What’s the Difference Between Crop Oil Concentrates vs. Methylated Seed Oils?

FBN Network

May 13, 2024

Crop oil concentrates (COC) and methylated seed oils (MSO) are both adjuvants used in agriculture to improve the effectiveness of herbicides and other pesticides. They are designed to enhance the absorption of these chemicals into plants, but they do so in slightly different ways and have distinct properties. 

Below, we’ll break down the differences between crop oil concentrates and methylated seed oils. 

What Are Crop Oil Concentrates (COCs)?

COC Composition

Crop oil concentrates are typically made up of 80-85% paraffinic oil and 15-20% emulsifier. The oil is derived from petroleum and helps to increase the coverage and penetration of herbicides on plant surfaces.

COC Usage

COCs are particularly effective with herbicides that target grasses and in situations where waxy or hairy leaf surfaces make it difficult for water-based solutions to adhere to and penetrate the plant.

COC Benefits

They can improve the performance of herbicides under a wide range of conditions, especially where leaf surfaces are challenging for adherence.

Let's delve deeper into the specific situations where crop oil concentrates (COCs) might be more beneficial, considering their unique properties and how they interact with different herbicides and plant surfaces.

  • Ideal for Contact Herbicides: COCs are particularly beneficial when using contact herbicides. These herbicides require thorough coverage of the plant surface because they only affect the plant parts they touch. The COC helps spread the herbicide evenly over the plant, ensuring better contact and effectiveness.

  • Waxy or Hairy Leaf Surfaces: Plants with waxy or hairy leaves can repel water-based herbicide solutions, making it difficult for the herbicide to adhere and penetrate. COCs, with their oil-based formulation, can better adhere to and penetrate these challenging surfaces, making the herbicide more effective.

  • Low Humidity Conditions: In areas with low humidity, water-based herbicides can evaporate before they have a chance to be absorbed by the plant. The oil in COCs helps to slow down the evaporation rate, giving the herbicide more time to work.

Additional COC Considerations

COCs can increase the risk of crop injury under certain conditions, such as high temperatures or when used with sensitive crops. It's important to follow label recommendations closely.

Crop Oil Concentrates Available from FBN® 

FBN offers a range of COC options, including: 

What Are Methylated Seed Oils (MSOs)?

MSO Composition

Methylated seed oils are made from seed oils (like soybean or canola) that have been methylated, meaning they have undergone a chemical process that adds methyl groups to their structure. This process enhances their spreading and penetrating properties.

MSO Usage

MSOs are particularly effective with systemic herbicides and are used to enhance the uptake of the herbicide into the plant. They work well in conditions where fast and efficient absorption of the herbicide into the plant is crucial.

MSO Benefits

MSOs can be more effective than COCs in certain situations, especially with systemic herbicides that need to be absorbed quickly by the plant. They are also considered to be more "environmentally friendly" due to their natural oil base.

Let's delve deeper into the specific situations where methylated seed oils (MSO) might be more beneficial, considering their unique properties and how they interact with different herbicides and plant surfaces.

  • Systemic Herbicides: MSOs are particularly effective with systemic herbicides, which need to be absorbed by the plant and moved throughout its tissues to be effective. The methylated seed oils enhance the absorption of these herbicides, making them more effective, especially in penetrating the plant's cuticle and facilitating the movement of the herbicide within the plant.

  • Cool Weather Applications: Although MSOs can become more viscous in cold conditions, they are generally more effective than COCs in cooler weather because they help facilitate the absorption of herbicides when plant metabolism is slower. This is crucial for systemic herbicides that rely on plant processes to be moved and act within the plant.

  • Environmental Considerations: MSOs, being derived from natural seed oils, are often preferred in situations where environmental impact is a concern. They are perceived as a more sustainable option compared to petroleum-derived COCs, especially in sensitive areas or for farmers practicing environmentally conscious agriculture.

Additional MSO Considerations

Like COCs, MSOs can also increase the risk of crop injury if not used according to the label instructions. They may not be as effective in cold conditions because their viscosity can increase, making them thicker and harder to spray.

Methylated Seed Oils Available from FBN

FBN offers a range of COC options, including: 

  • Farmers First™ IN-Cert™ HighSurf MSO, a specialized blend of modified seed oil and surfactant designed to enhance the performance of herbicides. It may be used at reduced rates compared to conventional MSO. IN-Cert HighSurf MSO may also be used with insecticides, fungicides and PGRs.

  • Farmers First™ IN-Cert™ MSO, an activator and leaf and crop canopy penetrant used for evaporation reduction and foliar retention. IN-Cert MSO is a methylated vegetable oil + surfactant blend formulated to enhance pesticide performance through improved leaf cuticle penetration and uniform droplet coverage of target surfaces. It forms a stable emulsion in the spray tank for an even, consistent application across the field. IN-Cert MSO meets pesticide label requirements for a methylated seed oil (MSO) adjuvant.   

How to Choose Between COCs and MSOs

The choice between using a crop oil concentrate or a methylated seed oil depends on several factors, including the type of herbicide being used, the target weeds or pests, the crop being treated, and environmental conditions. 

Your choice might also be influenced by the specific crops you're growing and the typical climate conditions in your area. 

COCs might be the better choice in arid, dry climates where evaporation is a concern, or when dealing with leaf surfaces that are particularly difficult for herbicides to adhere to and penetrate.

MSOs could be more effective in cooler climates or during the early or late parts of the growing season when temperatures are lower. They are also preferable when using systemic herbicides that need to be quickly and efficiently absorbed by the plant.

It's always important to consult the herbicide label and possibly conduct a small-scale test to determine compatibility and risk of crop injury before applying broadly. Always consider local regulations and recommendations when selecting adjuvants. 

Shop for Adjuvants on FBN

FBN redefines value and convenience for family farmers. We help farmers reduce the cost of production by offering great-value farm inputs and services, including a wide range of adjuvants, ensuring you can find the right product to meet your specific needs at competitive prices.

The FBN platform is designed to make it easy to do business, with a convenient online store available 24/7 and timely direct-to-farm delivery. This means you can shop for adjuvants and other inputs at any time that suits you, without the need to align with traditional business hours.

Shop for adjuvants now.

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This content was generated with the assistance of Norm℠, FBN’s artificial intelligence (AI) Ag Advisor, based on a dataset of information containing general industry best practices and research. The AI model did not use specific external sources to generate this content. Our process involves using AI to aid human subject matter experts with the initial drafting and/or refinement of content.

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FBN Network

May 13, 2024

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