Water chemistry plays a large part in getting maximum efficacy from your herbicides during pre-season burn-off or in-season spraying. Tank mixing herbicides with hard water that has high pH levels can reduce their effectiveness, which can ultimately lead to less weed control and loss of yields.
The water from wells and dug-outs that’s often used on the farm is usually hard water. Testing for water hardness and pH level is a good place to start, and there’s a good chance the test will reveal it isn’t as soft as you’d like it to be.
Water hardness is measured in parts per million (ppm). Test results from 100–200 ppm indicate hard water, with anything over 160 ppm being very hard. The pH level of water for crop spraying shouldn’t exceed 7 on the pH scale. When the test reveals hard water and/or high pH levels, I always recommend a water conditioner to soften the water and lower its pH to make it more suitable for crop spraying.