Apr 05 2024

How to mitigate a tank mixing disaster this spring

Tank-mixing chemicals gives flexibility, saves time, and may increase pesticide effectiveness, but it can also be a sprayer operator’s worst nightmare when things go wrong. And with spray jobs stacking up and multiple mixes on the cards this spring, combined with cool conditions, it’s a potential recipe for disaster. So, how can the risks be mitigated without multiple passes? Alongside best practice filling guidance, incorporating compatibility adjuvant Kantor can help to mitigate the risks.

With catchy weather windows often forcing growers to put bigger, more complex mixes in the tank, careful preparation is key to avoid a disaster.

Key Points:

  • After record-breaking rainfall and unprecedented delays to spraying, complex tank-mixing points to a high risk season.
  • Incorporate a compatibility adjuvant to help overcome the challenges.
  • Adjuvant Kantor promotes compatibility enabling complex tank-mixing in a single pass.
  • Follow best practice tank filling guidance to minimise the risk of a problem.
  • Tank-mix recovery using Kantor may be possible where necessary.
  • Kantor benefits the entire spraying operation.

A high risk season

Spray application can be challenging at the best of times, says Stuart Sutherland, technical manager at Interagro. “This year, with unprecedented spray delays, workload pressures and weeds and diseases off to a head start, there is no room for error.

This spring mixing conditions could be particularly tricky with lots of different products being incorporated together at T0 and T1– a herbicide, PGR, maybe micro-nutrients, biostimulant, and fungicide. There could be a good five to six products going into the tank, which could easily mean at least seven to eight active ingredients you are trying to mix. Certain pesticides or agrochemicals may not mix well together, leading to issues such as chemical reactions, precipitation, or reduced efficacy – some formulation types such as wettable powders , emulsifiable concentrates and salt formations can be tricky.

“That’s not to mention the cold water which slows the process – variability in water temperature, and quality both affect how well products dissolve into it,” continues Stuart. “Low water volume spraying, high pH, hard water, all make the mixing process more challenging. And adding any more than three products into the tank, increases the risk of incompatibility.”

“With spray jobs backing up, there may also be the temptation to reduce water volumes, which will increase the risk of a mixing problem,” warns Stuart.


Incorporate a compatibility adjuvant to help overcome mixing challenges

“As well as ensuring products are compatible and best practice is followed, incorporating a compatibility adjuvant, such as Kantor, can help to overcome mixing challenges,” says Stuart.

Tank-mix compatibility adjuvants can be added to the tank mixture to improve the compatibility of the different products. “These adjuvants typically work by modifying the physical and chemical properties of the tank mixture, ensuring that the various components remain stable and well-dispersed throughout the spraying process.

“The use of tank-mix compatibility adjuvants can help prevent problems such as clogging of spray nozzles, uneven application of pesticides, or reduced effectiveness of the individual products. They are an important tool for farmers and spray operators to maximise the efficiency and efficacy of their spray applications while minimising potential risks and issues.”

Kantor enables complex tank-mixing in a single pass

With the season the way it is, fast and efficient mixing will be key to minimise downtime. Kantor’s unique adjuvant properties promote emulsification, enabling complex tank-mixing in a single pass, making it a crucial addition.

Extensive testing over the years shows adding Kantor to the spray tank before adding chemicals, speeds up the mixing process and helps traditionally incompatible mixtures to blend together. “What’s more Kantor helps speed up the process in cold water and will keep products in suspension,” adds Stuart. It also contains a pH buffer to protect active ingredients from breakdown if spray water is on the alkaline side.

Watch the video demonstration below showing Kantor improve micronutrient mixing.


Tried and tested

“Micronutrient mixes in particular can be tricky, so we’ve often used them to highlight the compatibility benefits of Kantor.  In a recent study at Eurofins, a widely used potassium and magnesium micronutrient was used to demonstrate the tricky nature of mixing in cold water. After 10 minutes, some of the active ingredient just settled out and sat at the bottom of the mixing tube.

“After 30 minutes even more of the active ingredient was sat at the bottom – it was really visible. Of course, in the field, growers wouldn’t even realise product could be settling out in the tank until they get a blocked nozzle. They could be losing valuable nutrition / efficacy without evening realising it.

“In the Eurofins tests, the addition of Kantor made all the difference. It was added to the water first, and then the potassium and magnesium micronutrient added. What was very visible to see – as shown in the picture – was that Kantor helped it dissolve straight away. There was no settling out, even after 30 minutes standing time,” says Stuart.

Source: Eurofins 2022. Micronutrient mixing in cold water. Kantor improving mixing with less sedimentation in tube bottom.

Follow best practice tank filling guidance

It’s crucial sprayer operators follow best practice filling guidance to minimise the risk of a problem, says Stuart. The first and vital step, is to start with a scrupulously clean sprayer, even if the sprayer has been sat in the shed over winter. “It’s really important to flush the tank and lines before kicking off the season, and between spray jobs, just in case there’s any unwanted residues from previous mixes that could impact the mixing process.”

  • When you’re ready to begin, it’s important to half fill the spray tank with clean water before adding any products, and be sure to maintain good agitation throughout the filling operation.
  • Formulation plays a part. It’s crucial to use the correct mixing order for formulation types and always read product labels and follow the guidance.
  • Given the risks this season in particular, adding compatibility adjuvant Kantor to the water, before adding inputs, is highly recommended to help avoid any problems.
  • Once you’ve half-filled the sprayer with water, simply add Kantor at a rate of 0.15% of the final intended spray volume.
  • Then you can start adding your crop inputs one by one.
  • Add more water as products are added. Make sure concentrates do not come in to contact with each other in the induction bowl.
  • Allow one product to completely clear the induction bowl before adding the next one and check slow to dissolve formulations like wettable powders and water dispersible granules are in solution before adding more.
  • Only mix up what you need – never leave a mixed solution in the spray tank overnight and clean the sprayer thoroughly between jobs. In a busy spring it may be tempting to take short cuts, but it will just cause more pain in the long run.


Whilst every effort should be made to avoid a tank-mixing problem, issues can arise, especially in a difficult season. If this does happen, you may be able to lean on Kantor to help recover the mix.

In 2023, a complex 7-way tank-mix application to asparagus proved problematic for Evesham Vale Growers spray operations manager,  Will Parrott. 

Settling and sedimentation in the spray tank was leaving sprayer nozzles almost completely blocked and Will and his team spent half a day unblocking the spray nozzles and lines. 

By adding Kantor, Will was able to recover his mix and apply to the crop with no further issues.

Read Will’s story and how he used Kantor to recover his tank-mix

Kantor benefits the entire spraying operation

Uniquely versatile, Kantor gives you the flexibility for complex tank-mixing in a single pass without the risk of crop damage.

It also allows you to maximise product efficacy where water quality is poor, keeps you spraying in challenging weather conditions, enhances coverage, and optimises crop protection and nutrition uptake into plants.

Only Kantor gives you the flexibility needed for optimal efficiency and effectiveness, helping you to maximise the return on your investment in a busy season when you need it most.

How to mitigate a tank mixing disaster this spring

More information and suppliers

Kantor is approved for use in over 60 crops, where it is designed to optimise the performance of all crop protection products and nutrition in your spray tank. 

For more information on label crops, to see our extensive trials results, and for general information on Kantor, please download our latest booklet here.

If you require technical support, or wish to discuss how Kantor may be able to benefit your own situation, please contact Stuart below.

Kantor is available to purchase through Agrii.

Get in touch

Require technical assistance or product information? Please get in touch with our Technical Manager, Stuart Sutherland.

For all other general enquiries, please email or call us at the office. If you’d prefer, drop us a message using our contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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