Can I just use a urease inhibitor or nitrification inhibitor instead of ESN? They’re the same thing at a lower price, aren’t they?

ESN is different from other enhanced-efficiency nitrogen fertilizers; it is not the same as urease and nitrification inhibitors; it works by a different mode of action; ESN provides additional benefits inhibitors cannot, and ESN provides these benefits for a longer time than is common for inhibitors and stabilizers.   

Currently, ESN is the only polymer-coated controlled-release N fertilizer widely available in broadacre agriculture.  There are many enhanced-efficiency nitrogen product choices on the market with different modes of action and different benefits.  There is also a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation.  Many of these products are effective for specific problems.  Some are not as effective as others.  It is essential to understand each product, its mode of action, the N-loss mechanisms it controls, the time for which it is effective, and what its benefits are. 

Most other products in agriculture are either additives or contain additives, called stabilizers, which inhibit nitrogen transformations. These inhibitor, or stabilizer, products are water soluble.  They are not controlled- or slow-release fertilizers like ESN.  In the same way, one would not use a grass herbicide to control broadleaf weeds, one should not use a urease inhibitor to reduce leaching loss or a nitrification inhibitor to control volatilization.  Because ESN truly controls the exposure of N to all loss mechanisms and controls N supply to the crop, it can provide benefits the stabilizers cannot. ESN protects against all N loss mechanisms for a longer time than the stabilizer products.   

ESN is unique among enhanced-efficiency fertilizers in agriculture.  It provides longer-lasting protection, better performance, greater benefits, and, we believe, greater value than other available options. 

See the EEF guide fact sheet for more specific information.