Understanding Adjuvants to Optimize Crop Protection [Video]

FBN Network

Apr 12, 2023

Neil McCormick, Global Product Development Manager, Biologicals & Adjuvants at FBN®, discusses how to best utilize adjuvants to better optimize crop protection on your operation in this educational Farmer2FarmerVI presentation.

This panel was originally presented live at Farmer2FarmerVI in Omaha, NE.

What You'll Learn

In his presentation, Neil gives a basic overview of FBN’s adjuvant portfolio and a brief overview of adjuvants. He covers:

  • What are adjuvants and what do they do

  • Why adjuvants are important

  • Why quality matters

  • How to pick the right adjuvant

[RELATED: Adjuvants 101: Understanding the “Extras” in Your Tank]

Factors That Affect Adjuvant Performance

He also explains some of the different factors that can affect adjuvant performance, such as:

  • Chemical performance

  • Wind

  • Temperature

  • Humidity

  • Equipment

  • Ground speed

  • Boom height

  • Spray nozzle

  • Pump pressure

  • Water quality

Watch Now

Shop For Adjuvants

Find the adjuvants you need at FBN Direct®. Simply buy the products online and get them shipped directly to your farm. It’s just one of many ways we’re making farming better for farmers.

Audio Transcript

Neil McCormick (00:01): Well, we're doing that. I'll just give you a quick intro. I'm Neil McCormick. I'm the global Product Development Manager for the adjuvants and biological products. So I'm gonna manage those two lines of business for FBN. And over the past couple years, we've been doing a lot of work to really understand the market, bring to and bring to you guys a portfolio, products that you can understand and trust. So we're gonna go through all the changes and and that kind of thing there. So, I'll, that's the context and what we're gonna cover here today. So we'll get started in a second. I'll try to be kind of in between Alex Honnold's laidback nature, and then Jocko's intensity. So I'm gonna try to land somewhere in between that, if you guys are, I can't quite get to the, get to Jocko's level, but , I don't know if many of us can. So we'll give, looks like we've got a few in the back rolling in. So we'll give 15 more seconds and get started here.

Neil McCormick (00:58): Yep. So what we're gonna cover is really trying to give you guys just a basic overview. What are adjuvants? What do they do? Why are they important? Why do, why does quality matter? So what, you know, what's the objective? When we put an adjuvant in the tank, there's a lot of confusion, there's a lot of products. How do I pick the right one? So we did a lot of work to navigate that for you guys and make it simple and easy. Make sure you had the quality of products that you need to do the to do the job you need to do. So let's start with what is an adjuvant? Why do we need it? So in the slide here, you can see on the right side you have our the product with an adjuvant on the left, you have without an adjuvant.

Neil McCormick (01:37): And you can just see the, the product's getting a lot more broadly spread across the leaf. That's your spreading we activator type activity. So it's pretty, you know, the basic concept is I spend a lot of money on crop protection. You can see the 30 to $70 an acre on the left, and I need to spend that one to $4 an acre on the adjuvant to make sure that, that, you know, that active ingredient that I'm banking on to do its job I'm spending a lot of money on. I want to make sure that that's performing and working. Cause you, you know, it's a high risk for it not to, you don't want to have to respray or do any of that type of thing. So the, so what are the different things that can affect adjuvant performance? We start with environment, or sorry, chemical performance wind temperature, humidity equipment. 

Neil McCormick (02:18): So our ground spree ground speed, boom, height, spray, nozzle pump pressure, water quality. So what's the hardness pH temperature, surface tension to water causes issues as the formulation. Is it a water based versus an oil based? Am by putting a contact or a systemic pesticide on, is it a positive or negatively charged chemical? What's the adjuvant load? So do they have enough room in the formulation to put an adjuvant or not? So do I need to add, add more of it? Then also the plant itself. So it's got a thick waxy layer. What's the growth stage? You know, is there leaf hairs or leaf angles that I have to deal with that are preventing the droplet from staying on the leaf? So you can see from the time the, you know, the chemical leaves, the jug goes into the tank tank, there's a ton of things that can happen and go wrong that are gonna make that 30 to seven $70 an acre investment start to degrade over time.

Neil McCormick (03:07): So that's going to, you know, and then those are all your problems. So off-target, drift, droplet evaporation, volatilization poor coverage mineral tie up, low absorption separation in the tank. So a ton of things. And those are all the problems that adjuvants are gonna solve to make, make sure that you're preserving preserving that high dollar investment in crop protection. You're not having to respray or do any of those types of things. So what did we, what did we focus on in building our portfolio or putting adjuvants together? So the science, we wanted to have well vetted products with sound agronomy. So, you know, make sure that it's doing what it we're claiming it's doing that what's on the jug is what it's actually performing in the field. Convenience. So easy to use products that aren't gonna cause any issues that are good quality formulations that aren't gonna separate that are gonna perform at the level that we want 'em to. 

Neil McCormick (03:55): And then the data. So understand and you know, be able to have the data to back up the claims and what they do, and understand when and where and how and why to use all the, the products that we have. So with that, the we put a structure together, together called the Mix Supply Perform that simplifies how we think about adjuvants and, and the different types of functions they can serve. So the mix, those are gonna be your water conditioners and your utility products. We have a diss, then we have some low rate alternative water conditioners, even Dr. And lr. We're gonna have our utility products, which is anti foam spray, tank cleaner, compatibility agent. Then getting into the, the applies. So the apply, once I leave the, leave the nozzle whoop clicker here. So once I leave the nozzle, how do I make sure that the droplet stays the right size to get to the plant? 

Neil McCormick (04:44): So that's your D A V R A products there. And then the perform is, once it hits the leaf how do I make sure that it spreads across the leaf and gets into the plant and kills the target pests that I'm trying to kill. So that's gonna be your surfactants. We have two surfactants it insorb 90. And then in insorb adv, we'll get into the differences in a few slides. The perfor oils. So crop oils would be implant and then implant advance. We'll get into the differences there. And then your MSO products. So high surf MSO and organo silicone and MSO, and then your standard MSO product. Then the multifunction, if I want some convenience, I don't want to add three different products, I just want to add one. We have the even L Pro Tether DC and Tether 24. 

Neil McCormick (05:26): Again, we'll get into the differences, but that's the full and complete lineup of what we're offering at FBN with our revamped adjuvant products. And then the goal really is to be able to have you know, portfolio that match, you know, is equal as good or better quality to the competitive product on the market. So we wanted to make sure that we're, you're meeting that high bar that you guys expect from adjuvants at a really good price point. So without sacrificing quality. So a lot of good products out on the market today. And we wanted to make sure that we weren't giving you, you guys anything that was any lesser to a, you know, to a quality standard that we can be proud of. So the labels Sophie up here and Steve are actually I'm gonna call them out cuz they put hours and hours of work in crafting really really good labels that give you a lot of good, straightforward information. 

Neil McCormick (06:13): So we start with the general info. We put all the functions. So what is this adjuvant actually doing? And we put it right there where you can put just quickly observe while it's a leaf and canopy penetrant, evaporation reduction, foliar attention spreader wetter then it's a non-ionic in nature. So I just wanted to give you, and then a brief description on the paragraph here below, that's gonna give you early good detail information just to know why am I using this product? Or what is it actually accomplishing for me? Second is the rates. We just put a nice chart there to be able to give you a good label rate, both for both in pints per hundred, and then the V2 V ratio. So easy to find and navigate there. And then also, okay, what's the mixing order? 

Neil McCormick (06:54): When do I put what, where? So we have a really good mixing order charts. So if you get to the field, you're like, okay, well what, I forget what to do. You can always pull out an adjuvant jug, just look right there and have that handy cause it's, it's tough to memorize all those different factors when you get out in the field. So I tried to make, you know, paying attention even to the small details like the label to make sure that not, not only is the product quality, but the, the information on the labels quality as well. So getting into the products, we'll start with the basic water conditioner 1 0 1. So why do we need water conditioners? Like, you know, hard water, calcium, magnesium concentration in the back there you can see the the higher or the, the brighter red it is the, the harder the water. 

Neil McCormick (07:33): So pretty much virtually everywhere is gonna have calc, you know, water hardness to some degree. Without that water conditioner, the calcium magnesium's gonna bind to the negatively charge chemical can't get into the plant. So the, that's our ams. And then ams, you bind the, the ammonium to the cal to the chemical, and then the sulfate's gonna bind to the calcium magnesium. And then that's gonna prevent the, the binding there and it's gonna pull the, the chemical into the plant. And then our low rate products typically are just gonna bind the calcium magnesium. So it's not gonna have that ammonium activity with that it doesn't but, you know, it's just, it's more of a rate advantage, a convenience advantage with the lower rate type products. So those are the three whys, just the basic 101. Why do we need water conditioners? 

Neil McCormick (08:17): So that even DRLR, those are just gonna be your low rate products where I wanna get the majority of the performance, but not have to handle, you know, 50 pound bags of ams all the time. So really convenience there. And then also our liquid product just gonna be lr, same thing. We're just trying to reduce the rate be able to use a little less product. So convenience. And then from a price point of view it's gonna be pretty close. Depends on the timing. AMS fluctuates quite a bit but the, the price per acre should be on par, if not a little less for those products. So on a per gallon, per pound basis, it might be a little sticker shock, but on a per acre basis, you're gonna be pretty similar. So our water conditioners pretty basic. 

Neil McCormick (08:57): And then getting into spray droplets, you know, really the objective is I need to keep the droplet the right size to be able to perform the objective. That, is it a soil applied herbicides, a systemic contact or our or contact. And you know, the, the nozzles are gonna do the majority of the work. You can see that that blue chart in the bottom, that's, you probably all seen that if you bought spraying nozzles before. That's a pretty universal chart there. So that's really the objective is how do I keep that droplet the same size? So we, you know, do the course tuning with our with our nozzle, then the Ds gonna be the fine tune. So how do I, you know, I just wanna make sure that I'm maintaining as much of that droplet size as I can so that the chemical can stain in the right form in the droplet and then also reduce the driftible fine. 

Neil McCormick (09:38): So that's just the really small droplets that are not gonna have any ability to carry the chemical that are, you know, a waste in the you know, waste in our application. So that's just a unique chemistry that's gonna bind and maintain that droplet size. So just binds the droplets together to make sure that we're stain the right size. And then then your drift potential canopy penetration, that's your benefits you're gonna gonna increase there. Then looking at competitive interlock being one of the more prevalent competitive options out there. So we have some data showing equal performance at half rate of interlock. So from a really good value for members, we're going out at actually less per gallon. And then we have half rates. So you can, you know, save a lot of money without sacrificing any quality or any performance. 

Neil McCormick (10:22): So really, really, really good product very confident about this one and something we're excited to bring to members. And then ris new quick DRAVRA. Everybody knows that one, it's hot and dry volatilizes, so we had a V to stop that. So everybody knows that it's an EPA requirement, so we all know that that's factor there. And then we're gonna get into the surfactants. So just a basic, what is the surfactin? Why do we need it? Water beads has a naturally high surface tension. So we add the surfactin, just spread the droplet out. So when you think of the spreader wetter benefit, that's really the simple as it is. We just wanna spread that droplet across the leaf and make sure that it doesn't dry and that we get it to stay on the leaf as long as possible. 

Neil McCormick (11:07): So the Ensor products, and then also the some of our mso, the high surf, the organic seal, are gonna contain some Surfactin properties. Here's a quick video just to give you a demonstration that's pretty cool here. So we'll give it a little time. The on the left is gonna be the, or standard non-ionic surfactant on the right's gonna be the insorb advance. So we're just gonna show you the difference in qualities and what this can can accomplish. So the on the left, you can start to see the distribution isn't quite as good on the right. There's a lot more even distribution throughout the droplet, and it's getting out to the edges a lot further. And then as we go in time here, you're gonna see the green rings start to form on the left, and it's gonna dry the droplet out. 

Neil McCormick (11:47): So that's meaning the, you know, the, the active ingredient isn't having as much it doesn't have as much, much time to be able to get into the leaf. It doesn't have as much time on the plant. So for any contact products or something that needs a lot of time to really get the activity or not getting quite as good a good a benefit. And then on the right she can see it's gonna dry out and the distribution of the droplets are further out. It's, you know, just a lot better coverage. So you know that you know, that there just an example of showing what the benefit is and what the difference in a quality quality product. It's not something you can observe if you're just go out on a leaf and look at it. You're trying to judge what product is better. 

Neil McCormick (12:24): It's gonna be pretty tough. Like this is at a pretty microscopic level. So it really takes this kind of stuff to evaluate what, you know, what is the benefit or how is this product doing doing what it's supposed to do, or how is it better than another one. And then getting into MSOs oil products. So a lot of thick waxy layers, we're just trying to burn through that or be able to get through that so that it can get into the leaf tissue. So penetrate the waxy cuticles penetrant products. So high surf ms or again, our MSOs. And then our oils are gonna be the, the products to, to use there. So our implant advanced, just a quick ex explanation on what that is, how it's different. So it's a it's a soy based material that's going to, instead of stripping the leaf wax, it's gonna open the cuticles. 

Neil McCormick (13:09): So it's a lot more plant safe. You can use it at a lower rate. So it's gonna be, you know, instead of trying to do that. So here's on this right is a standard crop oil. We were just trying to get the oil distributed throughout the formula. The implant advance is actually a smaller molecule size. It's gonna go at the bottom of the droplet, and then it's gonna open the cuticles and carry it into the plant. So it's a little bit different mode of action that just gives you a rate advantage, a plant safety advantage. So something we thought was, you know, pretty cool technology and is just an alternative to a standard crop oil type product. And then our multifunction adjuvants, we have even lpro, that's just our ams plus drift and non-ionic surfactant. 

Neil McCormick (13:52): And then our Tether DC is gonna go with your Dicamba products. So just a multifunction dicamba product, and then a Tether du two four out with Dicamba as well. Something we're evaluating or looking at is combining when the tether DC is a v rra, d r a. So some so something we're kicking tires and looking at for next season. So you don't have to use two products, but all list, either a list improved or tum Xtend Max and Genie approved as well respectively. Then just a quick, this is a cool video on the even L Pro versus standard ams. So you can see on the leaf where on the right you have your standard ams. So I've successfully solved my calcium magnesium issue, but then I wanna also be able to get the the droplets better, cross the leaf evenly. 

Neil McCormick (14:36): So even though I've conditioned the water on the one on the right with my ams on the left you know, the, the chemical's not getting spread across the leaf, so I'm not getting as good of activity. So a pretty cool example just to show you with the the black light's pretty, pretty sweet, I think. So it's good, makes the point obvious. You know, it's something where you're, if you're in the field trying to do this stuff, you're going 30 miles an hour in a sprayer. It's hard to slow down and look at that. And then, let's see here. Get this one started on the right, we're gonna have enlist. There we go. So you just have a deer cam footage on the left is gonna be without an adjuvant, and on the right is gonna be with the Tether 24. 

Neil McCormick (15:13): We'll just let this one play out. So we're gonna see on the left, you'll start to on the right, you'll start to see it slowly. The plant, the, the weeds are gonna die in between the rows a lot faster. So by the time you get to the end, you're gonna see a bear row in between. And on the left, you're gonna see quite a few weeds still, still remaining. So even though we're using the same, the, you know, the same product with enlist product on both sides, you know, the chemistry hasn't changed, but the adjuvant ratting is the only factor that's, that's different. So you can see where even it's a high quality formulation, high quality dicamba product, it still takes that adjuvant to really you know, de-risk, make sure I'm killing the chemical as fast or killing the weed as fast as I can. 

Neil McCormick (15:52): So it's really that extra, you know, dollar, dollar, 15 acre, $2, whatever around that range just to make sure that we're getting that activity faster. And then on the left similar, so you just have Tether 24, so the, instead of the ev l with ams, this is the AMS free version. Same thing, you're just seeing better on water hemp. You're just seeing better coverage there. So it just shows you what an, what an adjuvant can do. Pretty simple form. And then so okay, you've covered what adjuvants are, what they do, why you need 'em. So how do I know, you know, one of the hardest parts is, well, how do I know what product to use with which chemistry? It's usually gotta call somebody, you gotta navigate the label, you know, you gotta, there's a, you know, a lot of different things and you know, it's hard to memorize all that. 

Neil McCormick (16:34): I know, Steve, you've been in adjuvants for 40 years and you don't have all the labels memorized yet. So , that's all he does all day. So what we've done is we've went through and actually you know, looked at the labels ourself, or if there was a label recommendation, we, we've cataloged that. And then we also, if there's not a label recommendation, we just tapped into our adjuvant expertise and tried to find the best recommendation we could. And actually, in our adjuvant guide we have, we have that cataloged proactive ingredient we sell per chemical. We sell we have it charted out to where you can just have that is a reference. And we also put it into the store. So when you go check out at the store, you, some of you might have seen this, where it just gives you you know, this is the best recommended adjuvant that we think you should pair with this product. 

Neil McCormick (17:18): So it takes all the workout instead of, and then if it's required, it'll actually say ad instead of saying recommended, as you see there, it'll say required. So if it does say required, you know, okay, what's the label requirement? It's something I've, you know, if that looks like I should probably use. And you don't have to call somebody or navigate the label or do any of that stuff. So it's really just a automated agronomy, a convenience thing there. Tank mixes are a little different story. Those are a little harder, but we're trying to figure out ways to account for tank mixes as well. So, you know, the hard part one is, okay, which adjuvant do I use with this product? And then hard part two is, well, now I gotta, instead of having a right per acre, I gotta have this like pints for a hundred gallons and I gotta rack my brain in the middle of the season to figure out how much of this adjuvant I need. 

Neil McCormick (17:58): And I have to do this math all the time, and it's a pain in the butt to kind of . I've got a calculator built in a spreadsheet every time I want to go figure out how much product I need. So within the acre packs, we've made it really easy. And you know, instead of needing that spreadsheet, when you order, you can just go, you know, okay, I'm gonna go look and see what adjuvant I need, then I can just go put the rate per hundred, the number of acres then it's gonna tell you exactly how much volume you need. So it's and then, and you can see the water. So you can put the gallons per acre. So if you're going five gallon work, 10 15, it'll adjust the amount of adjuvants you need on a V2 v basis. So really, really convenient. 

Neil McCormick (18:32): So those, those two tools, you know, good quality products, the tools you need to figure out the product, and then the tools, the tool you need to figure out how much you need. So yeah, so tried to hopefully show you, you know, we tried to simplify the adjuvant space and really make it easy for you guys to, to do this. Cause something, you know, in the middle of the season, the last thing you want to do is go navigate labels, do all this math and, and all that. So yeah. And with that, I'm gonna turn it over to Steve for a few slides here. Steve has spent 40 years in the adjuvant space. He was actually on the team that developed the first generic glyphosate formulation. So he's he lives and breathes adjuvants and knows more about it than just about anybody on the planet. So he'll tell you why quality matters and what the difference is. You know, you hear a lot of snake oil or you know, is this product actually good? There's, you know, expensive product, cheap product, how do I know what to trust or what to buy? So we're gonna let Steve as the expert, give you guys the, the rundown on that. So I'll turn it over to Steve. 

Speaker 2 (19:27): Thanks Neil. Yep. You got my mic on back there. Oh yeah, hopefully. Yeah. So if any of you ever wondered why, if a pesticide manufacturer thinks adjuvants are so important, why don't they just put it into the ag chem formulation itself? Raise your hand. How many of you ever wondered that? Well, it's a, it's a valid question, but think about this for a minute. When you're selling a pesticide, you wanna make that pesticide formulation as concentrated as you possibly can. If you're B A S L for bay or Syngenta, or if you're in the generic business, you wanna put as much active ingredient in that formula as you can get in there. Which means there's not a lot of room for other things. Pesticide manufacturers that are selling fungicides and insecticides, herbicides, PGRs, they want as much active ingredient in that jug as they can get. 

Speaker 2 (20:26): So it leaves a limited amount of room to put the surfactant in, which is why today almost every pesticide agrichemical has some tor sort of recommendation on the label about adjuvant use because it's critical. In the olden days, you could get by with it because they typically, you know, they were weak formulas and there's two pounds of active in a gallon or whatever it was, and they had plenty of room for the adjuvant. Nowadays it's not that way. And that's why nearly all your ad chemicals have some recommendation for an adjuvant. How many of you put say two or three products in a spray tank when you make an application or four or five? Okay, well there's another reason why adjuvant use is so critical cuz you got a lot of stuff in that tank and it's crucial to have the right additive in there. 

Speaker 2 (21:18): You can have all sorts of problems. And Neil, if you would just go ahead and run this, run this whole slide, put everything up here cuz I'm gonna come back to some points. So just run all the bullet points up at one time here and let everybody can kinda read through these because we're gonna talk a little bit about what happens with surfactants or crop oils or multi multi-functional novel type adjuvants. And this talks a little bit about what goes on on a farm if you use the wrong thing. And I guess the important question here is why does this matter and what happens? What can go wrong? And I started out in this business driving custom applicator rigs. My family was in farming down in Texas for years and I worked in distribution retail and then been involved in really all over the world. 

Speaker 2 (22:08): I've lived in London, Tokyo, and everywhere else and, and all of it in agriculture and formulations, adjuvants, agrichemical business. And there's, it doesn't matter if you're farming in Canada, it doesn't matter if you're farming in Alabama or Illinois or if you're in B Brazil or France or whatever. First of all, a farmer doesn't wanna have to go back and respray. Second of all, he doesn't wanna use a product. It's gonna cause trouble technically if it's an adjuvant, cuz that's, you know, you, you're, that's not it front and center of your mind when you're doing an application, you're thinking about the weed or the insect trying to kill and you just don't want to have problems. You don't want to have to clean strainers out and stop and helps her plugged up and you got a wire and trying to job out to you. Nobody wants to mess with that. 

Speaker 2 (22:56): And so when you look at all the points here on this slide, all of these lead to some bad outcomes. If you don't use the right product if you've got an insufficient good homogenous mixture of your spray in the tank, then you're gonna be okay. You're gonna be assured you've got even distribution of the chemical from one side of the field to the next. Oftentimes we have to shut down at night and you got half a load left, you gotta make sure it doesn't settle out. And when you go back to spray the next day and you start the agitator up, everything goes back into solution properly. But if you've got the wrong adjuvant and you got layering out in the tank, then you may have part of the field, you get the chemical on, but you don't get the effect of the adjuvant. 

Speaker 2 (23:38): Or even worse, you get some layering of the ad chemical itself. You start out on one side of the field, you get, get insufficient coverage of the chemical itself. And this is really critical when you're dealing with fungicides or insecticides cuz with a herbicide, you can go back a week later and look and tell if something went wrong cuz the weed's not dead. But when you're dealing with disease spores or dealing with insects, oftentimes you can't tell what happened or what went wrong until after the fact. When you've already got a a, it's already affected your yield to a point at which you cannot recover. So that's why when you look at, at, at on this chart here, some of the things that happen, these bottom two down here are really I important. When you oftentimes you have people who are working for small local adjuvant formulators, the salespeople that come and call on you salesman doesn't know what's in the jug. 

Speaker 2 (24:29): He's just been told this is what we need to sell. Or it's, everybody says it's good quality, but they don't really know. That's why it's important to buy your adjuvants from a company that understands the importance of the architecture of the adjuvant and what goes in that jug and makes sure it's consistent from, from one year to the next, from one batch to the next. There are certain technology providers and adjuvants that we all know and FBN has access to the best. And so we went through this whole, this whole adjuvant line, and we made sure that every product in this, in, in this whole farmer's first lineup is not, there's no trickery or foolishness that goes on with the architects of the products. You can always find something cheaper somewhere, but always remember this, you never get more than what you pay for. You'll never get more than what you pay for, but sometimes you'll get less. 

Speaker 2 (25:32): So when you look at, let's just take an for example here, a a 90 10 non OnX surfactant. Here's some of the, here's some of the things that can happen there. You say, well, it's 90 10 surfactant. What can be the difference? Well, it's how you build it. And when you, when you're trying to put together a product, there's certain cost factors involved, and the real true surfactant is where the cost is. And any type of a 90 10 non surfactant, the stuff that wets is what's costly. The fillers are not. And so that's where the games are played because you can say, well, how can they be both be 90 10 when they're built different? Well, you take it to a lab and you evaporate and drive the water off, you'll have 90% of something. We, we saw one Neil the other day, somebody sent us an example of one we checked it and had from aeh in it. 

Speaker 2 (26:20): And I don't know about you, but embalming fluid doesn't have any place on my farm. And so I, you know, but that's an example of you, you know, some of these fillers that go into it or antifreeze or glycols and this type of stuff. And so you don't want to go there. You gotta deal with people that deal, that know what what's in the, the jug. And at FBN we know what's in that jug every time. Go to the next one. This Neil showed you the time lapse video a while ago. This, it's, it's, I call it kind of the coffee ring effect. When you look here at, at the standard non on, you get a little bit of a migration to the edge of the actual ingredient. But when this insorb advanced, which by the way has a sugar base surfactant in it doesn't have any alki, noles, any of the stuff that's attributed to the rest of deer syndrome and that we don't have any of that in there. 

Speaker 2 (27:13): It's a sugar based surfactant. And it makes sure that the ac the active ingredient when that droplet dries that active ingredient. If you, if you see up here, it's pretty evenly distributed all through that droplet as it's dried on the leaf. And that's what you want. And that's the example of what happens between a good one and, and a bad one, a bad surfactant. You just don't know, first of all, you don't know if it's even gonna wet to begin with. And if it does wet, how long is it gonna keep the droplet wet so that the active ingredient can be absorbed into the plant? Same thing with crop oil. You look here and you say, okay, what happens? How can you build an oil? What's different about it? And so let's take crop oil concentrate, for example. A lot of you use crop oil concentrate MSOs as well. 

Speaker 2 (28:01): But think about it a lot of times you got something in that spray tank that doesn't necessarily like an adjuvant like ammonium sulfate. If you got AMS in that tank, you're gonna make have to make sure that your adjuvant is compatible with an electrolyte, which ammonium sulfate has a charge to it. And the only way that you'll get an adjuvant, particularly a crop oil to be compatible with ammonium sulfate is you've gotta put a, a special surfactant, a coupling agent in there that'll bind together with ammonium sulfate. Again, that costs money. It's not cheap to do that. And so when you find crop oils, it seem like a bargains. Well, there's a reason that they are. And we'll, we'll show you some pictures in a little bit. In fact, right here you can see you want there, there where, where you, it shows initial bloom. 

Speaker 2 (28:49): You really want to have some kind of a, of a, the beginnings of showing that product beginning to emulsify. When you get some kind of hard layer on top, you're in trouble. The initial blend shows it just, if you give it an initial shake, that's what happens. It mimics when you have agitation in your spray tank, you get this milky homogenous looks like milk, you know, milk's an emulsion. That's what it should look like. And then the next question is, what happens over time? Because, you know, it takes a time to get over the field. You've got some agitation presumably. But in the case of of a, a good well-made crop oil concentrate like implant clc, even without the presence of agitation, you still got this homogenous emulsion an hour later and there's no agitation. That picture at the end there, they didn't go back and shake, shake it up. 

Speaker 2 (29:41): That's the way it looks after it's been sitting there for an hour. And that's what you want in an adjuvant. You start getting the layering out and the yellowing and these other ones here that's gonna happen in your spray tank, which means your adjuvant oil as you know, floats to the top. You're gonna have part of you feel that you didn't, your your pesticide doesn't get any effect of the adjuvant cuz it's all floating on the top of the tank. So that's why quality matters, okay? Cuz that's the only way that you can be assured that you get the performance of the spray application here. It shows, there's like a split jar here showing the initial and after it's been sitting for a little while, and again, you got one of 'em over here that's just already layered out. It's back to clear water in one side of it that's not gonna do much good. 

Speaker 2 (30:26): You need to have that, you need to have that, that milky emulsion look. Okay? And same thing on just instead of high surf factor mso, you have the same issue with just a plain mso, which a a plain MSO usually has a little lower emulsifier level than a crop. Oil concentrates. So it tends to kind of break a little quicker. But what you don't want is to have that, that almost clear look that you see in the low quality with that really orange layered out at top. But when you see that liquid become almost translucent and clear, that means you've lost your emulsion quality and it's gonna again, affect the performance of your, particularly of your herbicide. Cause that's when we, most of the time when we're using mso, okay?

Speaker 2 (31:13): So one of the things that FBN has chosen to do is to participate in a voluntary certification program for adjuvants In Canada it's a little different because we deal with p R a there, there's a regulatory protocol in Canada that's, that's different from the United States and US adjuvants are not regulated by epa and which is why it's a little bit more of a wild west affair when it comes to quality. But the astm, which is a American Society of Testing and Materials, which is a an authority on testing methods for everything from civil engineering to nuclear physics. There's an Ag chemical group there and I've served on that committee for 20 years now, and companies can voluntarily supply formulas and samples under confidentiality. And there's a panel that will review that and give it a seal of approval. 

Speaker 2 (32:12): And many of, of the FBN adjuvants have that ASTM C P D A seal of approval. So they've been vetted for authenticity. It means that, you know, the architecture and the build of the product is the right way. And finally, before I turn it back to Neil, there's always one other thing that I apply this test to any product that I ever put in front of a client. FBN has been a client of mine for several years now. I call it the dad test. My dad, who now deceased, I used to always, from the time I got in this business back in 1981, I'd always think if I couldn't look my dad in the eye and say, you can use this product or recommend that you use this product, if I couldn't look him in the eye with confidence and say that to him, if I had any hesitation, even for a moment, I'd kill the product. I've never brought a product to any client ever that didn't pass the dad test. And every single product that we've got in this product, live adjuvants here at, at, at the farm under the Farmer's first brand, they passed the dad test. 

Neil McCormick (33:21): Yeah, thank you Steve. Appreciate it. You can stay up and answer. We'll do some q and a, but no yeah, I think one thing we might touch on here, Steve, is just the regulatory environment and what, what that looks like. So there's no, no re really, it's the Wild West as Steve mentioned. So there isn't any, when you go to the states, there's only seven, I think seven states, right, Sophie that regulate nine. So I'm getting the technic. It's nine states that regulates. So you can put anything in a jug. A lot of these games can be played to cut, cut cost. There's not a lot of in order if you're, for you to be able to tell, you know, well is this a low quality, high quality? There's tests you can do, but you have to send 'em in a, into a lab to really be able to do those you know, and analyze 'em. 

Neil McCormick (34:01): So it's something we just have to trust. You know, we tried to do a good job here today just giving you, you know, we don't wanna just say, Hey, trust me, it's good. We wanted to give you the pictures, the evidence, the, you know, the justification behind it. So hopefully you accomplish that here today just because it is there is some risks to, you know, like, like Steve said, not everybody knows what's in their products or, or that kind of thing. So it's I just wanna make sure the big investment you spend in the crop protection is really protected. It's doing its job. We're not risking any, risking any performance. So it's really meant to be able to give you peace of mind when you're applying your, applying those products and make sure that they're, they're doing the job. So you, I guess anything else on the regulatory before you do q and a? Steve? No. 

Speaker 2 (34:40): One thing though to remember, I was looking the other day at the Iowa State budgets for soybean and, and corn production, which encompassed all the, the crop input costs and fixed costs and land costs and adjuvants constitute somewhere between six tenths of 1% and 1.3% of the total budget for a farm. It, it, that's the wrong place to try to cut cost cuz adjuvants can have a disproportionate and outsized effect on a very expensive, you know, herbicide or insecticide or fungicide spray. It's just such a small part of the overall budget. The main thing is just always use the right product. You know, use, use it from someone you trust you can trust these products. 

Neil McCormick (35:24): Yep. Yeah, that's you know, our objective really with the quality and the pricing was just to have a good balance of quality and affordability. So he didn't wanna, he don't want to be the chief. We're probably not the cheapest cuz we did the work to be able to put the components that are gonna make him perform. But, but we're, we're not trying to gouge, we're not trying to make a ton of, you know, an oversized profit. So we just tried to be reasonable as far as the value proposition, make sure that it's you know good qual just a good price without sacrificing quality is really the core, core tenant.

So yeah, I hope we did a good job vetting that. If you have any questions, feel free to catch us afterwards. We have demonstrations down at the the booth space, so we can do a little spreader wetter adjuvant demonstration down there, have some visuals. And then we have a couple jars that you can see. If you shake 'em up, you can actually see the separation that we're describing here in real time. So if you want another visual, it's kind of cool just to see for yourself if you're curious about it. So with that we can turn it over to q and a if you guys have any follow up questions and we'll, we'll do our best job to answer 'em. We got a couple in the back there. 

Speaker 2 (36:23): I've worked with hundreds of thousands of acres of applications with ams, the dry formulation very effective, cheaper and I hate it. Are any of your liquid formulations getting, I still think it's the best product, the dry have ams, but any of your liquid AMS products performance wise right there where the dry is or better? 

Neil McCormick (36:52): The oh is the, so the question would be is the is the liquid if you have a liquid AMS or you're talking straight ams product or an alternative, like a low rate product 

Speaker 3 (37:06): About the, the the standard or the straight AMS dry product, we always use that. And you know, even like with Liberty and that kind of thing with the three pounds per acre was a lot more effective than anything we tried with a liquid. Well, we want to go away from using the dry. Gotcha. Think of the compatibility a little better using a liquid with surfactant too. 

Neil McCormick (37:26): Yep. So we have the no answer and then Steve can comment the, even LR would be our liquid reduced rate product. The, even DR would be the, the dry reduced rate. So those, those are going out about you know, four to one roughly ratio of dry dry AMS to ams. And then we have a liquid even 34 L would be the liquid amms. So that's, that's just a straight liquid amms. And then we've got the even L PRO would be ams, but it's got non ionic surfactant and drift mixed in with it. So that's one of our you know, so if you want all in one, if you need to surfactin any way you can have it all in all in one shot. So those would be you know, as far as glufosinate is the one that's probably the toughest to get away from AMS altogether you probably need, you can, you know, mix the, even DR and AD you have to supplement with some dry ms. It's hard to get completely away from it. But with glyphosate, we're confident in the performance with the even LR and the DR to replace dry ams and b just as you know, he got some data shows on it's, you know just as effective as as am or as AMS with glyphosate. I know. Steve, anything to tack onto that or 

Speaker 2 (38:30): Is that, well, you know, ammonium sulfate has always been the standard that you, you for a water conditioner. The problem is it takes so much of it, it's a logistical nightmare to handle. So every farmer has to make its own decision. Do I wanna pump a lot of liquid or haul a lot of dry material cuz it works great. The limitation is, is it just from a transportation and logistics and material handling standpoint, it's just, it's just tough. And so oftentimes some of the amms replacement products, even if they're not quite as good as ammonium sulfate, the benefits of just the, the ease of handling and the performance difference, while, while it might not be quite as good, in some cases it could be as good, but sometimes it's not. But the, the performance difference will be almost insignificant. So it's really a personal decision by the farmer. Do you want to handle a lot of dry or liquid ammonium sulfate at the, at the rates that you have to use it at to get an effect or, or not? And and every farmer's different. 

Neil McCormick (39:26): Yeah, so the data we have on, it's like 95 to 99% control compared to ams. So it is like, we're not claiming it's better. Like Steve said, it's, 

Speaker 2 (39:34): It's close 

Neil McCormick (39:35): To you as 

Speaker 2 (39:35): Good. It's just close enough, 

Neil McCormick (39:37): As good as, yeah, exactly. So cool. Hopefully that answered if it didn't, we can catch up after. Yeah. Can you clarify a little bit adjuvants for fungicides and in particular corn fungicides there seems to be more finesse, more particularity on corn, fungicide adjuvants. What ones are recommended to use and why, and what ones are not recommended to use and why? 

Speaker 2 (40:11): Yes. Typically the, typically the the sensitive issue around corn fungicide has been, you know, back several years ago when, when we had problems with the rested ear syndrome and nobody really knew what was causing that. And I don't know that a definitive answer. You look at research from, you know, different universities. One of the, one of the culprit seems to be the use of, of material called oxalates that are commonly used in non on or factors. And they're also used in emulsifiers for crop oil concentrate in MSO and 

Neil McCormick (40:45): Steve you might explain I think there's a lot of like N P P might be worth 

Speaker 2 (40:50): Explaining. Yeah, I'll, I'm okay. Yeah. So, so when you, when you look at this material typically called an OL ATE or an AL Koli ate, and a typical acronym is an MPE or ape, and those were pointed out as possible culprits for arrested deer syndrome and corn. And so there was a movement here to try to get away from those kind of materials and a lot of companies did. But like anything else, when you move away from MPE or APE materials, you increase the cost. The reason that those materials are used in the first place is it's the cheapest way to get a wetter. So, you know, naturally when people build products, they want to try to build it as inexpensive as possible and make it more affordable. But that is, that was the reason of all the concern about certain surfactants used in corn is to get away from those that use MPE or APE materials in the formulation. 

Neil McCormick (41:52): Ready? Yeah, so the two products we have two, there's an ENOR 90, then an ENSOR adv. So the ENSOR 90 is gonna be more your you know, your lower cost table stakes, surfactin, and then the ADV is the one we went through with the time lapse video, all that stuff that's gonna be AP free. So that's a, so Vitan eser sugar base so it's not a, an alcohol phenol is a, a drip byproduct from the oil and gas industry, right, Steve? From the, yep. So it's, instead of using that material, we're using a, a sugar base to be able to, and then it doesn't have the ap and that's, that's safe for corn fungicide. So that's the one we'd recommend. It'd be the ensor adv and then you can also use the field grip if you want to get some drift control. 

Neil McCormick (42:33): So the, the combination of those two is gonna give you a really really potent good combination for corn fungicide on the, in addition to the, like a typical mono is gonna be a spreader wetter. The additional benefit with the adv is there's evidence that it'll actually help carry the the fungicide into the plant. So you get a penetrant activity as well. So instead of just spreading it across the leaf, you're actually helping to carry it into the leaf with that, that product too. Anyway, enor ADV and field grip DRA is the, the recommendation on, on that. Yep.

Speaker 3 (43:06): I'm from, excuse me, I'm from southeast Missouri and in our area water is exceedingly cheap. But one thing we do have issue with, I know you had a slide on pH, but there's a lot of dissolved mineral content. Our area actually has a lot of iron in the water, then you go over to Kentucky, there's a lot of dissolved calcium through your experiments, have you seen anything in, I mean obviously well water cuz that's where the dissolved material usually is that really kind of is a common thread through experiments that interferes. 

Neil McCormick (43:34): You wanna take that one? 

Speaker 2 (43:37): So what was the heart of the question there? Oh 

Neil McCormick (43:39): Yeah, so the question is the iron cal or was it, you said what were the minerals you were, you

Speaker 3 (43:44): Were describing? Yeah. I mean, to solve mineral content that interferes with application where you've seen the chemistry go wrong with interference? 

Speaker 2 (43:51): Well, I mean anytime you've got minerals in the water, it, you know, it's s well known that, that it can interfere with glyphosate activity. And so the challenge is, is how do you, how do you render either salts or, you know positively charge minerals like zinc or manganese or iron? How do you render those ineffective? And that, that's why we've got an assortment here of water conditioners each, some of which are based on AM sulfate and some that aren't. And I don't know if it's quite as an issue, big an issue when you're doing insecticides. Back in, in the day when we had phosphates, pH was a big issue because it would hydrolyze or break down organo phosphate insecticides. We don't use a lot of those anymore. But typically with herbicides is where you get the biggest negative effect where water quality does manifest itself. And so anytime you've got a a pH issue, I mean obviously not everybody is sitting on a wat water, well, a neutral water that doesn't have minerals in it. I don't know one of those that ever been invented, but . But if you, particularly if you've got any sort of a, a pH issue and where you've got the presence of manganese or iron or calcium or zinc it's pretty much standard practice to make sure you use a good water conditioner. 

Neil McCormick (45:16): Yep. And as far as if there's more just using more to get more binding sites with the water conditioner's gonna, you know, it's just upping the rate if you have more dissolved mineral content than, than than others, I think could be the, you know, we don't have anything specific for iron or specific minerals, but just upping the rate of the water conditioner, the worse the conditions are. 

Speaker 2 (45:34): The labels are usually written for that. It'll have a ra range of rates on the label if you're in really severe water, use a higher rate. But typically the mechanism whereby a mineral is sequestered or, or rendered, you know, where it can interfere with your, with your pesticide, that mechanism's the same whether it's calcium or zinc or iron. It really is not specific to any one particular, 

Neil McCormick (45:56): Yeah, so just the number of binding sites in the adjuvant so that it can capture more of the minerals, that would be the, the thing that you can adjust for. Cool. You have any next question? Anything hopefully that answered. 

Speaker 6 (46:18): Okay. So you were talking about the sugar-based adjuvant and things like that. You know, I've heard of some guys that have just used sugar spraying out on their fields, stuff like that. I think there's a benefit as far as that goes. Do you see that as an advantage just from a surfactant scenario, I guess? Oh, if I'm making 

Speaker 2 (46:39): That clear Yeah, that that's, that, that's a I'm glad somebody asked. That's a good question there. Keep in mind that a sugar based surfactant is different than putting molasses or sugar or raw sugar in there. Completely different issue. In the case of Insorb advance, we're using a so Battan, which is a sugar alcohol, and then it's reacted with ethylene oxide, which makes it have both a water-loving and an oil loving end to it. That's how surfactant works. It joins, you know, between oil and water. And so the phenomenon on how a sugar based surfactant works is different than someone that's putting corn syrup or sugar or molasses in a formulation. It's a, it's a completely different phenomena. Yeah, I don't know, I don't know if that answers the question or not, but a sugar based surfactant is basically a sugar alcohol that has a been reacted to another element that helps it have both a water loving and an oil loving end to it, which is, yeah, and, and just plain sugar doesn't, doesn't do that. 

Neil McCormick (47:47): Yeah, somebody have some, like, you might get a little better spreading, but it's not gonna have the same overall quality or activity as a, just, so I wouldn't rely on that as a standalone surfactant by any means. Cause it has to go like the get to where of the state where it has to go through a reaction. There's a whole process to get it in the, for the alcohol form Steve's talking about. I think we're, we're all wrapped up, so appreciate everybody's time today. Hopefully that was informative. And we'll be around if you have any follow up questions or on any more info. So have a good rest of Farmer2Farmer. Thanks.

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FBN Network

Apr 12, 2023

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