Water quality and burn-off or in-season spraying

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.

Not only is softer water better for the efficacy of your glyphosate, but continuous use of water with high pH levels during herbicide applications can increase pH levels in the soil. This can lead to stressful growing conditions for crops and have negative impacts on a crop’s overall health. OMEX offers two water conditioners; each formulated to be most effective depending on the application.

To increase herbicide efficacy during burn-off, I recommend pHix, a water conditioner that’s formulated with stabilized sulfur. pHix creates an ideal environment inside the spraying tank for maximum herbicide efficacy by reducing water hardness to levels below 50 ppm.

Comparison of UTC and a crop that was treated with pHix and Glyphosate. pHix increases the efficacy of glyphosate by lowering spray water pH levels.

pHix’s acidic nature also lowers the pH of the spray solution to 2.5–3.5, which helps prevent herbicides from becoming chemically tied up with the ions that are usually present in hard water, such as calcium and magnesium. When you think about it, it makes sense that herbicides will perform better when they’re able to move freely. When using pHix, always add it to your water first to ensure the water is conditioned before adding your herbicide to the tank.

For in-season spraying, water conditioning needs are slightly different, so I recommend OMEX’s SopHtner95, a soil and water pH conditioner. SopHtner95 increases the solution chelation properties, and also buffers the tank mix solution and controls algae in the tank.

SopHtner95 is formulated using naturally-occurring organic acids, and is safer for the environment and applicators than other pH reducers like ammonium sulfate.

By having the right products on hand to soften and correct pH levels in hard water, you can improve efficacy for your burn-off and in-season spraying. Give your OMEX representative a call today to learn more about how our water conditioners can bring benefits to your crop.

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