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Crop Care
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Surfactants as soil wetters

Soils can be naturally hydrophobic in nature; this is often exacerbated when the soil is left to dry for an extended time or has a high organic content. Soil hydrophobicity can lead to water pooling and surface run-off, which has a direct consequence on plant growth through restriction of water infiltration and supply to a plants’ root zone in the case of turf grass and field crops. Soil quality and physiochemical properties can directly affect the penetration and percolation of water throughout the soil profile.

Agrochemical treatments, in particular pre-emergent herbicides are often applied directly to soil, which is naturally a hydrophobic substrate and doesn’t interact favourably with water. The hydrophobic nature of the soil can limit the penetration and infiltration of irrigation-based applications. Consequences of such unfavourable interaction can lead to surface run-off and reduced percolation and distribution of water within the soil.

Poor soil penetration is caused by the surface tension of the droplet. Breaking down the surface tension allows the droplet to collapse and spread over the surface, wetting it thoroughly without running off. Surfactants are one of the best ways to reduce this surface tension and therefore can be applied in formulations or at tank side to improve soil penetration of agrochemical treatments to control soil borne diseases like nematodes and fungus.

Hydravance™ 200 is our latest development in soil adjuvant technology. It improves soil penetration and helps to achieve an even distribution throughout the soil profile. Its key features and benefits include:

  • Increases soil penetration, reducing surface run-off and pooling
  • Distributes evenly throughout the soil
  • Retains moisture in root zone
  • Has extended performance: ‘re-wettability’ properties

To understand the in-use benefits of Hydravance 200, we have mapped it against the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs). There are 17 SDGs which were introduced in 2015 as a call to all countries, organisations and individuals to improve the lives of people everywhere by 2030. We have identified that Hydravance 200 can contribute to the four SDGs; 2 zero hunger, 6 clean water and sanitation, 12 responsible consumption and production and 15 life on land.

Hydravance™ 200

Hydravance™ 200 Datasheet

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Hydravance 200 product demonstration - improving water absorption

The soil plugs have been applied with just water, water with a standard surfactant and water with Hydravance 200. With Hydravance 200 the whole soil plug is wet throughout whereas the other soil plugs are only partially wetted due to surface run on and poor absorption. Watch the video to see this demonstration in full.

Canvas disk test method

To supplement the soil plug test we also use a techniques called the canvas disk test. Canvas disks are extremely hydrophobic in nature and are resilient to water penetration. The canvas disk test method is a very quick but effective method for screening wetting agents. The video demonstrates this test method and shows the excellent performance of Hydravance 200. 

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