Water is considered hard when there are high levels of calcium, magnesium or bicarbonate ions. Because these ions hold a positive charge, they are able to bind with negatively charged ions found in herbicide products. This causes the herbicide and water solution to be less soluble and can sometimes reduce plant absorption of the active ingredient when applied to a field.
A water conditioner is a product that reduces water hardness levels and creates an ideal environment in the sprayer tank for herbicide efficacy. It lowers the pH in water to the point that herbicide’s negative ions aren’t able to chemically bind with hard water’s positive ions. The end result is maximum herbicide performance and efficacy for your crops.
Droplet size is also an important factor when spraying herbicides. Water normally will stand as a droplet with a small area of contact onto a plant’s surface. Surfactants break the surface tension of droplets, allowing herbicide mixtures to spread out and adhere better to crop surfaces. Because of this, surfactants improve crop uptake and absorption of the herbicide mixture. They also reduce off-target spray drift and waste.
Drift control agents modify droplet development to optimize spray patter to improve application on target plants. They improve canopy penetration and reduce drift and evaporation. Pesticide type and spray equipment can very the amount of drift as well so it is one part of the equation.