Loss Mechanisms

How leaching occurs

How volatilization occurs

How denitrification occurs

Nitrogen (N) can be one of your most costly inputs, so you want to do everything you can to avoid loss. ESN is designed and proven to minimize the loss mechanisms that conventional N sources are prone to, including:


Leaching occurs most often in coarse-textured or sandy, well-drained soils. It can also occur during heavy precipitation or irrigation.


Volatilization is the loss of N to the atmosphere as ammonia gas. The greatest losses occur from surface application of fertilizer containing ammonium (UAN, urea, manure, blended dry fertilizers), particularly on a high pH and/or high temperature soil during hot, windy weather or on dense crop residue.

Denitrification (Standing Water)

When oxygen levels are low, anaerobic microorganisms strip oxygen from the nitrate which produces nitrogen gas, nitric oxide or nitrous oxide. Denitrification is the process of these gases leaving the soil and returning to the air. The conditions that contribute to denitrification include:

  • Wet or poorly drained soil
  • Compaction
  • Warm soil temperatures
  • Readily decomposable organic matter

Learn how ESN prevents nitrogen loss