Now that we finally have a hint of spring, producers start thinking about planting corn and planning on nitrogen (N) fertilization applications. In case you haven’t noticed, fertilizer prices are a little higher than they were this time last year. This typically leads to questions like: “Should I consider the use of an inhibitor?”

Multiple universities conduct field research with inhibitors to determine effectiveness, but lab studies conducted to determine proof of mode of action are more critical to our understanding of their usefulness. Several inhibitors have sound lab evidence that they do what they are promoted to do (and some do not), but we may struggle to find usefulness from field studies. Thus, university researchers attempt to identify N sources, application methods and application timings that are more likely to benefit from the use of these inhibitors.