied livestock manure is susceptible to N loss. Any time soil temperatures exceed 40 F, whether fall or spring, ammonium-N starts converting to the nitrate form.

Time is the key

Fall applications allow more time for organic matter in manure to break down, making N available for plant uptake, but also for loss. Spring applications help close the window for N loss; however, saturated soil conditions can lead to leaching and denitrification.

Instinct® nitrogen stabilizer serves as an effective management tool for integrating livestock manure into a farming operation.

Effect of Nitrapyrin on Nitrification - Graph Source: Chalmer’s Silty Clay Loam, R.A. McCormick,Ph.D. Thesis, Purdue University

How much N is contained in manure? (Part 3 of 3)

For the most part, manure is not a balanced form of fertilizer. By adding Instinct to liquid manure and stabilizing N in the soil, growers can better balance the rations of N and phosphorus for optimum crop yields.

Average Nutrient Content of Manure - Chart Source: Purdue University Extension Bulletin ID-101

What helps you sleep well at night? (Part 1 of 3)

By the time harsh spring weather hits, unstabilized nitrogen is vulnerable to leaching and denitrification. It makes sense to protect your fertilizer
investments - and ultimately the yield potential.

Rest at ease...

  • Knowing your nitrogen is stabilized when a 2-inch rain is expected
  • Knowing your nitrogen is present in the root zone for efficient uptake by the corn plant
  • Knowing Instinct and N-Serve increase grain protein, improve standability, reduce the risk of stalk rot and enable faster crop drydown.
  • Knowing that Instinct and N-Serve support environmentally beneficial farming practices by reducing leaching and denitrification of nitrogen.
Overlooking fields to approaching storm.

What helps you sleep well at night? (Part 2 of 3)

Sidedressing Anhydrous with N-Serve®

Sidedress applications provide nitrogen near the time when plants consume the most N per day. Soil temperatures are generally warm during this period, requiring a nitrogen stabilizer to protect ammonium-N from rapid nitrification.

Add N-Serve to sidedress anhydrous ammonia until 30 days postplant.

What helps you sleep well at night? (Part 3 of 3)

Instinct® Receives Section 24(c) Special Local Needs Registration

With strong support of local growers and university researchers, in spring of 2011, Dow AgroSciences received approval for 24(c) Special Local Needs Registration in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The company is pursuing Section 3 registration for this application of Instinct for nationwide use by spring 2012.

The additional registration allows corn producers to stabilize their nitrogen as a postplant application prior to the V6 stage of growth. The result is less N lost to leaching and denitrification and more N available for grain production.

Sideress Application
Instinct® Info
N-Serve® Info
Thank You!

We’re glad that through Instinct and N-Serve, you’re able to find peace of mind, knowing that your nitrogen is protected from loss in the event of early seasonal rain. We also recognize that you’re busy doing all you can to ensure a healthy crop and high yields while doing your part to be good stewards of the environment.

Thank you for trusting in our science and products to help you farm better and more profitably.

Fundamentals of Nitrogen Loss
Common Forms of Nitrogen
Stabilized Nitrogen
Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Stewardship

How do Instinct and N-Serve support environmentally beneficial farming?

Since 1980, the amount of N used per acre has decreased by approximately 25 percent. And while that’s a good thing from a stewardship standpoint, growers continue to demand that corn plants continue to produce higher yields. Therefore, the N that’s applied must be more efficient.

More than 37 years of testing nitrapyrin, the active ingredient in N-Serve and Instinct, yielded the following results:

  • 16 to 17 percent reduction in nitrate leaching (nitrification)
  • 44 to 51 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (denitrification)

Reductions in nitrate leaching and greenhouse gas emissions were reduced wherever the ammonium form of nitrogen was stabilized by nitrapyrin.

How do nitrogen stabilizers fit with better farming practices?

Dow AgroSciences’ nitrogen stabilizers optimize yield and corn plant health, as well as support environmentally beneficial farming practices.

  • Reduce leaching of nitrogen into groundwater and surface water by managing nitrification of fertilizer
  • Reduce the loss of nitrogen into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas by reducing denitrification
  • Can be incorporated with ½ inch of rain to reduce the use of fuel
  • Can be tank-mixed with fertilizer, herbicides and insecticides to further reduce fuel use
  • The only nitrogen stabilizers accepted for registration by the EPA

“N-Serve helps our customers achieve a wider planting window… and reduces nutrient runoff.”

Mike Kessler, Crop Specialist

Two Rivers Farm Service, Rushville, Ill.

Does Instinct® or N-Serve® affect soil health?

Nitrapyrin, the active ingredient in Instinct and N-Serve, only affects Nitrosomonas bacteria.

  • Other soil bacteria and fungi are unaffected.
  • Nitrapyrin is immobile once it adheres to soil particles.
  • Nitrapyrin degrades through hydrolysis in warm, moist soils.

Nitrapyrin Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In heavy, textured soils, the main loss of nitrogen is from denitrification, the biological conversion of NO3- to NO, N2 or N2O.

Anaerobic microorganisms prefer elemental oxygen; under inadequate aeration they will use the combined oxygen in nitrates.

  • This releases N2O and N2 into the atmosphere.
  • N2O (gas) and N2 (gas) are contributors to greenhouse gases.

Instinct® nitrogen stabilizer keeps NH4+ in the NH4+ form longer, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Stalk bottom image

What effects do Instinct® and N-Serve® have on water quality? (Part 1 of 4)

One of the benefits of stabilized nitrogen is that the conversion of ammonium-N to the nitrate form is slowed down, providing a better opportunity for corn to take up the nutrient from the soil.

As a result, research shows that fewer nitrates are lost into the groundwater or surface water through field drainage.

This is a clear example of how corn growers employ technologies that are practical, measurable and demonstrable in helping protect America’s valuable waterways.

Groundwater

  • Nitrapyrin is no threat to groundwater because it is immobile once attached to soil carbon.
  • By reducing nitrate leaching, Instinct and N-Serve nitrogen stabilizers are used as a best management practice for improving groundwater quality.

Surface Water

  • Reduced leaching into tile drains limits surface water nitrate concerns.
  • If nitrapyrin moved with soil particles into surface water, rapid degradation of nitrapyrin would occur.

What effects do Instinct® and N-Serve® have on water quality? (Part 2 of 4)

Arise Research Inc. conducted a trial at Martinsville, Ill., in 2003 where it found the use of N-Serve with spring-applied urea reduced nitrate leaching by 30 percent, as seen in the chart to the right.

Leaching of nitrates from unprotected N reached 187 parts per million (ppm). Where N-Serve was used, leaching was reduced to 131 ppm. In addition, corn yielded 158 bu./A where N-Serve was used, compared with 150 bu./A where N-Serve was not used.

What effects do Instinct® and N-Serve® have on water quality? (Part 3 of 4)

The Journal of Environmental Quality reported in 1998 on a pair of studies conducted in Minnesota - one that measured leaching of nitrates from spring-applied anhydrous ammonia (Goodhue County) and another from fall-applied anhydrous ammonia (Olmsted County).

Upon measuring nitrates in the 3- to 8-foot soil depth, researchers found that N-Serve reduced leaching by 25 percent in the spring-applied plots and 24 percent in the fall-applied trials, as seen in the chart to the right.

N-Serve Role in Water Quality - Bar Chart Nitrogen applied as anhydrous ammonia at 150 lbs./A. Average nitrate levels in the 3- to 8-foot depth, 1978-1990.
1Adapted from The Journal of Environmental Quality Vol. 26, No. 3, Table 5, p. 812, 1998

What effects do Instinct® and N-Serve® have on water quality? (Part 4 of 4)

Finally, the University of Minnesota uses lysimeters to capture tile line water and measure the leaching of nitrates in crops. A corn-soybean rotation was maintained in this trial at Waseca, Minn.

Results showed that the nitrogen lost into the environment with fall-applied anhydrous ammonia protected by N-Serve was no worse than unprotected spring-applied anhydrous ammonia. In fact, when compared with unprotected fall-applied anhydrous ammonia, the plots treated with N-Serve reduced nitrate loss by 18 percent.

Average NO3-N leached over two years; one full rotation. Average across four cycles of the corn-soybean rotation.

Trial established in 1987 and continued through 1994. Leaching occurred from 1990 to 1994. Corn/soybean rotation 135 lbs. N as anhydrous ammonia applied for corn. Webster clay loam soil. Randall, Waseca, Minn.

What effect does nitrapyrin have on crop tolerance?

Quick facts about nitrapyrin:

  • Nitrapyrin is not phytotoxic
  • Its major metabolites are not readily taken up by plants
  • Small amounts of nitrapyrin and its metabolites absorbed by the plant present no problem; crop and animal residue tolerances have been established by the EPA.
Ear of corn on the stalk
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Common Forms of Nitrogen
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FAQs - Instinct®

Frequently asked questions about Instinct® nitrogen stabilizer

Q. Does Instinct protect nitrogen (N) in the ammonium form longer than N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizer?

A. Research shows that once N and Instinct are incorporated, Instinct retains N in the ammonium form roughly the same amount of time N-Serve does when applied in the spring - approximately 60 days when applied mid-April.

Q. How should you manage Instinct if it doesn't rain within 10 days after application?

A. If moisture or irrigation incorporation does not take place within 10 days after applying Instinct, use shallow mechanical incorporation.

Q. Since nitrogen solutions contain lower rates of ammonium compared with anhydrous ammonia, how much can Instinct really help?

Like N-Serve, Instinct treats the soil - not the fertilizer. UAN is 75 percent ammonium and 25 percent nitrate. Instinct will protect the 75 percent of nitrogen that is ammonium from converting into the easily lost nitrate form.

Frequently asked questions about Instinct® nitrogen stabilizer

Q. Why should I stabilize UAN when I would be protecting only 75 percent of the applied nitrogen?

A. Twenty-five percent of the N in UAN is already in the nitrate form, so stabilizing the remaining 75 percent is even more critical. If 25 percent is already in the nitrate form, you cannot afford to lose more if heavy rainfall occurs between application and corn plant uptake.

Q. How does Instinct work on the soil surface?

A. Instinct has no activity on the soil surface. Instead, Instinct works within the soil at the root zone, stabilizing N and keeping it available when corn needs it most.

Frequently asked questions about Instinct® nitrogen stabilizer

Q. How does Instinct compare with Agrotain®?

A. Instinct and Agrotain are completely different products. Agrotain is a urease inhibitor, while Instinct is a nitrification inhibitor. As a urease inhibitor, Agrotain stops urea on the soil surface from turning into ammonia and volatilizing into the air. This allows time for the urea to move into the soil. Agrotain does not inhibit any conversions in the soil, meaning that once the urea moves into the soil, it’s susceptible to loss.

Instinct is a nitrification inhibitor that works in the soil to slow the conversion of ammonium to nitrates, which are easily lost via leaching and denitrification. Instinct remains on the soil surface for up to 10 days, but does not stop urea from converting to ammonia on the soil surface. Instead, the product’s surface stability keeps the product viable until it is incorporated into the soil.

Frequently asked questions about Instinct® nitrogen stabilizer

Q. I have a black layer at the top of the mini bulk. Is this a problem with Instinct?

A. The black layer at the top of the mini bulk is an emulsifier that can be expected with Instinct. Circulation of the product in the tank should alleviate the layer.

Q. My retail location sells anhydrous ammonia and UAN. Which products should be used with N-Serve and which
ones with Instinct?

A. Add N-Serve to anhydrous ammonia and Instinct to UAN and liquid manure.

For additional questions, contact your local Dow AgroSciences sales representative.

Frequently asked questions about N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizer

Q. How long does N-Serve protect nitrogen (N) at the root zone?

A. Historically, N-Serve applied in the fall has provided approximately 90 days of effectiveness, with that effectiveness declining over time. N-Serve is designed to slow the conversion of anhydrous ammonia into the nitrate form when soil temperatures rise above 40°F. This soil temperature is significant because the soil bacteria that break down anhydrous ammonia into nitrates become active at this temperature. If soil temperatures are below 40°F, the soil bacteria become inactive and the anhydrous ammonia is not converted into nitrates.

If you’ve applied anhydrous ammonia with N-Serve in the fall, simple counting can help you determine roughly how long N-Serve will protect your N the following spring. Just count the number of days from application until the soil temperature reaches 40°F and then stop counting. Start counting days again when the soil warms back up to 40°F.

Frequently asked questions about N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizer

Q. Does N-Serve tie up N in the soil?

A. N-Serve doesn’t tie up N. Instead, N-Serve slows down the soil bacteria that convert ammonium nitrogen into the nitrate form, which can be easily lost to leaching or denitrification. By doing this, N-Serve keeps N available in the root zone during key stages of corn growth.

Q. Should I stop including N-Serve in spring anhydrous ammonia applications if they are made after April 15?

A. The right conditions for N loss can occur regardless of what the calendar says, so adding N-Serve with all spring N applications is a smart decision. All it takes is a period of moist soil and warm temperatures before corn has entered its maximum nitrogen uptake period to lose significant yield potential due to N loss.

Frequently asked questions about N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizer

Q. If I use less anhydrous ammonia this year, can I also cut the rate of N-Serve?

A. N-Serve does not treat N - it treats the soil. Once in the soil, N-Serve suppresses soil bacteria that convert anhydrous ammonia into the easily lost nitrate form. Therefore, no matter what N rate you apply, always use the labeled rate of N-Serve for optimum results. N-Serve is designed to allow growers to apply the right amount of N and protect that N from loss.

Q. This spring I noticed N-Serve crystals at the bottom of a shuttle. Can I get this back into solution?

A. Simply put the shuttle in warm storage, add additional N-Serve if necessary and it should go back into solution within a few days. Circulation also helps.

Q. Can I place a heat lamp on the shuttle to heat it up?

A. Do not place direct heat near any storage of N-Serve. N-Serve has a low flash point, meaning it is very flammable.

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Instinct is not registered for sale in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Do not fall-apply anhydrous ammonia south of Highway 16 in the state of Illinois. Always read and follow label directions.