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Thinking of Using UAN? — Compare the ESN Advantage

Yields are means of three N rates, four replications, and two years.  All products surface broadcast before planting at average N rate of 150 lbs N/acre. Net return calculations assume corn price of $3.50/bu, ESN price premium of $0.20/lb N over urea and $0.15/lb N over UAN.  Inhibitor costs assumed as follows:  Agrotain Ultra @ $105/gal ($9.23/acre) and Agrotain Plus SC for UAN @ $22.40/gal ($15.75/acre). Study conducted at Owensboro, KY.  

We all know the obvious difference between ESN and UAN (urea-ammonium nitrate solution). UAN is a 28-32% liquid nitrogen source and ESN is a 44% granular nitrogen source.

There are several more differences to consider when choosing a nitrogen source:

  • UAN requires specialized equipment – pumps, tanks, and application.
  • UAN can have higher trucking costs vs dry products – transporting a lot of water.
  • Liquid blending options may be limited.
  • UAN often requires multiple application trips which adds cost.
  • UAN contains 25% of the N in the nitrate form, a form immediately susceptible to leaching and denitrification losses and a form not protected by inhibitors or stabilizers.
  • An inhibitor or stabilizer should be added to protect the urea and ammonium portions from loss, increasing cost per acre and adding time to the application process.

A Kentucky corn study demonstrates ESN’s advantages:

  • ESN produced 21 bu/acre more yield and $37/acre more profit than UAN.
  • ESN produced 12 bu/ac more yield and $35/acre more profit than UAN with both urease and nitrification inhibitors.

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