Adjuvant a real help in need
By Allan Wright
THE dictionary definition of an adjuvant is a help. It is a help which will be needed more than ever with grain at £80/t, according to Keith Dawson, technical manager of CSC CropCare.
"There may be a tendency for growers to look at ways of cutting costs and to have adjuvants high on the list of possible savings. Some may even see them as expensive luxuries. But our trials show they have definite advantages and are even more important in the current cost/price squeeze," says Dr Dawson.
He reckons the coming season will be one of the most exciting on record with new generation chemicals set against a background of low grain prices.
10% price cut
"We are still awaiting prices for the new chemicals. But we are confident price pressure on the end product will drive down input costs by around 10% and more in some cases."
Adjuvants will continue to have a place either to allow reduced pesticide doses without impairing efficacy, or to improve uptake under difficult conditions, he maintains.
As a member of the governments Pesticide Forum he identifies another and increasingly important reason for using adjuvants. "It has to be good for the image of our industry if we can demonstrate we are using the minimum quantity of chemicals without compromising quality of the end product. That has to be good for the environment and for public perception of agriculture."
Whether conventional or new chemistry is used, he urges farmers to take proper advice on adjuvant choice. "There are cowboys around only interested in a sale. It is vital to have a proper understanding of which adjuvants will work for which pesticides."
CSC has spent the past five years testing adjuvants with the latest chemicals. While Dr Dawson is reluctant to divulge too many commercial secrets he is confident the new fungicides benefit greatly from additives.
"To give one example, using quinoxyfen (as in Fortress) with the adjuvant Arma we have prolonged disease control, reduced the dose by half and given savings of £10/ha (£4/acre) on chemical cost. We have achieved almost season-long control of mildew in Golden Promise and Prisma barleys, both highly susceptible to the disease.
"We have also achieved 30% cost savings in eyespot and other stem-based disease control.
"I see a bright future for adjuvants working with the new products, but it is very important that the pairings are correct. There can be negative effects. Growers must have proper advice based on sound trial work that demonstrates cost effectiveness," says Dr Dawson.
• Extra help in cost/price squeeze.
• Valuable in tricky conditions.
• Need careful matching to product.
• Trials backing essential.