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Up, off or down: Preventing three types of nitrogen loss

Updated: 05/11/2012 @ 6:00pm AGROTAIN® PLUS nitrogen stabilizer is a dry concentrate formulation that contains AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabilizer, plus an additional nitrogen-stabilizing agent that keeps nitrogen in the ammonium form for 6-8 weeks. For use with UAN or liquid nitrogen, AGROTAIN® Plus provides triple-action protection to reduce volatilization, leaching and denitrification after soil application.

At least four things can happen to the nitrogen that corn growers apply to their fields — and only one of them is positive for the crop. In a perfect world, 100 percent of applied nitrogen would go straight to the crop, where it would be used to maximize yields. But in the real world, a high percentage of applied nitrogen is lost. How?

Volatilization is a process that occurs when urea comes in contact with moisture and urease. When urea breaks down, it releases ammonia into the air. As much as 30 percent of applied nitrogen can be lost within days of application unless the urea is stabilized.

Denitrification is a process where nitrogen is converted back into nitrogen gas that is then lost into the air. This process occurs when soils are saturated or very wet. Clay textured and poorly drained soils are most susceptible to this type loss.

Leaching occurs when the nitrate form of nitrogen is washed out of the root zone and ends up beyond the reach of plants. Sandy soils are most susceptible to these losses, because they have less ability to hold water and nutrients.

Nitrogen loss is expensive, and can be detrimental to crop and the environment. That’s why it makes sense for growers to protect their investment for only pennies per pound of N with AGROTAIN® or AGROTAIN® PLUS nitrogen stabilizers. Although there are few sure bets in farming,investing in a proven nitrogen stabilizer is a smart way to put the odds in your favor.

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