What Are the Benefits of a Soy-Enhanced Adjuvant?

Soybean yields can now be protected from an adjuvant made from refined soybean oil produced from soybeans grown by cooperative owners.


The best ideas usually come from the ground up.

So when a team from CHS Agronomy was looking for ways to create more demand for soybeans grown by farmer-owners, they looked at using refined soybean oil as a substitute for the unrefined vegetable or petroleum oil that up until that point had been widely used for adjuvants. What they developed was a new kind of adjuvant, one that delivered not only better performance, but other benefits for farmers, cooperatives and other retailers.

This new kind of adjuvant starts with soybeans grown by CHS farmers-owners. CHS crushes the soybeans and processes them into refined soy oil, which is added as the key ingredient in the new line of adjuvants. The adjuvants are sold then for use with crop protection products through cooperative and retail customers.

The development of these soy-enhanced adjuvants included various ratios and percentages of refined soybean oil that were tested under field conditions. This lead to quality adjuvants that were night-and-day different from other adjuvants, from handling, mixability and storage stability, to how well the formula did what it was supposed to do: enhance the biological function of a crop protection product or alter the physical characteristics of a spray solution for maximum performance.

For special purpose/utility adjuvants, like drift control agents and deposition aids, the additional of refined soybean oil helps prevent the unintentional off-target application of crop protection products and increases the ability of water-soluble pesticide particles to adhere to a plant’s surface and go to work. When droplets that are too fine, they can drift away from the target plant. If droplets are too big, they bounce off the leaf. But droplets that are the precise size lead to better deposition, which also makes crop protection products less likely to wash off during irrigation and rain.

For activator adjuvants, like crop oil concentrates, using refined soybean oil helps improve the penetration of crop protection products into the target pest. Herbicides, insecticides and fungicides are only effective if their active ingredients are able to penetrate into the target pest. Crop oils make that penetration possible, whether it’s through a waxy leaf coating or an insect’s exoskeleton.

So why use soy-enhanced adjuvant this season?

As retailers continually look for ways to offer more solutions to their challenges, soy-enhanced adjuvants, offer superior performance and handling characteristics versus traditional oil emulsion formulas. Those key benefits include:

Mixability and Storage
With less impurities, soy-enhanced adjuvants offer superior mixability to help herbicides, insecticides and fungicides stay on target, leading to more effective control in-season. In the off-season, soy-based adjuvants provide additional storage stability, especially in cold weather, allowing retailers to keep product on hand and available when customers need them without risking any decrease in quality.

High Efficacy, Low Use Rate
For retailers and growers, soy-enhanced drift control and deposition aid adjuvants can be used at fraction the rate of competitors, which saves money, while maintaining the performance and effectiveness of the product.

Increased Demand for Farmers
Perhaps most importantly, soy-based adjuvants create demand and value for the farmers who grow, harvest and market soybeans though the CHS cooperative system. After soybeans are crushed and the oil is refined at CHS facilities, they are made into adjuvants, which are applied with crop protection products to the same fields in they were grown to protect future crops and grower profits.

What soy-enhanced adjuvant options are available?

Spring 2020 saw the first widespread use of Petrichor, the first product in the new line of high-performance adjuvants made from refined soybean oil by CHS Agronomy. Petrichor is an industry-leading NPE-free oil emulsion deposition and drift reduction agent specifically designed to suppress off-target drift and increase contact activity and penetration of spray applications. Its low 3 oz/acre use rate is equivalent to the industry standard of 4 oz and because it’s made with highly refined soybean oil, it offers enhanced performance, storage stability and mixing.

CHS Covrex, a crop oil concentrate that helps improve penetration of crop protection products into the plant surface, also includes refined soybean oil and is available now. Covrex offers a superior blend of highly refined soybean oil and nonionic surfactants to provide increased penetration and uniform coverage on a leaf surface. Designed for use with a broad range of pesticides, this crop oil concentrate provides greater value with enhanced performance, storage stability and mixing at a half-the-use rate of standard crop oil.

To learn more about soy-enhanced adjuvants like Petrichor and Covrex, download the “Using Adjuvants to Improve Crop Protection Performance” white paper, talk to your CHS Agronomy representative or visit the CHS Agronomy website.