Instinct® HL Nitrogen Maximizer Protects Yield Potential and the Environment

Raise yields while protecting the environment.. and your wallet.

It’s no secret that the increase in fertility applications to push higher corn yields has contributed to more N runoff and higher nitrate levels in water supplies. This concern adds yet another challenge to your ever-present objective of maximizing yield potential while keeping an eye on your bottom line. Fortunately farmers have a great tool on their side in Instinct® HL Nitrogen Maximizer to help curb N runoff and ensure that corn roots can access the vital nutrient when it needs it the most.
Corn uses N in two forms: ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3-). Ammonium is the preferred form because it’s more efficient for plants to use and less susceptible to loss. Nitrate N can’t help your corn if it’s beyond the reach of the plants’ roots during critical growth times. Instinct® HL acts to slow down the bacteria that convert ammonium to nitrate, keeping N in the ammonium form longer so it’s there when your corn is ready for it, helping your crop reach its maximum yield potential.
CFE Business Development Manager Dan Jacobsma says CFE views Instinct® HL not only as an insurance policy that helps you get the most from your N investment, but also as a way to help you increase your focus on environmental stewardship.
“Deep down, all farmers are environmentalists,” Jacobsma explains. “They don’t want fertility treatments to hinder their fields’ productivity or harm the water we drink. Our goal is for farmers to continue farming the way they want to without the government telling them how, and using a N stabilizer like Instinct® HL is one way to work towards that.”
CFE Agronomy Sales Manager Terry Aukes says most farmers tend to stick with Instinct® HL after their first experience using the nitrogen stabilizer because they see the economic results and like that they’re doing something to decrease their environmental footprint.
“As yield goals increase, we’ve found many farmers have been able to keep N rates in check because using Instinct® HL has eliminated the need to apply more units,” Aukes notes. “In fact, some farmers have chosen to reduce the amount of N they apply when using Instinct® HL to stay within their crop budget. It depends on a farmer’s yield goals, but in some cases trading 10 or 15 units of N for Instinct® HL is a good tradeoff.”
According to Dow AgroSciences, the manufacturer of Instinct® HL, using the nitrogen stabilizer resulted in an average revenue increase of $29.23 per acre in Iowa based on 40 Dow AgroSciences field trials from 2013 to 2015.1 Aukes says CFE is testing Instinct® HL in 15 replicated field trials in 2018 to measure how it performs in local fields.


Instinct® HL can help you get the most from your investment by keeping N ready and accessible whether you apply fertilizer in spring or fall.
  • Spring applications: Early spring rains drive N lower into the soil through leaching, putting it out of the reach of corn roots. Without protection, corn crops can lose out on the N they need during critical periods of uptake, resulting in potential yield loss. Applying Instinct® HL with spring urea, UAN or liquid manure applications mitigates the risk of loss from heavy rainfall.
  • Fall applications: Time and weather are just a couple of the variables that drive farmers’ decisions to apply N in the fall. By nature, all N sources are mobile and susceptible to loss. Applying Instinct® HL with fall-applied swine manure protects N in the soil over the winter so it is available in spring. Aukes says manure haulers used to face a number of logistical issues that often used to discourage them from adding the product to liquid manure, but those issues were eliminated last summer once Instinct® HL was approved for mixing in manure pits. Farmers, livestock producers and the environment in general benefitted from the convenient and sound agronomic practice for protecting nitrogen loss.
Jacobsma and Aukes say including Instinct® HL when applying N is only one component of a multi-pronged approach to managing N. They also encourage farmers to avoid applying N too early and make split N applications when possible, especially in sandy soils where N runoff occurs more frequently. Another step is to identify how much N remains from past applications by testing N soil levels in late spring and stalk levels in the fall. This will help you fine-tune your N applications going forward.
For more information on adding Instinct® HL to your N applications,
contact your local CFE representative.

1 Based on 40 Dow AgroSciences field trials from 2013-15 resulting in an average 9.45 bu./A yield increase at $3.50/bu.

Instinct® is a registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences.