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Using adjuvants to enhance crop protection effectiveness

Using adjuvants to enhance crop protection effectiveness

These products can increase surface contact and reduce runoff

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Farmers looking for an additional measure to enhance the effectiveness of crop protection products may want to consider adjuvants.

These products are designed to “fix pH in water to get the water to the proper pH levels,” Kevin Erikson, an agronomy sales manager with Wilbur-Ellis Company, told “It’s another tool to make chemistry work at its maximum potential.”

By correcting the pH levels in water during herbicide applications, for example, farmers can be confident the product they’re applying will have good contact with the weeds they’re trying to control.

“Adjuvants help hold the solution on the leaf and cut the cuticle to help the chemistry get into the plant to actually get active,” Erikson said. “You sometimes hear people say they make water wetter, which means it helps spread the chemistry across the field.”

Growers can also use adjuvants with pesticides and fungicides too, Erikson added.

Adjuvants come in three categories:

  • Surfactants, which increase contact, reduce runoff and increase leaf penetration.
  • Oil-based, which slow the drying of chemistry droplets to help increase absorption.
  • Spray utility agents, which lower the spray solution pH to stabilize product activity.

Using adjuvants can have multiple benefits for growers.

These include better weed control, reduced plant stress and improved yields.

Most crop protection products call for adjuvants, Erikson said.

“I don’t know any herbicide that doesn’t have an adjuvant recommendation,” he said. “Take (glyphosate), for example. That comes fully loaded but there’s still a water conditioner that has to go in to correct pH and in drier conditions it calls for a surfactant to help it along.”

Farmers who may be new to adjuvants only need to look at the product label to find out what’s appropriate for a specific product, Erikson said.

“The labels are very specific,” he said.

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