Following several years of planning, development, and testing, Koch Agronomic Services has some big plans this year for its new nitrogen inhibitor Centuro. This message was delivered in December to attendees of a special Writer’s Conference held in Bloomington, IL.
Truthfully, said Ryan Potter, Centuro Product Manager, nitrogen inhibitors have been on the market for many decades now. However, Koch believed it could improve upon the concept.
“We looked at what would become Centuro back at a summit in 2008,” Potter said. “We saw some of the new technology out there that could enhance nitrogen usage on the farm and thought that we could build a better mousetrap, so to speak.”
For the next several years Koch researchers worked on developing a new nitrogen inhibitor for use with anhydrous ammonia (NH3) and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN). As a result, Centuro was born.
Featuring the active ingredient pronitridine, Centuro works by temporarily occupying the active site or altering the enzyme found inside nitrosomonas bacteria so that it cannot oxidize ammonia. “This means that Centuro can hold the nitrogen in the ammonium form three times longer than no inhibitor being used,” Potter said. “It’s also a pure liquid product, while others out there are encapsulated or blended.”
Despite being in development for almost a decade, Centuro didn’t receive formal registration from the EPA until last July. “Centuro was the first nitrification inhibitor registered by the EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act in more than 40 years,” Potter said. “That’s part of the reason this process took so long to complete — many decades of no activity in this area at the agency.”
Non-Corrosive, Non-Freezing Properties
In addition to its other features, Centuro is non-corrosive to the metals used with UAN and NH3, meaning it can be stored using containers made from materials other than stainless steel. It also doesn’t swell O-rings in pumps and will not freeze as long as the temperatures remain above minus 9°F.
“Centuro is also non-combustible,” Potter added. “This eliminates the need for explosion-proof equipment to be used with it.”
These qualities were shown to attendees during a visit to an ag retailer, Heritage FS Inc., in Melvin, IL. According to Location Manager Randy Mauser, his outlet has been working with Centuro since summer 2018. “We’ve found that Centuro is easy to work with and store under normal conditions,” Mauser said. “We’ve also been able to work with it at much lower temperatures than other nitrogen inhibitors because of its low freezing point.”
At this point, Potter said, the company is planning to begin rolling out Centuro during the 2019 growing season in the Midwestern states that it has been approved for use in, backed up by a series of state-specific studies showing how the product works compared with other nitrogen inhibitors.
“It’s sometimes hard to understand what’s happening with nitrogen inhibitors because stuff is happening below the soil and can’t be seen,” he said. “Besides, farmers like to see data from their state despite the fact that the bacteria involved in the process is the same in all of them. But we believe Centuro will find an audience, primarily because it is easy to use, store, and blend.”