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Journey of the droplet

Darrin Holder, Agronomy Manager, WinField United 4/24/2020


Increased efficacy of glyphosate on the velvetleaf on the right due to CornSorb Technology. Both plants received a full rate of glyphosate and 8.5 pounds AMS/100 gallons of water. The plant on the right received that 8.5 pounds AMS from 2.5%v/v Class Act NG, which also has CornSorb Technology.
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Spring has sprung, and so have the weeds. Whether you are burning down soybean ground or spraying your last herbicide shot on your early corn, everyone wants to get the most from their herbicide investment. However, there are several factors that have the potential to take a significant portion of that investment away and reduce weed control. From antagonism in the tank to fine droplets blowing away to droplets sitting on the leaf surface that can’t permeate the cuticle, numerous obstacles can ultimately reduce the amount of chemical that gets to the site of action in the weeds.

Have you ever considered how your water is affecting weed control? Without the right water conditioners, you could be reducing your herbicide’s effectiveness by 10 to 20 percent1. That means you won’t be getting the most from the dollars you’ve already spent to combat weeds, and it could mean that you’ll spend more on damage control in the future.

Water conditioners tie up cations including calcium, potassium, and magnesium in water so negatively charged herbicides such as glyphosate and glufosinate don’t bind to them, which can reduce herbicide effectiveness. Cations in the soil or on a leaf can also bind to herbicide particles, and water conditioners can help block those interactions to improve herbicide uptake as well.

All water needs conditioning, although the rate of water conditioner you apply will depend on the hardness of your water. Ammonium sulfate (AMS) water conditioners are commonly used with glyphosate and glufosinate applications to improve herbicide performance. One option is Class Act® NG®, which combines AMS with a nonionic surfactant and antifoaming agent in a liquid premix. One benefit of Class Act NG is that it is formulated with CornSorb® technology to help improve herbicide uptake into the plant. The pre-dissolved liquid AMS also alleviates sedimentation and nozzle plugging in the sprayer. These features, along with its proven performance, differentiate Class Act NG from other AMS water conditioners on the market.

Another thief of your herbicide investment is drift. Data from WinField® United’s patented Spray Analysis System has shown that up to 54 percent of spray volume can be lost before it even reaches its intended target2. InterLock® adjuvant, a drift-reduction agent, helps decrease off-target herbicide movement by delivering more droplets in the ideal droplet diameter spectrum. This enables more precise deposition and coverage to ensure the more active ingredient reaches its target. InterLock adjuvant helps reduce driftable fines by up to 60 percent3, which makes the spray droplets more likely to penetrate deeper into a crop’s canopy, helping to reach the surfaces of target weeds. This results in more effective weed control.

Once the droplets get to the target, they have a few more obstacles to overcome to get the chemical into the plant, including the leaf surface itself. On the surface of weed leaves are various levels of oils, waxes, and hairs, none of which absorb water. This is where adjuvants such as Preference® help. Preference reduces the surface tension of water allowing the spray solution to get around the hairs and spread out over the leaf surface. To overcome the oils and waxes on the leaf surface, especially with oil-loving herbicides, crop oils or methylated seed oils should be used. However, standard versions of these will antagonize glyphosate. That’s why we suggest using StrikeLock® adjuvant, a high surfactant methylated seed oil concentrate with drift properties very similar to the aforementioned InterLock adjuvant, all without antagonizing glyphosate.

Adjuvants are essential for achieving optimum weed control, but not all adjuvants work the same. Contact your local Co-op or WinField United representative to learn more about which adjuvants would be a good fit based on your herbicide program and management practices.

1Based on WinField® United research.

22018 WinField United Spray Analysis System data, tested with a VP11002 nozzle and 32oz/A Roundup PowerMAX®.

32018 WinField United Innovation Center wind tunnel data.

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