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

Sarah Hornsby, president of Agricultural Crop Consulting, Inc., in Parrish, Fla., says 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. 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 said. “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 said.

Water-soluble copper is best described as being a ‘true solution’, not a suspension. “The make-up of a water-soluble platform prohibits the active ingredient from settling or separating once it goes into a mix,” Young said. “Because the older, more traditional coppers are suspension, 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 copper particle sizes. 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. The burden of equipment stoppage is also eliminated, with no clogging or clumping,” Young adds.

More about the benefits of soluble copper and MasterCop are available at adama.com.