For Adjuvants, It’s A New World

Tank mixing order

Getting the best return for your growers’ herbicide investment gives value to using adjuvants. And now that agriculture is dealing with glyphosate resistance, many different herbicides are being used in a tank mix, and those products may react differently to various adjuvants.

We gathered advice from distributors and other industry experts to help you sort through the choices you’ll need to make.

With rising commodity prices and educated growers realizing the value of crop inputs, it’s changing perception about the value of adjuvant use. “The current commodity prices make it easier for growers to see a positive and more consistent ROI on secondary inputs,” says Jim Reiss, Precision Laboratories vice president of ag chemistries. “Also, I think some growers are starting to sense a moral obligation to maximize food production to ensure some level of security for a growing world population.”

Reiss adds: “As growers and applicators use more multiple-component  tank mixes, whether it’s for managing resistant weeds pre or postemergence or enhancing yields with fungicides and foliar nutrition products, there is much more tank mixing.”

More complex decisions mean determining the best way to mesh the proper adjuvants with crop protection inputs. “As the fight against resistant weeds ramps up, and applicators desire to accomplish the multiple objectives of weed control, insect control, plant health and nutrition — in a single application, we’ll see more tank mixing than ever before,” says Reiss.

Tank Mix Concerns

His advice is to beware of the tank mix. “Just because you can add many products to the tank at one time, doesn’t make it a good idea,” he says. “Everything may look like it should mix together, but it won’t without the right technique and mixing sequence.”

According to Reiss, there are two problem areas. “For weed control, it could mean lower levels of performance from the tank mix partner selected to manage resistant weeds,” he says. “Most tank mix partners for glyphosate have significantly different adjuvant needs. In fact, some of the adjuvants used successfully with glyphosate won’t contribute much to optimizing performance of the tank mix partner.”

The second area of concern is greater risk of compatibility problems. “Using the wrong mixing sequencing can cause physical incompatibility and plug sprayer lines, screens and nozzles. Some of these problems take time to clean a sprayer, resulting in lost time and application revenue. If you’re a grower, these delays in weed control may mean lower yields from increased competition,” says Reiss.

Precision Laboratories offers the iPhone and iPad Touch application, which provides proper mixing order for growers using crop protection tank mixes, plus new drift control technology for aerial applicators. Check out the free download on the App Store.

Reiss points out: “Most growers and applicators don’t wake up in the morning thinking that using an adjuvant would make everything better, but maybe they should more than they’ve done in the past. They need to question how adjuvant technology is going to enhance the biological efficacy of the tank mix while protecting the environment and themselves from the risks associated with drift. Hopefully, retailers will welcome these questions and build trust with their customers.”

Terry Nash, manager adjuvant brands for Helena Chemical, says: “From our standpoint, specialty products such as adjuvants, micronutrient and foliar fertilizers have become part of a normal toolbox from burndown to desiccation and everything in between.” A new product Helena is offering in 2012 is Fire-Zone, a unique blend of methylated seed oils and surfactants designed exclusively for burndown.

“When you think about farming, weather has always been the story in most areas. We can’t rely on blanket recommendations. We have sales reps trained to ask the questions needed to help the retailer determine the specific products needed in certain situations, depending on what the grower wants to accomplish,” says Nash. “We also have support staff to help sales reps and retailers being bombarded by numerous situations during the growing season.

“Our goal is to protect every investment the grower makes. Research shows that 70% of the efficacy of the product applied is dependent upon proper application and proper product choice,” he says.

“Retailers and distributors alike should be focused on providing the right recommendations for the proper products in the proper tank mixes at the proper timing.” adds Nash.

The Resistance Issue

Ken Carmack, crop protection area sales manager for MFA Inc., agrees that the critical issue seen in their sales area is more different weed species resistant to glyphosate. “People are struggling with what product to add to get control of resistant weeds,” says Carmack. “Many growers have not sprayed anything except glyphosate for many years, and many of the products we had before are no longer around. We’re in the process of re-educating everyone about what adjuvants do and how they enhance weed control.”

Carmack notes that one lesson learned in 2011 was that foliar nutrition applied with proper timing improves plant health, which in turn leads to higher yields. “Many of our recommendations for 2012 are going to revolve around spraying weeds when they are small and choosing the right adjuvants for the tank mix,” he says. “Retailers need to work with distributors who have agronomic specialists to help in giving the best advice to their growers to aid in choosing the proper surfactants for the weed species and the pesticides.”

There’s no longer a “normal” toolbox when it comes to crop protection, says Carmack. “Our philosophy at MFA is to look at our offering, upgrade when needed and not to make the product line too large,” he says. “This year we will have a full launch on a new product called Torrid.”

Carmack points out that many growers farming large acreages have invested in large spray rigs, but they still need help from their retailer to match adjuvants with pesticides. Many MFA retail stores will be holding spray clinics to discuss growers’ general questions about pesticide application. “Most growers today understand the value of making a relatively small investment in specialty products to protect the value of a large herbicide investment. They are risk adverse.”

Jeff Bunting, GROW­MARK crop protection marketing manager, supports a viewpoint similar to other major distributors. He adds: “Drift control to do responsible environmental stewardship is important and that revolves around droplet control with the chemicals sprayed. To do right by your farmers, retailers need to recommend products and practices so the potential for weed control failure is limited.”

Other Considerations

“Retailers are being approached by many companies,” points out Dr. Bryan Young, professor at University of Southern Illinois. “To maintain credibility, retailers should maintain vigor in the products they’re testing and recommending to their valued customers. Let’s not be wasting any money, so be aware that some companies don’t have the research to back up their claims.”

Young suggest that retailers learn the different definitions and categories of adjuvants, noting that more than 600 different adjuvants are in the marketplace. He recommends a pocket guide that may be bound at   

“With glyphosate resistant weeds and more tank mixes, adjuvants are relative again,” says Young. “You need to use a methylated seed oil to activate some herbicides, and take into consideration that glyphosate is water-activated.

“Adjuvants really do enhance herbicide performance, especially when using tank mixes to enhance volunteer corn and waterhemp control when using glyphosate,” he says. “It might mean the different between 3% and 80% control.”


Leave a Reply

One comment on “For Adjuvants, It’s A New World

  1. On behalf of United Suppliers, I would enjoy being involved in these articles. I have worked with Lisa Heacox in the past. As adjuvant product manager for United Suppliers, a major agricultural distributor in the midwest, I feel that I could be a good source of information and a contributor to future articles on adjuvants and specialty nutritional products as well. Please feel free to contact for input. Thanks, Tom Pekarek United Suppliers 641-858-2341

Adjuvants Stories

AdjuvantsHelena Chemical Introduces New Drift Control Adjuvant Justified
May 13, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. introduces Justified, an innovative drift control agent designed to improve the performance and precision of spray applications Read More
Nozzle spray close-up
AdjuvantsSpray Drift Enters More Complex Era
May 1, 2015
Off-target movement of crop protection products has been a problem for decades. The issue got more contentious when glyphosate-tolerant 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
Young soybean field
AdjuvantsAltitude Crop Innovations Details Portfolio, Distribution Strategy
March 9, 2015
Altitude Crop Innovations, a CO-based crop protection and specialty chemicals company, announces its portfolio and distribution strategy, naming Meridian Agriculture Distribution as its exclusive distribution partner. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100United Cooperative Acquires Four ADM Wisconsin Facilities
November 12, 2015
United Cooperative, based out of Beaver Dam, WI, recently acquired four grain and agronomy locations from Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Car Makes NASCAR Xfinity Series
October 29, 2015
BRANDT will join JR Motorsports with driver, Justin Allgaier, for the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity (NXS) Series season. Allgaier will pilot Read More
CHS Building exterior
CropLife 100CHS Leaders Help Shape Succession Report
October 22, 2015
Succession planning was listed as a main concern of cooperative leaders at this summer’s 15 regional CHS owner town hall Read More
Fall Harvest
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases Eight Regional Seed Companies
October 12, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has announced the purchase of eight regional seed companies to advance its seed business. Pinnacle has acquired: Read More
MRM Agricultural Service
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires CropLife 100 Ag Retailer
October 8, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC has successfully acquired the Missouri-based agronomy business of MRM Agricultural Service, LLC and its affiliates (MRM). Operating Read More
Eric Jenks, Wilbur-Ellis
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Opens Dry Fertilizer Storage And Blending Facility In Washington
October 8, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co., ranked No. 4 on the CropLife 100, has constructed and opened a 22,000-ton dry fertilizer storage and blending Read More
Latest News
HerbicidesBREAKING: EPA Pulls Registration On Dow’s Enlist …
November 25, 2015
EPA on Wednesday withdrew approval of a controversial new weed killer to be used on genetically modified corn and soybeans, Read More
FertilizerYara Tampa Ammonia Terminal Garners ResponsibleAg Honor…
November 25, 2015
Yara has received its first ResponsibleAg Certification for its Tampa, FL, Ammonia terminal location. This achievement demonstrates Yara’s commitment to Read More
ManagementReviewing The Top Ag Stories For 2015
November 24, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf discuss the most noteworthy events from this past year in agriculture. Read More
EmployeesAgriculture Jobs May Be Plentiful, But New Grads Are Sc…
November 24, 2015
Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture each year for the next five years, but there's not enough grads to fill them. Read More
Radish cover crop
StewardshipCover Crops Guide Helps Growers Improve Water Quality
November 23, 2015
A publication that teaches growers the advantages of using cover crops to improve soil health and crop yields has won Read More
Crop InputsThe Andersons’ Products Receive California Organi…
November 23, 2015
The Plant Nutrient Group of The Andersons, Inc. announced today that its Humic DG and Black Gypsum DG products are Read More
Eric SfiligojNew European Study Seems To Support Glyphosate Safety
November 23, 2015
Looking at any international news over the past few years, it might seem as if the European Union (EU) is Read More
Toggle Biostimulant corn roots
Crop InputsTwo New Biostimulants Added To United Suppliers’ …
November 20, 2015
Winfield US announces the launch of two new products in the United Suppliers portfolio for the 2016 crop season, Optify Read More
StewardshipNRDC Report: Cover Crops Contain Vast Benefits
November 19, 2015
As harvest season ends and farmers in the United States ready themselves for winter, one small change could make a Read More
Fall Harvest
Seed/BiotechArysta Launches New Seed Protectant
November 19, 2015
As spring wheat growers begin planning for a strong start to their season, Arysta LifeScience North America announces RANCONA V Read More
Crop InputsInocucor Receives U.S. Patent For Microbials
November 19, 2015
Inocucor Technologies Inc., the Montreal-based agriculture biotech company, was issued patent No. 9,175,258 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect Read More
ManagementSyngenta Rumors and ARA 2015 Preview
November 19, 2015
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj looks at the latest rumors involving Syngenta selling its crop protection business and talks about events Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Finalists For Operator Of The Year Honor
November 19, 2015
AGCO Corp. has announced the four top operators chosen as finalists for AGCO’s 10th Annual Operator of the Year program, Read More
High Plains Aquifer
StewardshipStudy: High Plains Aquifer Overall Usage In Decline
November 18, 2015
A new Kansas State University study finds that the over-tapping of the High Plains Aquifer’s groundwater beyond the aquifer’s recharge Read More
Golden Harvest Corn healthy leaves
FungicidesArysta Launches New Corn And Soybean Fungicide
November 17, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America has recently launched ZOLERA FX Fungicide. The highly systemic, powerful fungicide delivers broad-spectrum disease control with Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsBioAg Alliance: Microbials Targeted For 250-500 million…
November 17, 2015
Monsanto and Novozymes have announced a new 2025 acreage target that will guide the companies’ microbials business for the next Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Still Being Eyed For China Takeover
November 16, 2015
China National Chemical Corp. approached sovereign wealth funds including China Investment Corp. to help pay for a potential acquisition of Read More
Cedar Country Cooperative
Eric SfiligojCooperative Consolidation Continues
November 16, 2015
As I put this enewsletter column together, we’ve just put the finishing touches on our magazine’s annual CropLife 100 report. Read More