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Audio Clip
AgronomyEpisode 164

Adjuvant selection tips to optimize crop protection performance

Matthew Wilde
Apr 30, 2024

Protecting crops from weeds, insects and diseases is essential for maximizing yield potential. Codee Lee, a crop protection and adjuvants expert with CHS, says strategic adjuvant selection is key for achieving effective crop protection.

Adjuvants enhance the performance or physical properties of a tank mix in all conditions, Lee explains.

“They aren’t a silver bullet, but adjuvants can make or break a tank mix,” Lee continues. “Adjuvants help get pesticides where they need to be and make sure there’s adequate coverage on the different pests we’re trying to control.”

Adjuvant choices

There are multiple types of adjuvants on the market. Lee urges growers to consult pesticide labels for details on which adjuvants are required for the conditions present at application time.

A few commonly used adjuvants include the following:

  • Surfactants change the physical properties of the spray solution and droplets. They can help improve the efficacy of the pesticide’s ability to emulsify, disperse, spread and stick by reducing surface tension, which increases a droplet’s ability to remain in contact with the leaf surface for longer periods of time.
  • Oils reduce surface tension to help improve penetration of spray droplets.
  • Drift control agents, such as drift retardants or deposition aids, can improve placement of pesticide sprays by increasing average droplet size.

“Deciding which adjuvants to use can be tricky. Growers need to prioritize their crop protection goals,” Lee says. Producers must balance crop safety, plant growth stage, the environment and severity of the pest problem to determine the necessary aggressiveness of an adjuvant package, he adds.

Adjuvant benefits

Adjuvants help optimize the return on investment of crop protection products by improving product performance, Lee says.

“Whether it’s insects constantly feeding, diseases slowly killing crops or weeds competing for space, sunlight, nutrients and water, by not controlling those things, they are constantly bringing down potential yield.”

Adjuvant advancements

Lee says companies are constantly working to improve adjuvants, developing multi-faceted, more convenient products.

One example is Tapran™, a multifunctional, high-efficacy adjuvant from CHS that helps activate herbicides for better performance against tough-to-control weeds, including later season weeds. Tapran is a high surfactant oil concentrate, water conditioning agent and deposition aid.

Lee urges farmers with adjuvant questions to seek advice from a trusted agronomic adviser. Learn more about adjuvant options at

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