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Challenges in the Field: Increased Productivity and the Role of Adjuvants

Posted in: 2020, November 29

The increase in the global population (now projected by the UN to reach 8.5 billion people by 2030) and the subsequent growth in demand for food and agricultural inputs challenge the current agricultural practices to optimize productivity.  This is compounded by limitations on land and availability of natural resources to supply.   The combination of genetic improvement of cultivars, new generations of pesticides, refined application technologies, plant nutrition, and precision agriculture has increased production capacity year over year. For example, the average soybean yield has doubled (from 1,700 to 3,400 kg/ha), the corn yield has quadrupled (from 1,600 to 6,000 kg/ha), and the  cotton yield has increased twelve-fold (from 140 to 1,700 kg/ha) within the last for decades in Brazil.  Similar improvements are seen in other cultivated regions around the world.

Tank mix adjuvants are important tools to directly boost the performance of agricultural pesticides and application technologies. Adjuvants (from the Latin adjuvare: the one that helps) in agriculture are any substances that, when added to phytosanitary liquids, enhance the effectiveness of the active ingredient or ingredients (a.k.a. performance adjuvants) or operation during preparation and spraying (a.k.a. auxiliary adjuvants).

Performance adjuvants improve the bio-effectiveness of a given asset. These include spreading agents, droplet retention, drift reducers, penetration, rain resistance, pH conditioners, and deposit improvers, among others.   Auxiliary adjuvants include foam inhibitors, water conditioners, and mix compatibles.  These products are convenient and easy to use, as they prevent problems that can delay application, such as foaming, the formation of precipitates, and the clogging of spray nozzles and/or filters. 

In general, adjuvants modify the chemical and physical properties of a tank mix, and the surface tension of the liquid is key in achieving the desired characteristic. This defines the average diameter of spray drops, the ability to wet leaf surfaces, distribution of the active ingredient, adhesion (or not) of the drop at the time of impact on the target, and access to areas not directly affected by the drops, among other things.

In order to direct its customers on the purpose of using its surfactant line, Oxiteno’s Crop Solutions segment operates through the “Tank Mix Adjuvants” Platform promoting solutions for drift control, mix compatibility, rain resistance, drop retention, penetration aids, tank cleaning, and adhesive scattering.

The Crop Solutions segment has a dedicated and exclusive R&D, Marketing, and Commercial team all over the globe.  Additionally, the R&D team has key technical capabilities that help in the development of the platform including:

  • Spray chambers
  • Growth chambers
  • Greenhouses
  • Drop analyzers
  • Specialized Application Laboratory

Among the solutions in Oxiteno’s portfolio, SURFOM® MIX and SURFOM® DRT are the latest launches. With patented technology, they assist farmers with ensure greater efficiency of applications with the following technological advantages:

  • SURFOM® MIX—Compatibility of complex tank mixes and prevention of precipitation of assets and consequent clogging of nozzles
  • SURFOM® DRT—Reduction of drift and greater accuracy, ensuring not only the safety of application for the operator, the environment, and neighboring crops, but also enhanced application performance.

The challenges of sustainable productivity growth in the field requires constant evolution and application of the best technologies. Thanks to the expertise of its researchers and R&D structure, Oxiteno supports its customers and partners in the search for the most appropriate solutions.