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Good Preparation and the Right Products Can Minimize Drift


Quality adjuvants are helpful tools.

advantages of adjuvantsOff-target drift is one of the biggest concerns associated with herbicide application throughout the growing season. Whether herbicides are custom-applied or farm-applied, spray application must be carefully managed to minimize off-target drift. Though it may be unintentional, drift has the potential to reduce product efficacy, create costly damage to nearby crops, injure wildlife and contaminate water supplies.

Off-target drift is one of the biggest concerns associated with herbicide application throughout the growing season. Whether herbicides are custom-applied or farm-applied, spray application must be carefully managed to minimize off-target drift. Though it may be unintentional, drift has the potential to reduce product efficacy, create costly damage to nearby crops, injure wildlife and contaminate water supplies.

By understanding drift management and the pesticides you’re working with, off-target product movement can be greatly minimized. There are two types of drift:

  • Vapor drift - which is related to the product formulation (ester vs. amine), temperature and relative humidity. It is not a function of the application method or equipment.
  • Particle drift - which is a function of the application method, equipment and air movement. The key factors are:
    • Droplet size
    • The equipment and operation technique
    • Wind speed and direction and climatic conditions
    • Utility modifiers, including emulsifiers, dispersants, stabilizers, compatibility agents and anti-foam agents.

Controlling droplet size by choosing the proper nozzles and operating equipment at recommended pressures is the most effective way to minimize drift. Most pesticide products provide detailed application recommendations on the product label, so begin with a good review of the label directions for products you intend to apply.

Tools to help minimize spray drift, enhance pesticide performance

Adjuvants are tools that can play a major role in safe and effective pest control when used as recommended on the label. These non-pesticide products are added to the spray mixture to enhance the pesticide’s performance and/or the physical properties of the spray mixture. Examples include surfactants, oils, compatibility agents, buffering and conditioning agents, defoaming agents, deposition agents, drift control agents and thickeners.

Correctly choosing and using the right one for your application requires knowledge of the site you plan to spray, the target pest, your equipment and, of course, the pesticide you plan to use. Again, start the process by reading the pesticide label. Choose adjuvants that not only minimize the risk of costly off-target spray application but also optimize product efficacy to ensure you get the most from your pesticide investment.

Drift retardants and deposition aids

Since drift is a function of droplet size, wind speed and height of the spray boom, consider using adjuvants that function as drift retardants or deposition aids by increasing the average droplet size of the tank-mix spray.

AeroFuse is an adjuvant that’s engineered to help spray components stick together, keeping spray droplets from shearing into fines that can move off-target into sensitive areas. In addition, AeroFuse maximizes the number of ideally sized spray droplets also reducing drift of the active ingredient and optimizing penetration of the crop canopy.

Available from Southern States®, AeroFuse is a good choice for ground-application and is often recommended for aerial applications. When CP™11TT-type nozzles are used with AeroFuse in aerial spraying, droplet size is within a more uniform range to more effectively deliver the pesticide active ingredient throughout all layers of the crop canopy.

Talk with your local Southern States Cooperative agronomy professional for more information on adjuvants and help choosing the most appropriate products for your crop protection needs.

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