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Overview of Aerial Application of Pesticide Formulation & Adjuvant Technologies Launched in Chinaqrcode

Jul. 2, 2020

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Jul. 2, 2020


In 2019, China's aerial pesticide application sector ushered in a boom period. As of December 2019, the number of China's aerial application UAV reached 50,000 units, becoming the country with the largest number of aerial pesticide applicators that can cover a service area of over 30 million hectares. Aerial pesticide application UAV has developed rapidly in China, but the available pesticide formulations fit for aerial application is inadequate. More research into pesticide formulations, such as anti-drifting and anti-evaporation formulations, should be conducted, accompanied by selected adjuvants for aerial pesticide applications, especially versatile adjuvants with the functions of anti-drifting, anti-evaporation, enhancement of deposition, adhesion and absorption.

Droplet size, flight height and meteorological conditions are all key factors in the drifting of pesticides. For this reason, many practices and explorations have been carried out within the industry to improve anti-drifting techniques, such as improving nozzle design, increasing droplet size, changing droplet electric charge, enhancing absorption, adding adjuvants and changing the physical property of droplets. Above all, the development of anti-drifting pesticides and adjuvants has become a key goal of leading pesticide companies worldwide, which are constantly improving their techniques and accelerating their releases of upgraded products. Now, let us follow these companies to see what they have explored in this regard, and what products they have launched that are worthy of note.

FMC: Kuanxinfei

Since September 2018, FMC officially released its UAV application operations, represented by the product, Coragen® (20% chlorantraniliprole SC). Thereafter, FMC has been exploring and trying to achieve breakthroughs in UAV application technology. As a result, on 30th April, 2019, FMC published an aerial application technical guideline for its metamifop herbicides, Daoqingqing  (5% metamifop+ 5% cyhalofop-butyl EC) for use on rice, which again began a new era of aerial pesticide application.

Coragen® (200g / L chlorantraniliprole SC) is efficient and flexible in tank-mix operations, making it suited to aerial pesticide applications.
The patented compound, metamifop, Hanqiuhao® (10% metamifop EC)  also launched by FMC, can control various types of grassy weeds, such as paddy barnyard grass, moleplant seed, crab grass and eleusine indica. The product is safe and has low toxicity, good solubility, low volatility, high flash point, high specific weight and low viscosity, reflecting its compliance to aerial pesticide application requirements.             
FMC's fungicide, Liangyou® (16% trifloxystrobin + 32% tebuconazole), is a novel field fungicide launched by the company in 2020, with a content as high as 48%. It is an ideal fungicide for controlling rice sheath blight, false smut and wheat powdery mildew. As the highest AI content-containing in SC formulation fungicide, it features the advantages of easy to use, fast dissolution, and smooth spraying, making it good for aerial pesticide applications and enhancement of plant potential. The product provides an efficient and multiplied pest control experience.

Syngenta: Yilaituo®

With the rapid development of aerial pesticide application, Syngenta launched its U-Companion brand dedicated to aerial application, which released many products. Meanwhile, the company will work with industry partners to conduct a series of UAV safety and aerial application-related training courses, which will integrate "safe application + technical criterion + product service" practices to achieve Syngenta's corporate vision of sustainable development and precision agriculture.

In March 2019, Syngenta released its aerial pesticide application-oriented Yilaituo® (difenoconazole+propiconazole), which is highly effective in controlling rice sheath blight, rice false smut and rice kernel smut. Yilaituo EC is highly compatible to spraying systems, being suitable for use with mainstream pressure spray heads and centrifugal spray heads. Accordingly, smooth spraying is ensured.

In terms of tank-mix tests and trials, Syngenta has conducted a stability test on high concentration diluents, which showed good stability through the mixed use of Yilaituo with the common formulations of Syngenta that is suitable for aerial pesticide applications. The results of field trials show that the effect of Yilaituo is stable. During testing, Yilaituo’s adhesion to leaf surfaces was satisfactory, and it diffuses well and acts effectively on crops.

Yilaituo has been widely used in the rice production areas of Heilongjiang, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces in China. At the end of 2019, its use via aerial spraying covered more than 66,600 hectares of crop land.

"BASF takes you to fly"

In 2018, BASF's Agricultural Solutions launched a special aerial pesticide application program in China, titled, "BASF takes you to fly." The program integrates BASF’s innovative fungicides, Opera® (12.3% pyraclostrobin  + 4.7% epoxiconazole) and DAO QING® (9% pyraclostrobin), which are dedicated to aerial application and provide growers in China's main rice and wheat production regions with UAV spraying options, helping them save labor costs and maximizing agricultural productivity to achieve yield increases. In 2018, the program completed aerial applications on over 6,600 hectares of crop land in China. Through continued product introduction and promotion, BASF’s program has covered major crops in China, especially high-value cash crops and vegetables.

So far, BASF's products suitable for aerial application include BASAGRAN®, DAO QING®, ALLEGRO®, ADEXAR®,OPUS®, YINGWEI ® and ARIETTA®.

Corteva Agriscience: ZORVEC ENIBEL®

Corteva's ZORVEC ENIBEL® is the first premix product in its Zorvec® series.

ZORVEC ENIBEL (oxathiapiprolin 2.8% + famoxadone SC 28.2%) has a unique action site and brand-new action mechanism, which achieve a satisfactory fungicidal effect via the inhibition of OSBP. This efficient oomycete technique decreases management costs and increases agricultural operation efficiency. It is also an ideal agent for comprehensive disease control, and its added famoxadone broadens its fungicidal spectrum to effectively control late blight and early blight. It is an effective formulation that can be easily used for aerial applications.

ADAMA: Lingshan®

In line with the new trend for pest control, ADAMA has launched an aerial application-oriented insecticide, Lingshan®, which is a buprofezin 40% SC. Buprofezin is one of the most successful insect growth regulators in the world, which can effectively control homoptera pests. After the formulation optimization conducted by ADAMA Nanjing R&D Center, buprofezin’s long-lasting effect and high selectivity properties have been fully utilized, which is especially suitable to new application methods such as aerial spraying. Meanwhile, its mixability with other conventional pesticides has also been improved.

Guangxi Tianyuan: Ultra Low Volume Liquid

Back in 2009, Guangxi Tianyuan Biochemistry began the research and development of the ultra-low volume (ULV) application technology, the high efficiency application technique and the aerial application-oriented techniques. By 2013, the company filed 128 ultra-low volume patents, having been delegated by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to establish a Key Lab for Research and Development of Pesticide Formulation and Application Technique.

At present, Guangxi Tianyuan is the first ULV registered company in China and the only enterprise registered for application to field crops. The company has so far achieved application registrations of more than 30 products and owns 17 certified ULV products. Moreover, 109 patents related to ULV products and spraying operations have been filed. Guangxi Tianyuan’s ULV series has the advantages of anti-drifting, anti-evaporation, high stability and good mixability(Table 1).

Nanjing Scienx Ecotechnology: Nanopesticide

Since 2016, Nanjing Scienx Ecotechnology has been focusing on the research of aerial pesticide application-oriented formulations for the control of rice and wheat insect pests, having successfully used the nanotechnology to develop a water-based nano-formulation dedicated to aerial application for use in rice and wheat fields. The relevant products have the advantages of application reduction and efficiency improvement, green and safe, easy to handle, which can be customized according to the requirements of clients.

Over the last three years, besides the nano-pesticide verification test carried out nationwide, the company has conducted a number of exploratory field efficacy trials and applications of maturational nano-pesticide products. According to statistics, in 2017, the exploratory field efficacy trials and applications were conducted in 24 locations, which increased to 34 in 2018 and further increased to 62 in 2019. The trial and application area has reached accumulatively to 666,000 hectares.

Until now, the pesticides, which can be manufactured via nanotechnology, are as follows:

In response to the aerial pesticide application-oriented formulations required for the control of corn spodoptera frugiperda and cabbage diamondback moth, the company developed the mamectin benzoate micro emulsion 5.7% and 3.4%, respectively, which are not added to any organic solvents or cosolvents, and the adjuvants being used are natural products or natural derivatives which are environment-friendly and biodegradable. Before and after dilution, the pesticide particles have a good stability and dispersity and the formulations have a high viscosity. The relevant product field trials and efficacy tests have been conducted nationwide, with results showing a fast-acting and long-lasting effect. Moreover, the nanopesticides - emamectin benzoate mixing with lambda-cyhalothrin, emamectin benzoate mixing with indoxacarb, have a control efficiency of above 90% in 3d and 7-10d after application. According to statistics, in 2019, the emamectin benzoate micro emulsion 5.7% was used for a demonstrative control of spodoptera frugiperda in the provinces of Yunnan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Jiangsu, Anhui, Hainan, Heilongjiang, Hebei, Shandong and Fujian for an area of nearly 15,000 hectares, having proved its quick and long-lasting effect.


Veyong Biochemical

Since 2011, Veyong Biochemical has established an aerial application program, having formed its professional research team engaged in the selection of products from the years of solutions, as appropriate to the needs of aerial application. Through the study and assortment of data related to rice, corn and wheat-targeted formulations and the effect of control, Veyong R & D Center has formulated its production standard as applicable to aerial application, such that the company can be shaped into a professional supplier of aerial application-oriented pesticide formulations.

In the 4th Safe and Scientific Pesticide Application Demonstration Appraisal Meeting, the company's Veyong Rice Yield Increase and Health Management Solution was honored as the “2018 Excellent Crop Health Management Solution”. The aerial application-oriented formulations launched by the company include azoxystrobin SC, clothianidin SC and thidiazuron+diuron.  

By the end of 2019, Veyong Biochemical had carried out more than 100 agricultural aerial application demonstrations in 18 provinces, including Hebei, Henan, Hunan and Xinjiang. Its satisfactory control effect is regarded highly by users, while the accumulated applications have covered 666,000 hectares of agricultural land.

Solvay: Tank-mix adjuvant

For more than 20 years, Solvay has been a leading formula designer of agricultural tank-mix adjuvant. The natural guar gum modified polymer is the core technology platform of Solvay’s adjuvant development program, which has accumulated decades of research and production experiences worldwide. Up to now, six series tank-mix adjuvant products have been developed, which are of guar gum anti-drifting capability and have synergistic functions. The guar gum anti-drifting products of the company have played an important role in solving the complex process of pesticide spraying.

In the field of guar gum technology, the latest generation oil-based multi-purpose AgRho® Starguar adjuvant released by Solvay integrates various effects such as anti-drifting, anti-evaporation, anti-bouncing, rain fastness and synergism.  

The AgRho Starguar Control was launched in 2015, which is the first adjuvant for use with dicamba, being approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a mandatory DRA to reduce and control the risk of droplet drift during the spraying of dicamba in a soybean crop field. This product has been applied to 10 million hectares of crop land in North America and will be widely used in Brazil from 2021. The other oil-based emulsion anti-drifting product, AgRho Versa Twin, is a result of a breakthrough in droplet size, retention, bouncing and surface adhesion. It was first launched in 2007 being applied to the Roundup Ready GM soybean, having been used in the US covering more than 30 million hectares of crop land. It is one of the popular brands among American farmers.

Aiming at China's aerial pesticide applications, Solvay has launched its AgRho® Aeromate series, based on the remarkable field trial results. In 2018, Solvay successfully launched AgRho® Aeromate 320 and AgRho® Starguar 4A in the Chinese market. Through its anti-drifting, anti-evaporation and anti-bounce features, the product can accurately locate and directly act on the target, with the achievement of enhanced efficacy. Solvay has been making continuous innovation and in 2019 launched the latest high-concentration guar gum anti-drifting product AgRho® Aeromate 380, which provides a variety of optimized performance and options for aerial pesticide applications aiming at improving the biological efficiency.

Agricultural tank-mix adjuvant is expected to continue its rapid development and will become an advanced tool for the development of precision agriculture in the future. In the US, Brazil, Australia and Europe, especially while spraying of a variety of herbicide mixtures, the tank-mix adjuvants will help improve the safety, reduce the amount of application and minimize the losses from the target of the application. The adjuvant development will also promote the development of the UAV and other new spraying technologies in the course of the agricultural digital revolution in China.

SINVOCHEM: SP-4506 synergist

SINVOCHEM is a national high-tech enterprise dedicated to the development of polymer surfactants for environment-friendly applications. The SP-4506 developed by the company is a synergistic agent which can regulate the droplet diffusion after spraying, which are evenly sprayed and diffused, with a good anti-drifting effect. At the same time, the product has a good anti-evaporation property in high temperatures and dry environment, to ensure the effectiveness of the application. The product is fit to use in a tank-mix aerial application and can also be used in other applications such as a mechanical boom sprayer and air-assisted sprayer. It is mainly used to solve the problem of droplet vaporization and drifting with the wind in the course of droplet transmission under the high-concentration dilution circumstance, whilst enhancing the adhesive force and wettability of droplet.

When being used in a tank-mix aerial application, it can improve the dilution stability of the liquid to effectively maintain the droplet size within a reasonable range of diffusion, such that the drift is reduced, droplet deposition is facilitated, evaporation is controlled and adhesion to crops is improved.

Momentive: Silwet adjuvants

Momentive Performance Materials is a global organosilicon industry leader, being the forerunner of agricultural organosilicon industry. The company has done considerable research into pesticide formulation, tank-mix and aerial pesticide applications. The company provides customers with high-quality products and technical guidance, supported by its detailed and precise data. The Silwet synergistic agents released by the company has stood out prominently for its effective control of the resistant insect pests and weeds as well as for its adaptability to aerial application.

The Silwet aerial application-oriented adjuvants have the characteristics of anti-flocculation, anti-drifting, anti-evaporation, deposition and efficiency enhancement, which can effectively solve the problems encountered in the process of aerial pesticide application.

Guilin Jiqi Biochemical: “1-spray 3-saving” adjuvants

The “1-spray 3-saving” adjuvant launched by Guilin Jiqi Biochemical contains hyper-branched fatty amine-modified polymer, hyper-branched fatty alcohol ether modified polymer and polyoxyethylene ether-based modified trisiloxane compound, which are the main ingredients. The product not only has the advantages of anti-drifting and anti-evaporation but also has a good spread, penetration and systemicity, which can effectively improve the utilization rate of pesticides. This kind of adjuvant is of minimal toxicity, almost non-toxic after dilution, being safe for crops and the environment.

The Nongjianfei adjuvant released by the company has the following advantages:

- Reduction in the surface tension of the pesticide diluent and enhancement of the atomization effect;
- Increase in droplet deposition;
- Improvement in the anti-drifting property of droplets, reduction in the interference caused by the turbulence of UAV, mitigation of pesticide damage and improvement in the utilization rate;
- Improvement of the adhesion, wettability and spread of the liquid to improve the efficacy and reduce the interference of airflow on the deposition of droplets;
- The reduction of the evaporation of droplets under high temperatures and prolonging of the duration of action.
- Rainfastness, reduction of the losses of active ingredients of pesticides.

Beijing Grand AgroChem: Maifei

The aerial application-oriented synergist Maifei developed by the Beijing Grand AgroChem has the advantages of anti-drifting, anti-evaporation, enhanced deposition, adhesion and absorption. The test results show that the adding of the spray adjuvant Maifei in the process of aerial application will reduce the amount of use, which helps to achieve the high utilization rate of 40%, which is beneficial to the realization of the negative growth of pesticide use.

The product can be mixed with the aerial application-oriented pesticide formulations available on the market, thus significantly improve the utilization rate of pesticide formulations sprayed via aerial applications. So far, the product has been widely promoted and used in Northeast China, Northwest China, East China and Central China, having been highly regarded by crop protection companies, aerial application services and major growers.

This article was initially published in AgroPages '2020 Formulation & Adjuvant Technology' magazine. Download it to read more articles.

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