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
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
Latest News
Eric SfiligojMonsanto Hears The WHO
March 27, 2015
Another challenge to the safety of glyphosate, and the responses from supporters and opponents, calls to mind a classic Dr. Seuss story. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Plant Food Expands Sales Team
March 27, 2015
Monty’s Plant Food Company, a leader in natural soil enhancement and  plant fertility products, has hired Andrew Bullock as a Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Louisiana Plant Poised For 2015 Production
March 26, 2015
As the 2015 planting season gets underway, growers across the country will need crop protection products to combat pests and Read More
Lake Erie Nutrient Stewardship
LegislationOhio Lawmakers Finalize Phosphorus Restrictions
March 25, 2015
State lawmakers on Wednesday finalized new rules designed to curb toxic algal blooms on Lake Erie, calling the regulations a major step forward in addressing the problem. Read More
Spreaders17 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2015
March 25, 2015
Manufacturers shoot for versatility and accuracy in this year's crop of fertilizer spreaders. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Hires Mid-South Product Consultant
March 25, 2015
Monty's Plant Food Co. has hired Matt Woodring as a Product Consultant for portions of Central Kentucky and Tennessee.    Read More
StewardshipMapShots Integrates With DriftWatch
March 23, 2015
Growers and agricultural providers using AgStudio FARM and AgStudio PRO can now view vital information about specialty crops and apiaries through a recent integration with the DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site Registry from FieldWatch, Inc. Read More
Crop InputsWorld Health Organization Report Contradicts Scientific…
March 23, 2015
A new report from the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate with a “2A” rating as a probable carcinogen, a Read More
Eric SfiligojSeed Treatment Stays Necessary
March 20, 2015
Grower-customers looking to scale back spending in 2015 won’t consider seed treatment, say experts. Read More
HerbicidesMARCH MADNESS: Industry Rallies Around Glyphosate Safet…
March 20, 2015
A newly published report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the herbicide glyphosate as a "2A-rated possible carcinogen" and the ag industry responds by circling the wagons. Read More
ManagementRetail Week: Precision survey, a technology acquisition…
March 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sflilgoj discuss recent travel, the upcoming precision adoption survey, and an unusual sighting at a Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Launching TerraGrow Soil Inoculant
March 20, 2015
TerraGrow is a blend of beneficial bacterial and fungal spores and nutrients carefully designed to promote healthier soil and crops. Read More
Winter Wheat
AdjuvantsMax Systems Debuts New Adjuvant NanoRevolution 2.0
March 18, 2015
Added to a tank mix of glyphosate at the conservative rate of two to four ounces per acre, NanoRevolution 2.0 has proven effective in killing resistant weed species that had already had up to two applications of the leading glyphosate product. Read More
Photo credit: United Soybean Board/the Soybean Checkoff
Seed/BiotechAgnition Launches Microbial Catalyst Seed Treatment
March 18, 2015
Agnition it has launched Commence for Soybeans, a microbial catalyst seed treatment for soybeans that stimulates microbial activity for healthier soil and a superior growth environment. Read More
4R Certified, Nutrient Stewardship Council,
StewardshipTyler Grain & Fertilizer Now 4R Certified
March 18, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Tyler Grain & Fertilizer Co. in Smithville, OH, has been added to Read More
V.R. "Swede" Roskam
ManagementFormer MACA President V.R. ‘Swede’ Roskam P…
March 17, 2015
Former Mid America CropLife Association President V.R. “Swede” Roskam died unexpectedly in Wheaton, IL, on March 13, 2015 at the age of 85. Read More
corn field
Industry NewsNovaSource Announces Organizational Changes
March 17, 2015
Bob Gestring has accepted the position of Director of Sales, North America and Kyle Coleman has accepted a promotion to the role of Marketing Director, North America. Read More