Nitrification inhibitors and spring corn planting

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article


Soil nitrogen (N), whether it is from fertilizer or soil organic matter, is only available to the plant when it is in the nitrate or ammonium form. In the ammonium form it is considered stable or protected since the negative charged soil particles hold the positive charged ammonium. The negative charged nitrate cannot be held by the soil and is vulnerable to various loss mechanisms. Eventually the ammonium will be converted to nitrate by soil bacteria in a process called nitrification. The first bacterium Nitrosomonas converts ammonium-N to nitrite-N. The second bacterium Nitrobacter converts nitrite-N to nitrate-N. And as you know, nitrate-N is the form we are most concerned about being lost (whether by leaching or denitrification).

The purpose of a nitrification inhibitor is to delay the nitrification process by suppressing the bacteria Nitrosomonas in the area where ammonium is to be present. Thus inhibitors extend the time that soil N stays in the ammonium form. There are three common nitrification inhibitors that are commercially available: 2-chloro-6-(trichloromethyl)-pyridine (nitrapyrin), dicyandiamide (DCD), and ammonium thiosulfate (ATS). Nitrapyrin is the active ingredient found in the Dow product N-Serve and Instinct. The biochemical activity of nitrapyrin and its ability to suppress growth of Nitrosomonas has been known since the 70s and it was initially registered in 1974. It is quite effective even at relatively low rates. Dicyandiamide (DCD) is the active ingredient in nitrification inhibitors such as Agrotain Plus, SuperU and Guardian.  Dicyandiamide is required at a significantly larger concentration to prevent nitrification. Correct concentration level is critical for all nitrification inhibitors to be effective.

Others products claim to be nitrification inhibitors. Some of them have been proven not to even inhibit nitrification. Research is lacking on some products and thus cannot be recommended at this time. North Dakota State University has a good discussion on nitrification inhibitors that may be found at the following URL: http://www.ndsu.edu/fileadmin/soils/pdfs/sf1581.pdf

Generally we do not recommend nitrification inhibitors for anhydrous ammonia applied shortly before planting or as a side-dress treatment, since the risk of nitrogen loss is low. No-till situations are more likely to show positive yield results than conventional till systems for spring applied anhydrous. 

Same would be true for products added to 28 percent solutions. Also keep in mind that the nitrification inhibitor would only affect the ammonium portion of solution and would not prevent N loss from the nitrate portion.

Nitrification inhibitors are less likely to show an economic benefit when high N rates are used in the field.  Nitrogen losses at high application rates are not likely to affect yield as much if lower rates are applied.

In summary, there are commercial products available that will inhibit nitrification for a short time period when applied at the right concentration. When N is applied near planting or at side-dress, the benefit from a nitrification inhibitor is minimal since the potential for N loss is low at this time. 


Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...


Comments (0) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left


OptRx crop sensors

Features & Options: Increase yield potential by applying the ideal amount of nitrogen to corn or wheat based on crop ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form