Agronomy Update May 2018
Posted on May 08, 2018
By David Dyson, Agronomist
This last month I had the opportunity to travel to North Platte, Nebraska. North Platte is the home to West Central Research and Extension Center for the University of Nebraska. This research facility is utilized by Dr. Greg Kruger, an associate professor in the weed science department, to test various spray solutions for compatibility, volatility, and the potential of drift. Appropriately, my visit to North Platte was to gain a better understanding of the drift testing process as The Andersons has several products being tested for tank mixing with dicamba herbicide products.
I want to start by talking about Dr. Greg Kruger’s lab out in North Platte. Contamination can be a nightmare in any testing facility, and Dr. Kruger’s crew takes every measure to ensure there will be no contamination during any test in the lab. They receive hundreds of products every week to test and have found the best way to keep all the products separated during testing and to safeguard against contamination is to use two liter bottles (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Products stored in two-liter bottles and ready to be tested.
Two machines stood out to me while touring the lab. The first was the machine that tested spray coverage (Figure 2). Dr. Kruger can simulate different application rates by varying the speed and pressure. Coverage is measured with paper that reacts to the water. Figure 3 highlights the differences identified when the amount of water used to carry the chemical was increased. Not only do we reduce the number of fine droplets, which cause drift, we increase the surface area to which the chemical was applied.
Figure 2: This machine tests spray coverage at different rates and speeds.
Figure 3: These sheets turn blue when exposed to water. During testing, all three sprays used 40 psi. The sheet on the left was applied using 10gal/ac, the middle sheet was applied using 15 gal/ac, and the right sheet was applied using 20gal/ac.
The second machine that impressed me on my tour was the 40-foot wind tunnel. Dr. Kruger uses 40 feet for several reasons. The main reason is to allow the wind to settle into a linear motion after the turbines push the air into the tunnel. Secondly, they can show real-world drift in the space provided in the tunnel. No picture can do it justice, but Figure 4 illustrates how different products are injected into the wind tunnel. Figure 5 shows how they can count and size the droplets with a laser.
Figure 4: The injection system for the wind tunnel test.
Figure 5: The laser that Dr. Kruger uses to size and count the droplets. The red spot in the center is the laser coming in contact with the droplets.
The Andersons has submitted various products to the West Central Research Center for testing. We are committed to excellence and bringing products to the market that will have the lowest off-target potential. Labs like Dr. Kruger’s provide us with data so we can make an educated decision on the likelihood that a product will perform as intended.
By Jessica Stacy, Agronomist
The Andersons strives to be on the cutting edge of technology. In pursuit of this, many products have been tested and approved for tank mixing with dicamba products, including XtendiMax® With VaporGrip® Technology, FeXapan™ and Engenia®.
In order to receive approval for tank mix compatibility, a product must undergo spray drift testing to ensure a low volatility when used in the field. Researchers evaluate droplet size distribution in a low-speed wind tunnel. Results are then evaluated to decide if the product mix is acceptable to be used in the field. See below for a list of all products approved as tank mix partners.
Our team is working diligently to receive additional product approvals for tank mix compatibility. Visit this page for the latest updates.”
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©2018 The Andersons, Inc. All rights reserved. Engenia is a registered trademark of BASF Corporation. FeXapan is a trademark of DuPont. XtendiMax and VaporGrip are registered trademarks of Monsanto Company. The Andersons, Phosfix, and OverPass are registered trademarks of The Andersons, Inc. Korrect is a trademark of The Andersons, Inc.