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Centuro and Anvol are expected to receive EPA approval by May.

P.J. Griekspoor 1, Editor

December 11, 2017

4 Min Read
NEW TOOLS: Wheat and other grain farmers will have two new tools in 2018 from Koch Agronomic Services to help reduce nitrogen loss in their soil.

Farmers work very hard to manage nutrients for crops to make sure they get the maximum benefit from every application of fertilizer to the field, and to ensure that nutrients do not leave the field and enter the surrounding environment.

Soon, they will get some help from two new nitrogen stabilizer products from Koch Agronomic Services: the Centuro nitrification inhibitor and the Anvol urease inhibitor. Both products are expected to receive EPA registration in the second quarter of 2018, in which case Anvol will be available for spring applications in wheat, corn and rice, and Centuro will be available for fall applications of anhydrous ammonia.

“One of the things I always try to stress is that the general public doesn’t understand how hard farmers work to manage nutrients and make sure nitrogen stays put,” says Greg Schwab, KAS director of agronomy. “Here at Koch, we work just as hard to find ways to help them do that.”

Centuro will help farmers in the Corn Belt who typically apply anhydrous ammonia to the soil in the fall or spring. For farmers in northern states, where fall-applied anhydrous is an accepted practice, nitrogen can be lost to leaching or denitrification over the winter or even early in the spring if there is extremely wet weather.

Centuro, which has been in the KAS pipeline for seven years, works by inhibiting an enzyme released by soil bacteria that facilitates the conversion of ammonium to nitrates.

“The soil has a negative charge and ammonium has a positive charge,” Schwab says. “That causes the ammonium molecules to bind to the soil. Nitrate, however, has a negative charge. That allows it to move through the soil with water. Chemically, nothing attaches it to the soil.”

By slowing down the bacterial conversion process, more of the anhydrous ammonia remains in ammonium form so it stays stuck in the soil. In the spring, when the soil warms up and plants start to grow, the bacterial activity picks up and the inhibitor effect wears off.

“Research has shown that up to three times more nitrogen is available to the plant when a nitrification inhibitor is included with anhydrous ammonia applications. Yet, KAS estimates that 70% of anhydrous applications are made without a stabilizer,” Schwab says. “We expect Centuro to change the way the industry uses this technology.”

As part of the development process, university performance trials have been conducted in Nebraska, Illinois and Missouri. Those trials demonstrated significantly increased nitrogen use efficiency and plant performance. Nitrogen use efficiency showed a 35% improvement in fall-applied anhydrous ammonia and increased corn yields by an average of 10 bushels per acre when compared to untreated anhydrous ammonia.

Studies conducted at Iowa State University showed that Centuro reduced nitrate leaching by 65% in fall-applied anhydrous ammonia and by 30% in spring-applied anhydrous ammonia compared to untreated anhydrous.

“Our research has also shown that the patented formulation of Centuro makes it noncorrosive to equipment,” Schwab says. “That is a big advantage in the cost of maintaining or replacing equipment and down time. When Centuro is available for sale, it will provide better long-term storage and farmers will not have to have stainless steel tanks for their stabilizer.”

New urease inhibitor coming too
For farmers who top-dress wheat with liquid nitrogen or urea, a new urease inhibitor, Anvol, is expected to be commercially available by the spring of 2018.

“Anvol has a new, patented active ingredient that is more effective than Agrotain for stabilizing nitrogen, Schwab says. In volatilization trials at Louisiana State University, Anvol reduced ammonia loss by 65% compared to untreated urea and was 26% more effective at reducing losses an Agrotain.

“Without treatment, urea can be converted to ammonia gas and escape into the atmosphere,” Schwab says. “Treatment allows the ammonia to move into the soil and once it moves deeper into the soil profile, it stays there.”

Both Centuro and Anvol were developed by the scientists at the Koch research and development laboratory in Georgia.

“Researchers at Koch Agronomic Services are always looking for new things that help farmers be more productive and profitable,” Schwab says. “It can be a long process from discovering a molecule to registering a product and making it available to farmers. There is a long list of studies that have to be conducted to make sure the product does what you want it do and doesn’t do anything you don’t want it to do.”

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