“If you have conditions where you might get nitrogen loss through leaching, whether it’s sandy soils or heavy rainfall, then a slow-release product such as Nitamin will give you a nitrogen efficiency benefit,” says Dr. Charles Shapiro, University of Nebraska soil fertility researcher. “In both years of the studies, we found that the Nitamin stayed where it was applied, so it was readily available for the corn plant.”
Manufactured by Georgia-Pacific Plant Nutrition and distributed by Wilbur-Ellis Co. and others, Nitamin Nfusion Steady-Release is a liquid nitrogen fertilizer that combines the continuous release benefits of Nitamin with conventional quick-release N sources such as UAN 32%. The product is completely water soluble and contains 22 percent nitrogen, of which 94% is slowly available N in the form of polymer urea. Nitamin Nfusion can be blended with UAN, urea solution and liquid ammonium nitrate solutions at different ratios to provide flexible N release rates, providing growers with the ability to match N delivery with crop-specific N uptake patterns over the growing season. Custom blends can be made with certain formulations of phosphorus, potassium and micronutrients.
“The inherent flexibility of Nitamin Nfusion allows growers to factor in soil temperatures, application timing and the crop’s growth cycle before determining how much slowly available N to incorporate,” says John Kruse, senior research agronomist, Georgia-Pacific Plant Nutrition. “The end result is a custom-tailored crop nutrition program that optimizes nitrogen-use efficiency. Nitamin Nfusion minimizes excess N when not needed by the crop and maximizes plant-available N when most needed by the crop.”
University of Nebraska Studies
In both years of the Nebraska studies (2007 and 2008), which were conducted on farms near Norfolk, NE, Nitamin Nfusion was mixed in a 30:70 ratio (percentage N basis) with UAN 32 and compared to straight UAN 32. In the first year, some plots received all of the N (a total of 225 pounds) at planting while others received split applications at the pre-plant and planting stages. In a split application of 150 pounds pre-plant and 75 pounds side-dressed in-season, the Nitamin Nfusion field yielded 29 bu/A higher at 201 bu/A compared to the field treated with similar applications and the same rate of standard UAN.
Dr. Shapiro says the split application mirrors a typical production practice in irrigated corn grown in a sandier type of soil. “The sandy soils don’t hold a lot of water, and the general practice is to split the N for production reasons and it’s also more ecologically sound in reducing leaching problems,” he says. “Nitamin would give a grower confidence in knowing that he can put on more N at planting or early in the season and not lose it after a rainfall.”
In 2008, the trial was modified to compare the effects of knifing-in the N treatment versus a broadcast application nine days after planting. An additional postemergence N application was made through the irrigation pivot. The highest yield, at 259 bu/A, came from the Nitamin Nfusion application, 11 bu/A higher than the UAN at the same rate.
Dr. Shapiro noted that in addition to an increase in yield, the 2008 trials demonstrated increased N efficiencies with improved placement and technologies, even at lower rates of total N. For example, at 167 pounds total N, the average yield (combining broadcast and knifed-in trials) of Nitamin Nfusion was 243 bu/A, compared to 234 for UAN.
When researchers performed stalk nitrate testing -- where they measure the nitrate content in the lower part of the stalk -- Nitamin Nfusion had higher stalk nitrate part-per-million (ppm) ratings than its UAN counterpart. At the 217-pound total N rate, Nitamin Nfusion had a 4,534 ppm compared to 3,569 ppm for UAN. At 267 pounds total N, the results were more dramatic: 6,580 ppm and 4,940, respectively.
“This is a good indication that the Nitamin Nfusion did what it was supposed to do. That is, the N in the Nitamin stuck around in the soil and was more available for the corn plant to utilize,” Dr. Shapiro says.
Adds Kruse: “With two years of successful yield trials in Nebraska, blends of Nitamin Nfusion appear poised to increase grower yields in corn for this part of the country. Nfusion demonstrated it can be a key player in the overall nitrogen fertility program of growers seeking consistently higher yields and efficiency.”