Adjuvants with Jon Zuk

Feb 27, 2019

Adjuvants with Jon Zuk
Stefanie W: Welcome to another episode of Planting Profits with Jesse Wiant and today we have Jon Zuk again.

Jesse Wiant: Thanks Stef. Like Stef said, we're going to have Jon Zuk on today, spend a little bit of time talking about adjuvants and the importance of using the correct products when we're spraying to make sure and control hard to kill weeds. So, Jon, thanks for joining us today. Maybe just give us a quick definition of what an adjuvant is and how or when do you know when to use an adjuvant?

Jon Zuk: Thanks for having me on Jesse, I think this was great opportunity to talk about how to maximize what we can put on a crop and as far as getting the return on investment. So what's an adjuvant? An adjuvant in my mind, I mean that kind of encompasses anything that's going to go in the spray tank with the active ingredient. So an adjuvant isn't necessarily an active ingredient but what the adjuvant is going to do is it's going to maximize the performance of an active ingredient. So, like I said, there's a lot of ways that it could be sliced, some adjuvants might help condition the water, so that those active ingredients don't get put in the tank and be deactivated by hard water. One example would be glyphosate. We need to make sure that we're conditioning that water so that glyphosate doesn't become deactivated. Other adjuvants maybe called spreaders or stickers, might help the droplets actually stick to the leaves and spread out so we get more uptake. Then we have some oils and that would help melt through the waxy cuticle. And then we also have a droplets that are adjuvants that modified droplets so we can get a better spray pattern and less fines and less off target drift. So there's a lot of different kind of wheels around what an adjuvant actually is, but kind of the simple definition would be making sure that we're mixing those components in to maximize the performance of our active ingredient.

Jesse Wiant: So you talk about tying glyphosate up if the water isn't condition correctly. I guess the one that we're most familiar with here is Class Act Next Generation and that's got CornSorb technology in it. Could you maybe touch on what the CornSorb technology is and what it's enhancing for us.

Jon Zuk:  Okay. So Jesse, you asked about CornSorb technology. I think before we go into that, maybe we need to talk about how glyphosate actually gets tied up. The one thing that we need to remember is glyphosate is a negatively charged molecule. In our water we have, what we call a positively charged or cations. So what these positively charged molecules actually do is they bind to the glyphosate and tie up the glyphosate. When we say tie up, we mean that once it binds to the cations, if it hits the plant, it's no longer active and it doesn't perform the function that it was meant to perform in blocking the photosynthetic pathways to then kill the weed. So basically what you have is, you're paying for an active ingredient that's not doing its job. So it's very important that we condition the water, especially when we're tank mixing in glyphosate, but we do have water conditioners that change pH. What we have to remember is when we start changing pH, we might do an okay job conditioning the water for glyphosate, but then when we start mixing in tank mix partners, like maybe Laudis or Callisto or some of our group 27's. They're really touchy to changes in pH and we might then inactivate those active ingredients. You have to be really educated on how we're going to condition the water and most of the time we're going to be using spray grade AMS or an adjuvant that has spray grade AMS in it. So, I think laying down the groundwork is a pretty big deal. One of the components of Class Act NG is real spray grade AMS and then the other component, one of the other components like you mentioned, is CornSorb technology. Now this CornSorb technology is basically made up of corn syrup and APGs, which APGs are alcoho-poly-glucosides. So it's a type, or a form, of sugar that's patented, so it's patent protected. And what we found with that patent when we submitted that is we increase the uptake of active ingredient, almost two fold by having the CornSorb technology in there. So what that brings you is more active ingredient getting to that weed quicker to then give you quicker weed kill, by some of our results of looking at them in the greenhouse anywhere from three to five days quicker, weed kill with the CornSorb technology in it. So I guess that's a brief description of what the components would be in Class Act or two of those components.

Jesse Wiant: So earlier you mentioned, when you're running through the different types of adjuvants that we use in different sprays systems you brought up a COC or crop oil concentrate and a methylated seed oil or an MSO, how do those two products differentiate?

Jon Zuk: Yeah. So a lot of times I get questions on should I use a crop oil concentrate or should I use a methylated seed oil? Most of the time I'm going to choose, especially if I'm working with a group 14 a burner in soybeans, I'm going to choose a methylated seed oil. The reason for that is I get more penetration through the waxy cuticles that we tend to have in our environment in southern Minnesota in that late July, I guess July timeframe when we shouldn't be spraying. It shouldn't say late July because sometimes we spray late July, but we probably shouldn't be spraying in late July, so probably early July timeframe when we dry off a little bit and we get a waxy cuticle that gives us more penetration of active ingredient. But I would cautiously say we shouldn't always use a methylated seed oil because there's some places like in corn if we're using a group 27, maybe Callisto, a lot of the time it's on the label, we do not want methylated seed oil because we increased crop response in that case. So a crop oil concentrate would be a better choice there. Really the main difference is a methylated seed oil melts through the waxy cuticle and a crop oil concentrate tends to more so keep the droplets sticky and keep it wetter longer. So sometimes you might use both of them, so you could use a crop oil concentrate to keep the droplet sticky and keep it wetter longer and then kind of bump in a little bit of methylated seed oil to help you burn through the wax that's on the cuticle. So a lot of times we'll try to tweak and use those adjuvants in combo because of what they do and some of the differences on how they perform on the leaf surface.

Jesse Wiant: So with, I mean, you mentioned a little bit about soybeans, so sticking with that in the new trait packages that are out there, more specifically the Dicamba use in soybeans, when you're tank mixing those products the EPA wants us to use a DRA. Could you maybe give us a quick rundown of what a DRA is? Maybe define it I guess.

Jon Zuk: Yeah. So DRA stands for drift reduction agent. And I guess the real quick down and dirty definition for a DRA is basically you're taking an adjuvant and that adjuvant is in charge of making huge droplets come out of the nozzle. Okay? So by making those huge droplets come out of the nozzle, the EPA and our findings show that you have less fines, right? It makes sense. So I say less fines because it doesn't mean that you don't have any fines, you still have fines the tank that need to be managed or are coming out of the nozzle, but by having bigger droplets, you skew the ratio of fines to maybe under five percent. So five percent of your droplets are still drift-able fines even if you're using a DRA. Now there's a lot of DRAs out there, most of them are either poly acrylamides or a poly glucoside. Okay. So there's two different types of DRAs and that all pertains to how they run through the pump and what has been shown is some of the poly acrylamides run through the pump. When they run through the pump on the tank, a lot of times we'll have what we call pump shear and what pump shear can do is puncture, can actually create more drift-able fines than what you thought you weren't going to create. Or you can create tank mix problems within the other active ingredients that you're mixing in because basically when you do pump shear, you make a bunch of small particles of that poly acrylamides and then that binds to or could bind to some of the tank mixes and create some issues there or it'll create finer spray droplets coming out of your nozzle. So when choosing a DRA, I guess I always like to look for the poly glucoside and when we choose that, I mean the one that we do and the one that we've seen and done some other research on is called On Target. We've ran it through different nozzles, at different pressures and we also pump shear tested it to make sure that it didn't puncture test. So we're trying to prevent all of those things from happening. So normally I don't like to talk about brands, but with a DRA, a lot of the times you have to be really careful about which one you're choosing because in the end you want it to do the right job.

Jesse Wiant: Right. So I guess for me, I would say that not just with the DRA, with any of the adjuvants that we're talking are to be able to maximize the active ingredient that you're putting out there, like you said earlier. I mean, I think it's a combination of using different adjuvants to get the goal done, but also the right ones. I guess one I would look at is Interlock, it's a drift reduction agents. Maybe touch on that, how Interlock can help protect the investment of the chemistries that we're using.

Jon Zuk: So Interlock would be another product that we would use. It's an adjuvant and this type of adjuvant would actually be categorized as a, what we would call a, deposition aid. And so this deposition aid would basically allow us to get more droplets to that plant. In all of our tests that we've run with Interlock, I think we ran it in over a hundred different nozzle types. Regardless of what nozzle that we put it in, you see that when we look at it with our laser that's in river falls at the innovation center, we can look at the droplets and we decreased the amount of fines that are coming out of each and every one of those nozzles by about half. So by decreasing fines, I mean some of our flat band nozzles are like 25 to 30 percent of the droplets coming out of them, are fines. Meaning when I say fines, they're below 150 microns. When they are below 150 microns, they don't travel very far in the canopy, less than 10 inches. They start to float after a few seconds, so they evaporate very, very quickly and they don't travel very far in. So if you're spraying and using a flat fan, up to 25 percent of your spray could be just drift-able fines, but if you're using like an AI or a bigger nozzle, maybe it's only three to five percent of your spray is coming out drift-able fines. However, when you have Interlock in the tank, no matter what, those fines are cut in half. That's a lot of the research that we have with that. By showing that can we get more droplets to that plant, we get better control, more consistent control and then quicker control, is probably the three things that we're seeing by tank mixing in Interlock and making sure that we're getting the droplets actually to that weed.

Jesse Wiant: With all the different dollars that we're investing in different active ingredients, I guess one that comes to my mind is a fungicide. The past few years in the answer plot we've seen a very big or very large benefits of using fungicide, especially in the corn. Using those fungicides, say at the tassel timing, is Interlock the product we should be looking at from a deposition component or is there a different product that could maybe do the job a little bit better for us?

Jon Zuk: Yeah. So Jesse, with a fungicide application, I think we both understand that fungicides are primarily contact, so coverage is key. You're right in thinking that we want to be pairing Interlock with that product because we want to gain as much coverage as we could. So Interlocked does, as with our previous conversation stated, Interlock does a great job with making sure that those droplets are reaching and covering their target. However, what I would encourage you to do is look at another product that we have. It was designed specifically for fungicide use, or I'm going to call it plant health use, because we can tank mix in a micronutrient or take mix in an insecticide and still get the same benefits and that product is called MasterLock. So essentially what MasterLock is, is it's 80 percent Interlock and then it has surfactant package put in with it that allows that droplet, and we call it DropTight technology, so that surfactant package has a name, it's DropTight technology and that allows that droplet to give it some sticking ability and keep it wetter longer. So you get the coverage or the deposition aid that comes with Interlock and then you also get the surfactant package that allows a droplet to stick and hold tight so we can the best absorption of that fungicide or that application, that plant health application, into the cuticle. So MasterLock is going to be the play there. The beautiful thing about MasterLock is that surfactant package we've tested over and over again and have data to show that that surfactant does not cause arrested ear syndrome. So a lot of the other surfactants that we would partner with a deposition aid do cause arrested ear syndrom. However, the one that's with MasterLock is designed specifically for that application and will not cause arrested ear. So that's the beautiful thing of why we would position MasterLock with that fungicide application.

Jesse Wiant: So Jon, thanks for your time today. It's been very beneficial to refresh on the products that we're using and why we're using them. Again, when we look at the dollars we're investing on a per acre basis and in our spray systems, whether that's a post pass in corn or post past in soybeans, some of those passes can get pretty expensive with the chemistries were using. To me the biggest thing is to use the correct adjuvants with the chemistry you're using in order to maximize the effectiveness of that active ingredient. So we appreciate your time, like I say, it's been very beneficial to go through this and basically define the differences between the different adjuvants we're using.

Jon Zuk:  You bet, anytime. Glad to be on.

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