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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.
Shifting adjuvant priorities
As Spandl suggests, adding new/old chemistries to the mix is shifting adjuvant priorities again. Jim Reiss, vice president, Agricultural Chemistries, Precision Laboratories, notes that both the new dicamba and 2,4D technologies have very specific requirements to enhance spray quality, and a lot of existing adjuvants can’t be used.
"We are working on replacements for ammonium sulfate," says Reiss. "Drift control is going to be important too. That's where we are spending 70% of our research effort."
If the complexities seem overwhelming, the experts agree on a simple solution. "Go to your local agronomist," says Spandl. "They have experience with the different products applied to the weeds in your area. Ask what is best for your situation and needs."
"While it is difficult even for local retailers to always pick the right adjuvant, they will carry a lineup of products, whether ours or someone else's, that fit your geographic needs," says Kuehl. "Be careful about purchasing products from an unfamiliar source."
That is especially true of imported glyphosate and other off-patent chemistries. While the amount of active ingredient has to be identified on the label, what is unknown is what adjuvants or surfactants might be included.