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- Get information from sources you trust, develop your plan, read the label carefully and then test. Precision Laboratories has a tank mix test kit ($9.95) for accurate mix evaluations of liquid and dry ingredients.
- Take your time when adding products, advises Eric Spandl, WinField. "Some products take time to get into suspension, especially early season with cool water," he says. "Put a product in the tank, then go check your email, have some coffee and then come back."
- Use the inductor as a funnel for individual products, not as a premixer, warns Jim Reiss, Precision Laboratories. "Dumping all the products together something that even pro product formulators cannot do."
- Start with water. "We used to say start with 20 percent water, but with some newer products, it should be something like 80 percent," advises Reiss. "More water helps."
Whether you use a Mason jar or pipette and an easily scaled container such as offered by Precision Laboratories, do a compatibility test for complex tank mixes. Follow prescribed mixing order with water to be used in application. Retain the test sample and recheck over a period of hours or even days to identify problems should spray solution be left over night or over a weekend.
Tank mix trade-offs
"It is a balancing act," says Kuehl. "In the past, if glyphosate was in a tank mix, we would recommend an adjuvant that optimized glyphosate activity, as it was doing 90% of the work. With resistant weeds, you may want to optimize the activity of a tank-mix partner and give up some glyphosate performance."
Increased specialization of adjuvants also adds complexity. Water quality importance has created demand for adjuvants to counter problems like salts, which can antagonize glyphosate, and pH ranges, that can speed breakdown of insecticidal active ingredients. Even the weed being sprayed can influence adjuvant selection.
"You can clean up the water at its source, but a number of weeds carry calcium on the surface of the leaf, and that calcium can contaminate a herbicide when it hits and cause antagonism without the right adjuvant being added," says Kuehl.