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.

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.   

Will ESN work in no-till corn?

Yes. ESN performs very well in no-till corn. ESN granules come to rest under crop residue. The granules then begin to hydrate and in response to increasing temperature, will begin releasing N to the soil for crop uptake.

Can ESN be applied in a growing crop? Will it release fast enough to meet crop N demand?

Yes, much research has demonstrated ESN performs excellently as a top-dress application in many crops, including corn, soybeans, cotton, potatoes, winter wheat, and others depending on geography and soil and environmental conditions.  Because later applications, such as top-dressing corn, are made in warmer temperatures, ESN’s release will accelerate more quickly.  In some cases, such as full-season potato varieties in long growing seasons or very sandy soils with high leaching potential, applying a few weeks after planting may actually perform better than ESN applied before planting.  On cool-season crops in cold areas, such as W. Canada and the No. Great Plains, fall or spring pre-plant is the preferred application timing; top-dress applications are usually not recommended for these situations.  If ESN is to be applied in a growing crop, blending ESN with an immediately available N source, such as urea or ammonium sulfate, will provide for the immediate crop N needs until ESN release begins.  It is ultimately important to match N supply to crop N demand, and ESN has been proven a useful tool in achieving this objective.  Consult your ESN dealer or Nutrien representative for specific recommendations for specific crops and application times.

See Use Recommendations for more information.

Can I be more profitable by saving money and using a lower percentage of ESN in my blends?

Some ESN users attempt to cut costs by reducing the portion of ESN in the blend and therefore do not realize ESN’s optimum performance and full benefits.  ESN recommendations are based on hundreds of studies in many environments and designed to produce the best possible performance.  These studies show that best results and greater profitability are achieved using the amount of ESN recommended for each crop and time of application.  In most cases this is at least 50% to as much as 100% of the total crop N needs as ESN.  Remember that the portion of N applied as conventional, immediately available N sources is fertilizer N that is unprotected.  ESN is designed to release in synchronization with crop demand, so only a small amount of immediately available N is typically needed.  Using ESN as recommended produces greater yields and profitability than lower-cost alternatives that may appear to be a bargain but fail to provide the performance and profitability of ESN. 

If ESN is more efficient, can I reduce the amount of Nitrogen I apply?

ESN has been proven to increase N-use efficiency in many crops and environments.  Growers often ask if this means they can reduce overall N rates when using ESN.  University studies indicate when ESN is applied as recommended, a lower rate of ESN can indeed maintain crop yields similar to the normal recommended rate of conventional N sources.  However, profitability is usually greatest and risk lowest if ESN is used at the same rates as the grower’s conventional program.  The typical yield increase observed with recommended ESN applications is usually worth more than the savings achieved by reducing the N rate.  Each user should perform comparison profit calculations using their own costs and estimated ESN performance in their environment.  Contact your ESN representative for assistance in estimating these profit comparisons.  In some crops that may be sensitive to excess N supply, it may be beneficial to reduce the N rates somewhat with ESN to prevent loss of crop quality or yield from excess N.

Must ESN be blended with other nitrogen fertilizers to work effectively?

In many situations, ESN need not be blended with other N sources.  ESN was designed to release N in approximate synchronization with the N demand of many crops.  It was designed to serve as a “stand-alone” N source in many situations.  Hundreds of studies on corn, potatoes, cotton and other summer crops or fall applications on winter cereals have proven excellent results using ESN to supply all the N needed in one application.  There are situations where ESN may be or should be blended with an immediately available N source, such as urea or ammonium sulfate, to meet immediate needs of a growing crop.  For example, if ESN is used for spring top-dress of winter wheat after wheat has broken dormancy, some immediately available N is recommended.  Or if top-dressing corn with ESN after about V6 growth stage, ESN should be blended with an immediately available N source to meet immediate N needs of the crop.  The greatest benefit of ESN usually occurs when using ESN for a majority of the N fertilizer needs. 

See Use Recommendations for more information.

Can ESN be blended with other fertilizers? Does blending destroy the ESN coating?

Yes, ESN can be blended with other fertilizers.  In fact, it blends well with other fertilizers. ESN is designed to withstand normal handling processes. Proper handling and blending will not destroy the coating.  Excessive blending may damage the coating and reduce ESN’s effectiveness.  To help avoid abrasion of the coating, add ESN to the blend last and mix for the minimum time required to achieve uniformity.  The blend will remain dry and flowable.  ESN is the perfect product to improve any nitrogen program.  Ask your retailer how it can help you.

See Use Recommendations for more information.

What happens if ESN freezes?

Freezing temperatures virtually stop release from ESN.  Diffusion of water into the ESN granule is stopped and, if some urea has already begun to dissolve, the release of urea solution through the coating also ceases.  If ESN has not yet hydrated – the urea has not yet begun to dissolve – the urea inside the coating will remain in the solid state until temperatures warm sufficiently for diffusion to begin again.  ESN granules do not rupture, burst, or disintegrate upon freezing and will persist for long periods intact in frozen conditions.  These properties make ESN a great alternative for fall applications in areas where soils are frozen during winter.      

Can ESN be applied in the fall?

Fall nitrogen application may increase the risk of N loss in some environments and is therefore not recommended in those areas.  Spring N application is usually a preferred practice in many regions. Where fall N application is an acceptable practice according to soil type, environmental conditions, and cropping system, ESN is a great alternative to other N sources.  In dryland cropping systems in arid and semi-arid areas, such as W. Canada and the Great Plains, fall may be the preferred application time for ESN.  For these geographies, cool, dry conditions in late spring and early summer, may inhibit release from ESN unless it is incorporated.  Because the N in ESN remains protected thru cold winter periods, it reduces the risk of N loss and can improve N-use efficiency over conventional N sources that pose a greater risk.  Areas that remain warm and wet through winter and early spring may not be suitable for fall ESN application.  In these areas, ESN or ESN blends may be appropriate for some fall-seeded or winter crops.  Consult your ESN dealer or Nutrien representative to discuss fall ESN applications. 

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.