ESN Handling Recommendations
To get the greatest value from ESN, quality should be protected through proper handling, storing, blending, and application. ESN’s physical properties — lower angle of repose, low hygroscopicity, less bridging in the bin, more free flowing than conventional fertilizers — result in several notable differences pertaining to storage and application.
These guidelines are based on testing with different types of blending and handling equipment as well as retailer experience.
- Although ESN is designed to withstand normal handling and application practices, the ESN coating can be compromised and its value reduced by improper and/or excessive handling.
- The primary cause of damage is generally abrasion from contact with equipment parts that haven’t been properly maintained.
- To avoid damage, equipment should be in good repair and properly adjusted.
- Rust and scale on any equipment used to handle ESN can cause abrasion to the polymer coating. If equipment has not been used for some time and has rust and scale buildup, run several tons of other fertilizer material through the equipment to scour the rust and scale free before using the equipment for ESN.
- As a general rule of thumb, handle ESN with the same care as you would seed.
- Belt conveyors are the preferred conveyance systems.
- Screw augers and drag chains are not recommended, however if used, they should be run as full as possible and, where possible, run at slower speeds to reduce ESN abrasion.
- More specifically, the use of screw augers should be avoided if at all possible. If screw augers are used, small diameter augers are more abrasive than large augers because a greater percentage of ESN contacts moving parts.
- If using ESN in a blend with other fertilizer products, blend all other products first, add the ESN, and blend for as little time as required.
- Bin capacity will be less than for conventional urea, usually around 75% of urea capacity.
- ESN is more fluid than other dry fertilizers and has a tendency to flow out of bin doors into alleyways, even thru small openings. Bulkheads are recommended to prevent outward flow from bins.
- ESN exerts more pressure on the lower sidewalls of bins. Bin sidewalls should be reinforced concrete where possible.
- Older, weaker, and/or wooden sidewalls should either be braced, or ESN should be placed in center bins with product in adjacent bins to support the bin wall.
- Avoid storage of ESN in the same facility as ammonium nitrate.
- One of the storage benefits of ESN is that it can be stored for longer periods of time than conventional fertilizers because it does not absorb water from humidity in the air and cake in the bin.
- ESN weighs 48 pounds per cubic foot, approximately the same as urea.
- The angle of repose on ESN is 19.6 degrees compared to 30 degrees for urea.
Maximum Recommended Belt Angle for Unloading/Loading:
- Belt Angle in no circumstance should exceed 18 degrees. This will be further impacted with temperatures less than 00 F (-200 C).
- It is essential to avoid excessive blending. Blending times should be limited to the minimum necessary for uniform mixing.
- ESN should be added to the blender last to minimize physical contact.
- Blenders should be run as full as possible to minimize surface contact with ESN.
- Inclined-axis blenders (cement-mixer type) cause the least product abrasion followed by vertical-auger blenders (Doyle type). Horizontal-auger blenders (Ranco type) generally cause the most abrasion if ESN is placed in one of the first bins.
- Because of the risk of abrasion, if using horizontal-auger blenders, ESN should be loaded in the last bin before the blender exit to minimize the time in contact with the blending augers.
- Blenders should not be used as a loading system for tender trucks other than when actually blending.
- Applicators should be properly maintained and in good repair.
- Because the physical properties of ESN are different from conventional fertilizers, different spread patterns are possible.
- For proper product distribution, all spreaders — whether new or old, both spinners and airflow — must be properly calibrated and adjusted for ESN and ESN blends. Do not assume previous settings and operating conditions will produce the same distribution with ESN. As a reminder: reducing the air speeds in airflow spreaders can reduce the impact on deflector shields, and if spinner spreaders are used, double spreading is highly recommended.
- As with any field application, calibration of application equipment ensures accurate placement.