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)
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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)
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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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.