How to Select the Right Adjuvant

Adjuvants are extensively tested and formulated to work to enhance crop protection products. But with a variety of adjuvants to choose from, what’s the best way to select the most appropriate adjuvant to help maximize herbicide efficacy? When selecting an adjuvant, whether it is an activator, special purpose/utility, or multifunctional, the decision should always be based on agronomically sound information and customer needs, including the site to be sprayed, the target pest, and the equipment to be used.

Here are some additional things to consider when selecting an adjuvant:

  • Read the pesticide label carefully, every time, and always follow the label instructions. The effectiveness of a tank mix is dependent on how well the products work together. The amount and order of ingredients are extremely important. If mixed out of order or at the wrong rate, products can clump and gel instead of remaining in solution, reducing performance, and clogging equipment causing costly cleanup. Always consult the label for the amount and order to add products to ensure physical compatibility, proper solubility, and pH. Formulations can change even within the same product, and the changes may alter which types of adjuvants are recommended for use with specific products.
  • Use adjuvants that are specifically developed for agricultural uses. Products developed for industrial use will not work and may even hurt the quality of the herbicide, insecticide, or fungicide.
  • Use adjuvants with characteristics that will help pesticides be the most effective but avoid mixing products without doing a compatibility test. Even if a specific operation could benefit from the combination of a surfactant and a defoamer it does not mean two separate products are compatible together or with the pesticide product.
  • Conduct a test first, especially if unsure about a product combination. During a jar test, proportionately smaller amounts of tank mix ingredients are mixed in a clear quart jar to ensure compatibility before a full solution is When performing a jar test, always wear personal protective equipment (PPE), and follow the mixing order as prescribed on the label. It’s also important to remember that a jar test will only show the physical compatibility of a tank mix. It will not provide information about how an ingredient may inactivate another or cause toxicity. For questions about incompatibility, retailers should talk to their CHS Agronomy representative.
  • Check to make sure the adjuvant is approved for use with the new herbicide, insecticide, or fungicide. Check the product’s website for a list of approved adjuvants and learn as much as you can before using the product.
  • Talk to the experts. With new pesticide and trait technology rapidly entering the market, retailers should work with their CHS Agronomy representative to find the right adjuvant formulation based on their operation’s needs, and growers should work with their local agronomist for more information about the adjuvants selected for their fields.

CHS Agronomy develops and offers a full range of single and multifunctional adjuvants, from drift inhibitors and buffers to compatibility agents, deposition aids, and surfactants to enhance herbicide, fungicide, and insecticide technologies. CHS Agronomy representatives can provide recommendations to fit a specific operation, such as which adjuvant to use with dicamba, glyphosate, and 2,4-D herbicides, as shown in the chart below.

For more information about adjuvants, download the CHS Agronomy white paper “Using Adjuvants to Improve Crop Protection Performance”. For a listing of available adjuvants visit the CHS Agronomy website.

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