Adjuvants Add Value

Last season was a wild and woolly time for most segments of the crop inputs industry — and adjuvant manufacturers joined the fray. They’re hoping strong sales will repeat for 2008. “Farmers need to understand adjuvants play a very essential role in crop protection,” says Tom Pekarek, specialty department manager at United Suppliers, Inc.

Adjuvants By Air

Mid-season applications of corn fungicides by air (to boost plant health) were good news for crop oil suppliers, reports Pekarek. While not a high-margin product, the oils — commonly used a rate of 1 pint per acre with fungicides — helped manufacturers’ bottom line, thanks to the sheer number of growers utilizing aerial application. The oils work to get fungicide down into the crop canopy and enhance efficacy.

James Reiss, vice president – agricultural business with Precision Laboratories Inc., explains that some fungicides, when applied by air, require a pint of crop oil concentrate per acre. “That could be over 6 gallons of crop oil in just 100 gallons of water. We saw a lot of aerial applicators really struggle with those high levels and the mixing problems.”

His company’s possible solution is Protyx, “the first adjuvant designed for systemic fungicides.” With several years of data logged — including trials at 14 sites across the Midwest in 2007 — Reiss says one quart of Protyx per 100 gallons of spray solution delivers the same performance as a pint of crop oil. (At presstime, BASF was still considering which new adjuvants to add to the Headline label for aerial use in 2008. Currently, only crop oils are listed.) He also believes this kind of alternative product is better for the environment, considering the volumes of crop oil needed and amount of packaging waste generated in recent use.

Jon Leman, marketing and sales manager with Wilbur-Ellis, would add that crop-based adjuvants are climbing in price. “Historically we could set our adjuvant prices in the fall — which we get from our suppliers. But we’re still getting price adjustments and increases as we speak,” he says.

The renewed aerial focus in 2007 prompted many companies to evaluate their products in this application arena. For instance, the increased fungicide use in corn resulted in a strong effort at Helena Chemical Co. to do just that. “We want to make sure customers get safe, effective, and thorough coverage and deposition when our adjuvants are used with suppliers’ pesticides,” says Chad Trusler, sales manager, adjuvants and VAP’s at Helena. “As a result, we set up trails in key production areas with different products used for disease or weed control. With our extended portfolio of products and adjuvant technologies, we verified that coverage and deposition requirements demanded for aerial applications would met so that field performance met or exceeeded customers’ expectations.”

Perhaps nowhere is the urgency to make pesticides pay felt more strongly than in glyphosate tolerant crops. Glyphosate prices are reaching unprecedented levels and promise to rise even higher. This at a time when virtually all soybeans planted today possess the glyphosate tolerance trait and anywhere between 60% to 80% (depending on who you talk to) of corn acres carry it.

Careful choice of an adjuvant to match a particular glyphosate formulation is key, says Julian Smith, sales director, specialty formulations with Brandt Consolidated. Indeed, United Suppliers’ Pekarek says the right adjuvant in the tank can increase glyphosate efficacy some 30% to 100%.

Wilbur-Ellis has announced the national launch of a new adjuvant designed to make every drop of glyphosate count. A deposition agent called Coverage G20, “it actually delivers 20% more glyphosate to the target,” says Leman. Receiving great feedback, the agent was test marketed to nearly 1 million acres in North Dakota last year.

A newer use for adjuvants is to help glyphosate tank mix partners — additional active ingredients to help in resistance fighting programs — but the approach did not take off in the Midwest in 2007, says Reiss. But to the South, tank mixing took hold better, and Precision Laboratories’ Simplyx nonionic activator provided “faster activity for the glyphosate piece as well as the mix partner.”

Manufacturers emphasize that tank mix partner chemistries are tricky: Glyphosate likes water, while most of its mix partners prefer oil. Another product that can help is Destiny HC, a high surfactant oil concentrate from Winfield Solutions, LLC that uses methylated seed oil. It is effective at rates about one-half those of crop oil and doesn’t antagonize glyphosate, reports Bruce Senst, director of marketing — adjuvants and equipment with the company.

In fact, he says many new herbicides (especially glyphosate tank partners) require high surfactant oil concentrates and water conditioners. “A significant number of those newcomers will require extra attention to tank cleaning between fields.”

Many previously used chemistries also will be brought back to fields for weed control, thanks to the glyphosate price hikes, believes Chuck Champion, president, Kalo Inc. “This will dictate different adjuvant use strategies that were familiar years ago, before GMO crops were in place.”

Value Propositions

Adjuvants can add even more value to a glyphosate program when other compounds, such as micronutrients, can be included to the spray mix. Research at Purdue University and Kansas State University shows that glyphosate-tolerant crops balk at translocating manganese from the soil. And trying to feed manganese as well as zinc by foliar application doesn’t work: “Manganese and zinc antagonize the performance of glyphosate,” says Reiss. Enter Import, a new chemistry from Precision Laboratories, via an exclusive agreement with Canadian technology partners. By adding Import to the tank, “you can make your micronutrient and glyphosate application at the same time and still get excellent weed control — and you don’t have to use an expensive chelated micro,” says Reiss.

“This is going to be able to provide retailers with an opportunity to increase profitability for themselves by marketing micronutrients on glyphosate acres. Plus it’s a great opportunity for growers to overcome some of the yield drag they’ve experienced over the years,” he adds.

Aiding micronutrients is just one way adjuvants are getting more sophisticated. Manufacturers have gone beyond surfactant/leaf penetrant qualities to create “combination” adjuvants, which offer buffers, water conditioners, and drift retardants as well. Brandt Consolidated is bringing a new molecule with just such activity to the market this year, reports Smith. Called Prolec, it’s a wetter/spreader/drift control agent that also can acidify the spray water. Bottom line: “The way to maximize a spray return is often through the choice of the appropriate adjuvant,” says Smith.

One newer flexible adjuvant is TRONIC, from Kalo, Inc. It’s a vegetable oil nonionic surfactant designed for mixtures where the label recommends a nonionic surfactant (NIS) and/or a crop oil adjuvant. “TRONIC can be used as a single tank additive for both requirements when the herbicide label doesn’t restrict adjuvant recommendation for crop oils, methylated seed oil, or nonionic surfactants only,” explains Champion.

New For 2008
 Product  Action  Company
 TRONIC Vegetable-derived oil and surfactant replacement Kalo, Inc.
 Import  Activator for glyphosate and micronutrient tank mixes. Precision Laboratories Inc.
Downdraft Deposition and canopy penetration agent. United Suppliers, Inc.
Pre-Long Sticker/extender United Suppliers, Inc.
Destiny HC High surfactant oil concentrate Winfield Solutions, LLC (new to company)

Growers will be counting on agronomists at local dealerships for information on adjuvant recommendations, notes Senst. Once chosen, adjuvants can really show their stuff in stress conditions such as dry, hot, wet, or cold weather. “Under stress, differences in adjuvant quality really show. The marginal performance of cheap formulations will be accentuated.” says Reiss.

Champion would warn that dry conditions like those felt in many regions last year affect late-season herbicide applications because the weeds have become “hardened off,” thereby becoming more resistant to herbicide uptake. He says methylated vegetable oil adjuvants (MVO) help, but applicators need to be careful to avoid injury to the crop. “Standard crop oils are also helpful in these situations with less phytotoxicity concern vs. an MVO,” he explains.

Industry In Flux

Adjuvant suppliers expressed concern about the industry as a whole this year. All sectors are facing unusual pressures in “the availability of components and supply issues,” says Pekarek. “We’re encouraging our dealers to be more forward-thinking about their needs. We can’t think it’s going to continue to be like walking into a grocery store and getting what we want off the shelf.” And growers and dealerships can’t assume what they pay today will be what they pay tomorrow.

“Overall supply and economics seem to be very volatile,” says Wilbur-Ellis’ Leman. “As an industry, we’re used to people setting prices at the beginning of the year. Now, it just changes so rapidly. It’s a different paradigm.”

He reflects on the impact to the distribution chain: “We’ve been in a 25-year trend of eliminating distribution, but this year, with short supplies, independent dealers find themselves in need of good quality distributors like they haven’t needed to do in a while. Somebody who’s anticipating and has supplies, even with prices changing,” says Leman. “Right now, it’s more about supply and timeliness and some of those other service attributes.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Adjuvants Stories

AdjuvantsAdjuvants 2014: Who Needs Good Crop Prices?
March 3, 2014
Apparently not the adjuvants market as new herbicide technologies and other influences have manufacturers ramping up production in anticipation of another splendid season for adjuvant adoption. Read More
AdjuvantsNew Adjuvants Report Forecasts A Growing Market
November 1, 2013
The global agriculture adjuvant market valued at around $2 million in 2012 is expected to to reach nearly $3 million by 2018. Read More
AdjuvantsAdjuvants: Activating Yields
March 1, 2013
Manufacturers are ramping up production of specialty adjuvants as the tank mix takes center stage in the weed resistance fight. Read More

Trending Articles

CropLife 100Agrium To Cut 500 Jobs, Sell Some Businesses
November 11, 2014
Among the businesses Agrium will try to sell are its micronutrients and European UAN (urea-ammonium nitrate) lines. Read More
HerbicidesMonsanto, Sumitomo Chemical And Valent Extend Crop Protection Collaboration
November 10, 2014
The agreement extends their strategic partnership in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions platform for soybeans and cotton in the U.S. Read More
FertilizerCorn Rootworm Hybrids And Potassium Uptake
November 4, 2014
To achieve successful yields, grower-customers can’t afford to cut back on their potassium use with corn rootworm hybrids, say experts. Read More
StewardshipResponsibleAg Begins Auditor Training
October 31, 2014
ResponsibleAg auditor training is now underway at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More

Latest News

EquipmentAGCO Announces Operator Of The Year Finalists
November 20, 2014
Four custom applicators have been selected by AGCO Application Equipment as finalists for 2014 Operator of the Year, an honor that recognizes them as being among the top professionals in their industry throughout North America. Read More
MicronutrientsH.J. Baker Expands Tiger-Sul Business
November 20, 2014
H.J. Baker has created and filled two strategic positions in business development and sales within its Crop Performance Division. Read More
soybean field
FertilizerGeneral Mills Honors United Suppliers For Nitrogen Opti…
November 19, 2014
United Suppliers winning proposal detailed SUSTAIN, a consulting network that provides customized products and services for farmers using a needs-based system approach. Read More
EmployeesOhio AgriBusiness Association Awards $25,000 In Scholar…
November 19, 2014
Each year, the Ohio AgriBusiness Association Educational Trust scholarship program awards scholarship dollars to students enrolled in an agriculture-related field attending several state colleges. Read More
ManagementServi-Tech Names New CEO
November 17, 2014
Servi-Tech has named Greg Ruehle its new president and CEO. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Ag Acquires Colorado Aerial Application Outlet
November 17, 2014
Ft. Lupton, CO-based Reck Aviation — a full-service chemical application company providing aerial crop applications of fertilizers and crop protection products — will operate as part of Pinnacle's AgOne Application Services brand. Read More
Eric SfiligojMcDonald’s Message: Biotech Crops Scarier Than Cancer
November 17, 2014
Despite their potential health benefits, one of the world’s largest potato users will pass on a new biotech offering. Read More
MicronutrientsWinField Releases 2014 NutriSolutions Results
November 14, 2014
A number of significant regional and national crop deficiency trends emerged from the 2014 WinField NutriSolutions tissue sampling program. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Opens Chinese Production Lines
November 14, 2014
The occasion was the official launch of the Tiger-Sul sulphur Bentonite production line of two much anticipated fertilizer products in China, T90CR sulphur fertilizer and TZinc micronutrient enhanced sulphur fertilizer. Read More
ManagementOhio Certified Crop Adviser Program Accepting Nominatio…
November 14, 2014
The award recognizes an individual who delivers exceptional customer service for farmer clients in nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management and crop production in Ohio. Read More
HerbicidesSyngenta Announces Acuron Trial Plot Results
November 14, 2014
Acuron was tested at 167 trial locations across 35 states. Trials included 95 Syngenta locations, 54 university locations and 18 distributor locations. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Expands Sales Force
November 13, 2014
The new sales representatives will work with growers, retail partners and distributors to oversee technical training and product education. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Raises $100K For Wounded Warrior Project
November 13, 2014
AGCO Corp. partnered with local AGCO dealers across the U.S. and Canada to raise nearly $100,000 in support of wounded service veterans. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Launch Of Enlist Duo Herbici…
November 12, 2014
It will be launched in conjunction with a stewarded introduction of Enlist corn, and seed production of Enlist soybeans in 2015. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Expands Tiger-Sul Business
November 12, 2014
Agricultural firm H.J. Baker has created and filled two strategic positions in business development and sales within its Crop Performance Division. Read More
Blenders13 Fertilizer Blenders For 2015
November 12, 2014
Dealers can find a fertilizer blender to deliver any speed, volume and custom mix they want. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Vice President Receives Honorary FFA Award
November 11, 2014
Jim Loar, vice president of operations of Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness Division, was awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree at the 2014 National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, KY. Read More
FertilizerBASF Makes Limus Nitrogen Management Available In U.S.
November 11, 2014
Reducing ammonia losses by more than 90%, Limus nitrogen management has demonstrated increased crop yields on average of 6%, according to 2013 replicated research. Read More