Nitrogen Stabilizers: A Refresher Course

Nitrogen maximizers keep nitrogen ready for corn’s roots.
Nitrogen maximizers keep nitrogen ready for corn’s roots.


It’s no secret nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for a corn crop. Once nitrogen is lost, corn plants themselves may not be far behind. What seems to be a bit more secretive, or at least mysterious, is how nitrogen stabilizers work to keep as much of the nutrient as possible available for those plants.

It all comes down to simple science (well, simple for the scientists anyway; it takes just a little more explaining for the rest of us).

Corn uses nitrogen in two forms: ammonium and nitrate. Ammonium is preferable to corn, because it’s easier for plants to absorb and it’s less susceptible to loss. Nitrate is more easily susceptible to loss via leaching and denitrification. Unfortunately, there are strains of bacteria that convert ammonium into nitrate to use for their own nutrients.

Corteva Agriscience’s line of nitrogen stabilizers, called nitrogen maximizers, includes N-Serve® and Instinct®. Both products work below the soil to slow down those bacteria, ensuring the nitrogen can stay in ammonium form longer. The maximizers extend the ammonium’s useful life for up to eight additional weeks, keeping nitrogen near the corn’s roots for when the plant is ready to absorb it.

The result is that the corn crop can get the maximum out of the farmer’s nitrogen application and the farmer, in turn, can get the maximum out of his or her investment, leading to a profitable yield.

With an extremely rainy spring across much of the Corn Belt and with planting being significantly delayed, nitrogen is especially vulnerable to loss this season. So, it’s especially important to ensure your customers’ investments are as safe as possible. Nitrogen maximizers can help.

And as you look ahead to fall nitrogen applications, onward to 2020 planting, it’s a good idea to keep this information top of mind. To learn what nitrogen maximizers can do for your crops, visit