What’s the Value of an Adjuvant?
May. 28, 2020
Imagine you’ve invested in a new state-of-the-art planter. You’ve done all the planter maintenance and calibration to set up for a successful spring, but in the midst of all that prep, you forgot to fuel up your tractor. Without the tractor, that expensive planter can’t do its job.
You can use the same analogy for adjuvants and crop protection products. You might choose to invest in the most expensive herbicide, fungicide and insecticide, but they won’t perform as well as they should without the right adjuvant.
Sorting out adjuvant classes
“Adjuvant” is a broad term used for any substance that can improve the performance of a crop protection product. There are different classes of adjuvants, including:
• Water conditioners — Help ensure herbicides get into plants and don’t get tied up by cations in hard water
• Nonionic surfactants — Help spread pesticides on the leaf’s surface to improve plant coverage.
• Crop-oil concentrates — Help slow the drying of a herbicide droplet on the leaf and improve penetration into the leaf.
• Methylated seed oils — Help improve penetration through waxy plant cuticles and are usually used in more extreme environments.
• Drift and deposition aids — Help minimize particle drift by reducing driftable fine particles in a solution and improve product coverage deeper into a crop’s canopy.
Making the most of spray applications
If spray applications are done right the first time, they can save dollars and headaches in the long run. Adding the right adjuvant is just one step you can take to make sure you’re optimizing the performance of your crop protection products. If you aren’t sure what adjuvant to include in your tank mix, consult your trusted advisor. One size doesn’t fit all, so you’ll need to consider the products you plan to spray as well as the environmental conditions in order to choose the right adjuvant for your needs.
When selecting an adjuvant, look for research that demonstrates its value. If there isn’t data available to support why you would use one adjuvant over another, then you may want to rethink what you’re putting in your tank. For example, WinField® United wind tunnel data from 2018 shows that InterLock® adjuvant can help reduce driftable fines by up to 60%, greatly reducing the risk of off-target drift. InterLock is formulated to optimize spray droplet size so less product is lost due to drift or evaporation before the herbicide gets into the plant.
In addition to adjuvants, be sure to take other steps to help optimize the efficacy of spray applications. For the most effective applications, ensure that your sprayer is set up correctly, that you have the right nozzles and an adequate spray volume for appropriate plant coverage, and that you’ve read the product label.
Farming is a long-term commitment, and the decisions you make today will affect management decisions and costs down the road. Adding an adjuvant can be an efficient way to improve product performance today to reduce pest problems in the future.
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