Let’s Talk Nitrogen Stabilizers

Let’s Talk Nitrogen Stabilizers

May 31, 2021

Nitrogen management has always been a challenge in high nitrogen demanding crops such as corn and winter wheat.

Three pathways can contribute to significant nitrogen losses:

  1. Volatilization – loss of ammonia nitrogen to the atmosphere from the soil surface
  2. Denitrification – occurs when soils are saturated and in an anaerobic environment
  3. Leaching – downward movement of nitrate nitrogen out of the rooting zone due to excessive rains

The challenge has always been to make nitrogen available when the crop needs it and minimize the exposure of nitrogen to the weather scenarios that contribute to N loss. Consider the nitrogen demand relationship for corn and winter wheat (below):

Corn Nitrogen Demand Curve

(Adapted from Richie, et.al, 2005, How a Corn Plant Develops)

Wheat Nitrogen Demand Curve

We often apply nitrogen early in the season before the crop actually utilizes it. For example, the demand for nitrogen in corn is at its peak at about the V10 growth stage (often around early to mid-July). Split-applying nitrogen has been a reasonably effective way to reduce the risk of nitrogen loss; however it does come with added application costs.

Nitrogen stabilizer products have been developed and fine-tuned to slow down the conversion of applied nitrogen forms to ammonia and nitrate (forms of nitrogen that are volatile, can be denitrified, and/or are leachable). These produces can be added to Urea and 28% UAN effectively and efficiently.

Benefits of Nitrogen Stabilizers

· Delays the conversion of soil applied nitrogen to forms that increase the chance of volatilization, denitrification, and leaching

· Increase plant available nitrogen longer into the growing season and closer to peak demand

· Relatively inexpensive “insurance” to protect your nitrogen investment

· A hedge against the unpredictable weather that can lead to nitrogen loss

Sylvite carries a lineup of nitrogen stabilizers that use specific portions of varying ingredients for above or below ground protection from nitrogen loss.


· Soil amending ingredients: 20% NBPT

· Used where volatilization is the most significant challenge

· Most effectively used in topdressing situations in corn and wheat, Y-drop where nitrogen is sitting on top of the soil

· Labelled for use with Urea, UAN, and liquid manure


· Soil amending ingredients: 25% DCD

· Used where leaching is the most significant challenge

· Most effectively used with deeper soil incorporation, such as strip-tilling or deep banded sidedress

· Labelled for use with Urea, UAN, Anhydrous Ammonia, and liquid manure


  • Soil amending ingredients: NBPT + DCD
  • Used where volatilization, denitrification, and leaching are challenges
  • Dual mode-of-action works effectively in all situation to reduce loss even with excellent incorporation of N Fertilizer
  • Labelled for use with Urea, Uan, and Liquid Manure

Please contact your local Sylvite Ag Consultant for more information.