Maximizing the efficiency of crop inputs such as nitrogen is essential for growers to meet their goals of increased productivity and sustainability. Independent research has shown that two upcoming nitrogen stabilizer products featuring new, patented active ingredients developed by Koch Agronomic Services (KAS), will help growers significantly improve nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) to increase crop output while minimizing environmental losses.
CENTURO *nitrification inhibitor and ANVOL urease inhibitor represent KAS's commitment to discover and deliver new tools to help move agriculture forward, providing unparalleled nitrogen protection for improved yield potential and return on investment. Rigorous testing of the two products at land-grant universities during the development phase demonstrated significantly increased NUE and plant performance. Both products are expected to be available in the U.S. in 2018.
"U.S. farmers and ranchers apply roughly 13 million tons of nitrogen fertilizer to their fields each year, yet due to many conditions, often outside their control, as much as half of it is lost through ammonia volatilization, leaching and denitrification," says Justin Hoppas, executive vice president of Koch Agronomic Services. "By listening to our customers and driving innovation through R&D, we are discovering new solutions that increase agricultural efficiency. Our goal is to deliver proven technologies that can make every ton of fertilizer more efficient and optimize our customers' crop nutrition investments."
Game-changing nitrogen protection for anhydrous ammonia
CENTURO will be a new nitrification inhibitor technology for anhydrous ammonia that will offer highly effective nitrogen protection and unequaled handling and flexibility. KAS focused on the efficiency of anhydrous ammonia because it continues to be one of the most popular sources of nitrogen, due to its concentration (82 percent nitrogen), convenience and relatively low cost.
Greg Schwab, KAS director of agronomy, notes that despite its popularity, anhydrous applications require careful planning to guard against leaching and denitrification during the winter; even spring applications can be subject to loss. However, for a variety of reasons, some growers do not protect their anhydrous with a nitrification inhibitor.
"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 70 percent of anhydrous applications are made without a stabilizer," Schwab says. "We expect CENTURO to change the way the industry uses this technology because of the product's strong efficacy and its noncorrosive formulation, which research has shown will provide significant handling and equipment benefits."
While it's not yet commercially available, testing during the seven-year development phase has shown the product will provide new advancements in nitrogen protection, keeping more nitrogen in the root zone and available to the plant while reducing costs and time associated with storage and handling. For example, university performance trial results1 with CENTURO in Nebraska, Illinois and Missouri demonstrated a 35 percent improvement in NUE in fall-applied anhydrous ammonia and increased corn yield by an average of 10 bushels per acre, when compared to untreated anhydrous ammonia. Additionally, studies conducted at Iowa State University2 showed that CENTURO reduced nitrate leaching by 65 percent in fall-applied anhydrous ammonia and 30 percent in spring-applied anhydrous ammonia compared to untreated anhydrous ammonia.
Research has also shown the patented formulation of CENTURO makes it noncorrosive to equipment, resulting in a major advantage in the cost associated with equipment maintenance, replacement and downtime. When CENTURO is available for sale, it will provide superior long-term storage and will not require stainless steel tanks.
New era of urease inhibitor technology
For above-ground nitrogen protection, KAS plans to introduce ANVOL stabilizer which will feature a newly patented active ingredient to provide an improved level of nitrogen protection, increasing the potential to maximize crop performance and minimize environmental losses from ammonia volatilization. In Louisiana State University volatilization trials, ANVOL reduced ammonia loss by 65 percent compared to untreated urea and was 26 percent more effective at reducing losses than AGROTAIN nitrogen stabilizer.
ANVOL stabilizer follows the success of the company's AGROTAIN, the industry-leading urease inhibitor technology backed by more than 25 years of research. ANVOL is expected to be commercially available in the U.S. by the fall of 2018.
"ANVOL will represent a new age of urease inhibitor technology," Schwab says. "In addition to a higher return on investment, the formulation provides improved coating efficiencies, allowing for reduced labor demands and other benefits that will deliver increased operational efficiencies and flexibility."
Hoppas adds that CENTURO and ANVOL are two breakthrough innovations developed by KAS that will help ag customers thrive in a time of rapid change. The KAS research and agronomy teams continue to work to find new solutions, driven by the breadth of Koch Industries, where more than 1,500 R&D employees across the company collaborate to innovate, discover and even disrupt current business practices.
"At Koch, we're passionate about discovering and bringing to market solutions that our customers value," says Hoppas. "With these new technologies, we are excited to usher in a new era in nitrogen protection."