A new controlled-release nitrogen (N) product has been introduced for use in the Corn Belt by Agrium, a nitrogen manufacturer. The product, called ESN, is a polymer-coated urea guaranteed to contain 43% N.

The coating is designed to allow water to diffuse into it and dissolve the urea. That creates a liquid N solution gradually released as temperatures warm up.

University studies and field-scale grower/dealer trials have shown higher corn yields (a 7-bu./acre advantage) at the same N rate and equal or greater yields at lower N rates than conventional N fertilizers in normal or wetter-than-normal conditions. Under dry conditions, responses were smaller and less consistent.

ESN has produced similar yields with 30% less N than a grower's standard application, according to Agrium. Lower incidences of N leaching and denitrification will have greater economic and environmental advantages, says Murray Hasinoff, Agrium's marketing manager.

“The same things that promote the growth of corn will promote the movement of nitrogen,” he says. “ESN is about giving farmers control of their nitrogen program and providing them a tool for better land stewardship.”