• Crop Protection

Making the Case for Water Conditioners


You might not consider how your water is affecting weed control, but without the right water conditioners, you could be reducing your herbicide’s effectiveness by 10% to 20%.1 That means you won’t be getting the most from the dollars you’ve already spent to combat weeds, and it could mean that you’ll spend more on damage control in the future.


Not all water conditioners perform the same way, so here are some tips to get the most from the products in your tank.


Understand the need for water conditioners

Water conditioners are a class of adjuvants that tie up cations including calcium, potassium and magnesium in water so that negatively charged herbicide particles don’t bind to them, which can reduce herbicide effectiveness. Cations in the soil or on a leaf can also bind to herbicide particles, so water conditioners help block those interactions to improve herbicide uptake as well. Based on the herbicide you plan to use, there are different types of water conditioners to consider.


Choose the right product

All water needs conditioning, although the rate of water conditioner you apply will depend on the hardness of your water. Ammonium sulfate (AMS) water conditioners are commonly used with glyphosate and glufosinate applications to improve herbicide performance. One option is Class Act® NG®, which combines AMS with a nonionic surfactant and antifoaming agent in a liquid premix. One benefit of Class Act NG is that the predissolved liquid AMS alleviates sedimentation and nozzle plugging in the sprayer. It’s also formulated with CornSorb® technology to help improve herbicide uptake into the plant.


If you plan to spray dicamba, you’ll need to explore non-AMS-based water conditioners. Due to an increased risk of volatility, AMS water conditioners are not labeled for use with in-season dicamba sprays. But you’ll still need to condition water to optimize glyphosate performance with dicamba applications.


Class Act Ridion® is specifically formulated for use with in-season dicamba and is designed to protect glyphosate and other herbicides antagonized by cations in hard water. Class Act Ridion is a dual-chelation chemistry that provides industry leading water conditioning and CornSorb technology, two features that help improve plant uptake and set it apart from other non-AMS water conditioners.


OPTIFY™ XX adjuvant is another non-AMS water conditioner option for use with in-season dicamba sprays. It’s a convenient, versatile blend of ammonium-free water conditioner, nonionic surfactant and drift-reduction agent to optimize herbicide performance, and it rivals the competition’s best products.


Consult your trusted advisor

There are a lot of water conditioners on the market, so do your research before you make your decision. You only get one shot to eliminate weeds, and the right water conditioner can make a big difference in how effective your control will be. Work with your local WinField United retailer to find the best products to fit your needs.

This article was originally published in December 2019. It was updated in December 2020.


1. Based on WinField United research.
All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission.

Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices, and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years, and be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results.
© 2020 WinField United. Class Act®, CornSorb®, NG®, OPTIFY™, Ridion® and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.

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