Sturgeon Valley Fertilizers (SVF) has for several years now have been using a water conditioner from NutriAg called BB5 when spraying glyphosate (Roundup, etc.) through its custom application equipment. Water used for spraying is City of Edmonton treated drinking water – this is good drinking water but has some characteristics that can affect herbicide effectiveness. Water quality testing done by the City (posted on their website) shows that this water is slightly alkaline to alkaline (pH between 7.8 to 8.0) and medium high in minerals/carbonates. Alkaline water can cause a reaction called alkaline hydrolysis – this causes the degradation and reduced sensitivity of some pesticides, especially glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup). In addition, high mineral content antagonizes various herbicides (including glyphosate) and reduces control.
To maximize glyphosate effectiveness SVF has been conditioning sprayer water with BB5 at a rate of 1 litre per 800 us gal or with BB5 EXTRA at 0.33 litres per 800 us gal (using city water for preharvest applications). After conditioning, the sprayer water has a pH of about 5.5 and salts/minerals are bound so that there is effective, consistent glyphosate control. BB5 is available in 10 litre jugs from SVF for growers who do their own spraying.
If you are not sure if you need to condition your sprayer water then bring in a sample to SVF and have it tested by one of our agronomists for the proper rate of BB5. NOTE: Always consult with the pesticide label to see if there are restrictions for the use of water conditioners and at what pH the product works best at (some pesticides come with water conditioner to lower or raise the solution pH as required).