Ilex EnviroSciences Limited

Maximising herbicide efficiency - Case Study


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The most important component in achieving an effective and efficient spray solution will always be the water source, so in hard water areas, using a good quality water conditioner is essential to prevent chemical breakdown and maximise herbicide performance.

Around the country water can range from soft to hard and its pH can also vary depending on location. From Yorkshire down to the south coast the eastern half of England is predominantly a naturally hard water area as many will know with scale deposits found in kettles and on taps etc. This effect is down to increased levels of dissolved calcium, magnesium and bicarbonate ions in hard water which can reduce the activity of spray solutions by up to 50%.

The chemical breakdown of herbicides, caused by high pH water in the sprayer, can be considerable and rapid, starting from the time of mixing and continuing until the water has evaporated from the spray droplet lying on a leaf surface.

To minimise the effects on the active ingredients in the spray solution, ModipHy Xtra contains a combination of inorganic and organic acids to sequester and neutralise these hard water ions and buffering agents also stabilise the spray solution to allow for easier mixing and application.

Then, crucially, using our experience in the mobilisation of nutrients in the plant, ModipHy Xtra has been formulated to maximise plant uptake and utilisation of the spray solution to achieve the desired response.

Trials on farms affected by hard water, have shown clearly visible benefits, particularly with regards to improving the speed and efficiency of weed kill. Paul Hayes, for example, farming in Cambridgeshire with water hardness rates of above 300 ppm had been struggling to get the performance he expected from his herbicides and had tried various wetting agents to boost performance. To test ModipHy Xtra, Paul sprayed half a field of wheat stubble with glyphosate at the standard rate of 3 litres per hectare and the second half at a reduced rate of 1.5 litres per hectare but in spray water treated with ModipHy Xtra.

Paul reported visible differences between the treatments within 7 days. The area treated with half rate glyphosate in water conditioned with ModipHy Xtra had shown a rapid weed kill whilst the area treated with the full rate herbicide alone took 14 days before it began to die off. When revisited in March the following year the effects were still clearly visible. In comparison the half treated with the inclusion of ModipHy Xtra (shown right-side of main image) showed only slight re-growth whilst grass weeds were prevalent again in the field area treated with the herbicide alone. To achieve a comprehensive kill this area required two re-sprays whereas the side treated with ModipHy Xtra required only one.

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