Stop Singing the Blues

Soluble solutions help reduce copper complications

Published in the August 2014 Issue Published online: Aug 10, 2014
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"A big difference. The tomato plant in the top image was treated with MasterCop, while the bottom plant was treated with regular copper hydroxide.
"Herb Young
"Water soluble. MasterCop (left) has a clearer liquid formulation than other copper hydroxide fungicides. It is water soluble and requires no agitation to maintain suspension.

Traditional copper products pose costly headaches and hassles for growers. From coating of plants to equipment stoppage due to clogging, coppers have presented growers with significant challenges that are welldocumented by industry experts.

Sarah Hornsby, president of Agricultural Crop Consulting, Inc., in Parrish, Fla., says that for anyone who has ever used copper inputs, sprayer issues are the norm. “We often have to stop our sprayers and clean the systems out,” she relates. “Plus, the abrasion and corrosion caused by copper fungicides puts a lot of wear and tear on equipment, which adds time and expense.”

Gary Cloud, certified crop advisor and owner of GLC Consulting in Tallahassee, Fla., concurs with Hornsby about challenges with copper-based fungicides. “Aggressive mixing is absolutely essential. If a copper mixture sits in the tank even for short periods of time, it falls out of suspension,” he says. “Once a product settles to the bottom of the tank, there’s always a risk of not being able to get the mixture back into suspension.”


SOLUBLE COPPER: A BETTER SOLUTION

Complex management issues with copper inputs for disease control are now getting resolved by way of water-soluble solutions.

Herb Young, ADAMA brand leader, says copper fungicides that are water-soluble are helping growers and applicators move away from the hassles associated with handling, mixing and re-suspension. “Newer copper inputs that are water-soluble, like MasterCop fungicide/bactericide, can provide quality disease control with a lot less management,” Young says.

Water-soluble copper is best described as being a “true solution,” not a suspension.

“The makeup of a water-soluble platform prohibits the active ingredient from settling or separating once it goes into a mix,” Young says. “Because the older, more traditional coppers are suspensions, it takes a lot more time and effort to keep them suspended with constant agitation to avoid settling or separation.”

One rationale for why solubles work better is the different sizes of copper particles. According to Young, formulations with smaller copper particles require less metallic copper to maintain efficacy. “With less active ingredient, soluble coppers eliminate risk of slowing photosynthesis due to plant coating,” he says. “The burden of equipment stoppage is also eliminated, with no clogging or clumping.”


GAME CHANGERS

According to Young, “products like MasterCop are game-changers, giving growers and applicators exactly what they’ve been wanting in an easy-tomanage copper solution for quality disease control.”

MasterCop by ADAMA is a copper complex formulation of copper sulfate pentahydrate. As a solution-based concentrate, MasterCop delivers all the proven performance features known for copper, but with less required attention when handling, mixing and applying.

MasterCop requires no mixing or shaking of jugs or additional steps to maintain its suspension.

Vegetable grower Greg Church, from Unicoi, Tenn., experienced the simplicity behind MasterCop after testing it in 2012 on his farm.

“The low use rate was impressive and easy to mix,” he said. “MasterCop requiredminimal agitation. Plus, there was no settling or buildup to deal with. The solution went smoothly and evenly across the field. And cleanup was hassle-free.”

Hornsby agrees. “The user-friendly formulation greatly simplified our application process. There was no clogging or nozzle wear. We also saw balanced spray coverage,” she added. “As a firsttime user, the handling and application upgrades with MasterCop demonstrated immediate value in comparison to copper fungicides routinely recommended to our growers”