Field Research Supports Use of Nitrification Inhibitors

URBANDALE, IA — December 19, 2008 — Results from replicated strip trials harvested by Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) On-Farm Network® growers show that fall-applied anhydrous ammonia might benefit from proper use of a nitrification inhibitor.

Nitrification inhibitors, such as N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizer, slow the conversion of the ammonium form of nitrogen (N) to the nitrate form of N, a form that is more susceptible to loss due to leaching and denitrification.

On-Farm Network researchers designed the protocols for the replicated strip trials to test the effects of N-Serve on yield response when anhydrous ammonia is applied at rates that are at or below the optimal amount of N.

“We felt that application rates were being overlooked in previous studies of N-Serve performance,” says Dr. Tracy Blackmer, director of research for the ISA On-Farm Network. “The effect of N-Serve can be masked if more anhydrous ammonia is applied than is needed for optimal yields.”

The trials were established in the fall of 2006 and involved a minimum of three strips in each field. Two of the strips received 80 pounds of actual N from anhydrous ammonia. N-Serve was applied to one of these two strips. For comparison, 130 pounds of actual N from anhydrous ammonia (a rate closer to the normal fall rate) were applied to the third strip without N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizer.

Results were reported by strip and also by soil type. Compared by soil type, 80 pounds of N with N-Serve increased yield by 5.9 bushels per acre compared with 80 pounds per acre of N in the same soils without the nitrogen stabilizer. In addition, 80 pounds per acre of N with N-Serve produced yields nearly identical to acres treated with 130 pounds per acre of unprotected N.

“Based on this first year of study with lower application rates, it appears that N-Serve does help reduce N losses,” Blackmer concludes.

Andrew Simeonidis, product manager for Dow AgroSciences, says these results may have big implications for growers.

“N-Serve allows growers to apply the recommended amount of N and then reduce the amount of loss during key corn growth stages,” Simeonidis says.

Nitrapyrin, the active ingredient in N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizer, has been shown to maximize yield potential by increasing grain protein, improving standability, reducing the risk of stalk rot and enabling faster crop drydown, Simeonidis adds.

“Despite the recent drop in the cost of N, the cost is still higher than in previous years,” Simeonidis says. “Growers can’t control N prices, but they can control the amount of N they apply. Protecting this valuable investment in the soil can help growers get the most out of their N applications.”

To learn more about N-Serve, visit www.N-Serve.com.

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