What Makes an Effective Nitrogen Stabilizer?

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Nitrogen application in Iowa

With an increasing amount of dicyandiamide-based (DCD) products claiming to provide the same return on investment as Optinyte® technology found in N-Serve® and Instinct NXTGEN® nitrogen stabilizers, it is crucial farmers know what differentiates nitrogen stabilizers on the market today.

Ty Stender, Nutrient Maximizer Account Manager, Corteva Agriscience, shares five key characteristics of a nitrogen stabilizer capable of protecting your customers’ fertilizer investment.

  1. Long-lasting control. An effective nitrogen stabilizer will keep nitrogen in the soil for longer periods of time. The length of control offered by the nitrogen stabilizer is important, as it can help ensure nutrient availability in the soil during critical growth stages when the crop needs it most.

    “While Optinyte technology provides farmers with six to eight weeks of control, products containing DCD may have less residual activity due to lower efficacy from the active ingredient and use rates that do not fully compensate for this lower activity. This can jeopardize your ability to adequately extend nitrogen availability in challenging conditions, such as fall or early spring applications,” Stender says.
  2. Yield-boosting potential. A nitrogen stabilizer should be backed by verified yield data. The use of Optinyte technology in multiple peer-reviewed studies and field locations showed a 7% yield increase with fall-applied nitrogen and 5.2% yield increase when used with spring applications.1 “There is significantly less published yield data for specific DCD-based products currently on the market,” Stender says.
  3. Robust soil stability. Choose a nitrogen stabilizer that can withstand nitrogen leaching and promotes soil retention to help keep nitrogen stable in the soil.

    “Nitrogen stabilizers that contain DCD are water-soluble, meaning that they only stay in the soil until the first significant rainfall event and then can leach away,” Stender says. In contrast, Optinyte technology keeps nitrogen in the corn root zone for longer periods of time to protect against nitrogen losses. Optinyte technology is proven to reduce nitrogen leaching by 16% and increase soil retention by 28% on average.1
  4. Proven environmental benefits. Not all stabilizers offer the same environmental benefits. “Optinyte technology is proven to, on average, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51%,” Stender says. By reducing denitrification, fewer greenhouse gases can escape into the atmosphere and more nitrogen remains available in the soil. Learn more about the environmental benefits of Optinyte technology here.
  5. Transparent labeling. Look for transparency in product labeling when selecting a nitrogen stabilizer. “A lot of products won’t disclose the active ingredients in the stabilizer, which can be a red flag,” Stender says. For example, DCD-based products can require more than 30x higher concentration to be successful at preventing nitrogen losses compared with Optinyte technology, which is effective even at relatively low use rates. 

Not all nitrogen stabilizers are created equal. Knowing what to look for in a nitrogen stabilizer will help your customers protect their crops and boost their return on investment. For more tips and information, contact your Nutrient Maximizer sales team member or visit NutrientMaximizers.com.

1Wolt, J. D. 2004. A meta-evaluation of nitrapyrin agronomic and environmental effectiveness with emphasis on corn production in the Midwestern USA. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems. 69: 23–41.

Instinct NXTGEN® is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Do not fall-apply anhydrous ammonia south of Highway 16 in the state of Illinois. Optinyte® is a registered active ingredient. Always read and follow label directions.