Getting more from crop protection requires good knowledge of all the tools in the armoury and how they interact with each other – from fungicides and biostimulants, to adjuvants and water conditioners.
To consolidate all of this knowledge into one easy-to-access place, Interagro has recently launched a Pushing Performance Hub.
Here, Interagro’s Stuart Sutherland talks through what exactly the new hub is and what growers can get out of it.
Q. What is the Pushing Performance Hub?
Ultimately, it’s a free online knowledge hub which provides both growers and sprayer operators with a wide range of information; such as crop protection performance barriers, and a masterclass on water conditioners, adjuvants and drift retardants, to help you create the perfect environment for your inputs and crops to thrive – with a biostimulant masterclass coming soon.
It also features answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding crop performance and if the answer you’re looking for isn’t there, there’s also the option to ask for expert advice.
Being online means this resource is available whenever and wherever it’s needed.
Q. Why would I use it?
With inputs and energy costs at an all-time high, profitability could be hanging in the balance for many farm businesses. So having access to advice on making crop protection inputs more efficient, reliable and effective, which can in turn add extra momentum to your crop protection performance, ensures you get the most from your investment.
What’s more, busy spring workloads bring additional pressure with catchy weather patterns and challenging spraying conditions. Extreme weather events add to the stress – stress for you, your crops and your crop protection programme, leading to unpredictable, inconsistent performance.
Spray days can also be limited and the conditions in which you mix your spray and apply it all put pressure on inputs too.
With this in mind, it’s important to ask yourself, what more can you do to get products where they are needed and get as much out of them as you can? Lots of small changes can have big results and can swing the odds in your favour. The hub features a lot of information on how to make this happen.
Q. How will it help?
Ultimately, we believe it’ll help empower, upskill and help you to achieve more. It aids the identification of some of the weak spots in your crop production that you may not have realised existed – either empowering you to make changes for the better or confirming what you are doing makes good sense.
It maybe that it can help to give you a fresh mindset towards adjuvants and water conditioners, for example, or is simply a resource which gives you the knowledge to do something different and perhaps even get better results.
For example, did you know that hard water could deny you 30% of a pesticide’s potential activity? At high pH, you could lose 50% of a pesticide’s activity, and it’s not just glyphosate that’s affected. The leaf cuticle is the biggest barrier to crop protection sprays and often pesticides with high water solubility will require an adjuvant to work properly.
Q. Who is the hub aimed at?
Anyone applying, buying or recommending crop protection products and growing crops.
Whether you’re a spray operator, farmer, agronomist or farm manager, you will be confronted by the same questions time and time again: how can I make crop protection sprays more effective? How can I make them more efficient? How can I improve profitability?
Q. Why did you produce this hub?
Adjuvants, water conditioners and biostimulants are such a broad and complex subject. There is also a lot of bias around their effectiveness, and they’re still considered muck and mystery by those not using them.
More importantly, we believe it’s vital to understand the limitations of your crop protection programme, how to overcome them and what you have to gain by doing so – small changes can have big positive outcomes. But change nothing, and nothing will change.
We also felt there wasn’t a ‘one-stop-shop’ for this kind of information, so we hope that this helps consolidate all the advice and research in one place to make it more accessible to growers.
Q. What will I learn?
The hub is a one-stop shop for those seeking answers to their crop protection questions. The Pushing Performance Hub provides expert guidance, advice and tips on topics including:
- Optimising tank mixes for safety and efficacy
- Dealing with problematic water conditions
- Buffering pH to stabilise plant protection products and guarantee performance
- Using drift reduction technology to keep sprays on target
- Employing products with anti-drift benefits to maximise coverage and deposition
- Reducing surface tension to optimise on-target coverage
- Increasing foliar penetration of pesticides through leaf cuticles
From how to achieve the right tank mix to help boost pesticide efficacy and crop safety, to mitigating the negative effects of hard water or a high pH, to tactics to reduce spray drift, and so on – we’ve tried to cover everything that we speak to growers about on a daily basis, and we intend to keep the hub growing. We’re working on plant health and biostimulants at the moment, so watch this space for more to come…
To explore the hub, visit https://www.interagro.co.uk/pushing-performance-hub/