Knowledge Center for Agriculture Solutions | Koch Agronomic Services
Knowledge Center for Agriculture Solutions | Koch Agronomic Services
Debunking Cold Weather Myths of Fall-Applied Nitrogen
While fall applications of nitrogen can help take pressure off spring field work, allowing for more timely planting, these applications are still at risk of nitrogen loss. We’ve debunked two common myths concerning nitrogen loss in fall-applied nitrogen to help ensure growers are maximizing their nitrogen fertilizer inputs.

Myth #1: Ammonia volatilization does not occur in colder weather.

Ammonia volatilization occurs when the urease enzyme breaks the urea molecule into ammonia gas, which is a process called urea hydrolysis. This process is a chemical reaction that is not dependent on temperature, meaning the reaction can occur in freezing temperatures.

Truth: Nitrogen Loss Occurs in Cold Weather.

Studies conducted by Montana State University, proved ammonia volatilization occurs in sub-freezing temperatures. The urease inhibitor technology of AGROTAIN nitrogen stabilizer delays the hydrolysis process and prevents nitrogen loss via ammonia volatilization even in cold weather. The average loss due to volatilization with AGROTAIN treated urea was seven percent, compared to untreated urea with an average loss of 20.5 percent.

The underlying data was provided by Montana State University under a Research Trial Financial Support Agreement with Koch Agronomic Services, LLC and neither Montana State University, nor the individual researchers referenced, endorse or recommend any product or service.

Myth #2: Ammonia volatilization is the only cause for fall-applied nitrogen losses.

Ammonia volatilization is not the only method of nitrogen loss when it comes to fall-applied nitrogen. While the belief may be denitrification is more likely to occur in warm, moist soils, the thawing and freezing of snow and ice can lead to denitrification of a nitrogen application.

Truth: Denitrification occurs in cold weather.

In a study conducted by the University of Saskatchewan, research showed 35 percent of fall-applied nitrogen was lost to denitrification and denitrification rates were six times higher in no-till fields due to the higher population of denitrifiers. Broadcasting SUPERU can protect against all three forms of nitrogen loss, making it an ideal solution to prevent volatilization and denitrification losses.

Source: Aulakh, M.S. and Rennie, D.A. 1986. Nitrogen transformations with special reference to gaseous N losses from zero-tilled soils of Saskatchewan, Canada. Soil and Tillage Research, 7: 157-171.

For more information on fall nitrogen applications contact your KAS Rep.   

To get your Fall Broadcast Tech Sheet click here.

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Article Categories: Blog Icon BLOG, US, CANADA, Nitrogen Loss
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