Frequently Asked Questions

The following is not intended to be complete or detailed use recommendations for all geographies, crops, or applications.  User assumes all responsibility for proper use and handling of specific geographies, crops, and applications.  Please consult ESN recommendations and/or your Nutrien ESN representative for complete recommendations for use.  Consult ESN recommendations for more information.

Does ESN release too quickly to be applied pre-plant?

ESN was designed to be applied at or before planting on many crops.  One purpose of controlled-release fertilizers is to allow all the needed N to be applied in one pre-plant application.   ESN’s release is temperature sensitive; it releases slower in cool temperatures.  ESN applied in cool soils before spring planting will release more slowly while the crop is small and growing slowly.  As the soil warms crop growth increases and ESN release increases to match crop N demand.  This temperature-controlled mechanism naturally synchronizes N release to crop demand.  Hundreds of university studies on various crops have demonstrated excellent ESN performance as a single N application at or before planting.

Does ESN stay soft for the entire growing season?

ESN stays soft if there is moisture to diffuse into the coating and maintain the urea solution inside.  Under conditions of severe, extended drought where ESN is left on the soil surface, it may slowly dry out and may become hard.  It will rehydrate and become soft, once moisture is present again.

Does the ESN coating “breakdown” or come off in water or soil?

No.  ESN’s coating remains intact during the process of N release.  It does not dissolve in contact with water or breakdown or come off over the course of the growing season.  Once N has released from ESN, the coating will eventually decompose by soil organisms in about 18-24 months.

How deeply do I need to incorporate ESN?

In many areas where intermittent precipitation or dew is present at somewhat regular intervals, no incorporation may be necessary.   In areas of limited rainfall, such as dryland cropping systems in arid and semi-arid areas, some light incorporation is highly recommended.  ESN need not be deeply incorporated as with a moldboard plow, but typically a harrow or sometimes even broadcast ahead of the seeder provides sufficient incorporation into the soil surface to provide good contact with the soil.

How does ESN’s coating control nitrogen release?

ESN’s coating encapsulates a soluble nitrogen fertilizer.  The coating forms a protective barrier that acts as a semi-permeable membrane surrounding the fertilizer granule.  Tiny, molecular-size pores in the polymer coating allow water to enter the granule slowly.  The water dissolves the soluble fertilizer which then diffuses, or oozes, out thru the coating into the soil.  The rate of the process is controlled by soil temperature.  ESN’s coating remains intact through the release process maintaining the protective barrier and controlling N supply to the crop.  ESN does not release N by swelling, rupture, or “breakdown” of the coating.

Release graphic

How is ESN different from Agrotain and other similar products?

ESN is a controlled-release nitrogen fertilizer.  ESN encapsulates the nitrogen and controls all N losses by regulating the exposure of N to the environment while it gradually feeds the crop.  Nitrogen in ESN remains encapsulated and releases N over a period of about 50-80 days protecting that N during the periods of generally greatest losses.  Agrotain and other “look-a-like” urease inhibitors are chemical additives, called stabilizers, added to urea to reduce volatilization only and are effective for about 7-14 days after application.  Urea treated with these additives is immediately water soluble.

How long can ESN be stored?

Since ESN does not absorb moisture from the air, it remains free-flowing, even after extended storage.  It can be stored indefinitely if kept dry.  ESN has been observed to improve the condition of stored blends.  Some retailers and growers have found adding ESN to blends to be stored can improve the condition and flowability of many blended fertilizers.

How long does it take for ESN to “breakdown”? How long do ESN coatings persist in the soil?

ESN’s coating is a biodegradable polymer that decomposes in about 18-24 months in soils.  The end products of ESN decomposition are carbon dioxide, ammonia, and water. However, this “breakdown” is not the mechanism of N release.  The term “breakdown” is an incorrect description of the ESN release process.  ESN’s primary release mechanism is by diffusion thru tiny, molecular-size pores in the polymer coating.

How should ESN be handled?

Care should be taken to minimize granule abrasion that results from excessive handling. Belt conveyors are preferred.  Moving ESN with screw augers, especially when operated at high speeds and low volumes, should be minimized.

See Use Recommendations for more information.

How should ESN be spread?

ESN can be applied using either spinner or air flow machines. ESN should be double spread for uniformity when using a spinner because fertilizer tapers off at the edges of the spread pattern. Always ensure the spreader is properly calibrated to deliver the desired N rate.

See Use Recommendations for more information.