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Growing demand for crop protection chemicals is the key factor that is driving the market for agricultural spray adjuvants. Increased awareness about the potential implications of aberrant usage of pesticides on the environment has received higher attention in the recent decade. During the application of crop protection chemicals, the drift of spray drops (due to weather conditions, application technology, and physical & chemical properties of pesticide) has led to contamination of water bodies across various regions.
According to PAN Europe, 7% of the groundwater stations in European countries reported excessive levels for one or more pesticides. Therefore, PAN Europe works on the contamination of European freshwater systems by pesticides, giving a particular emphasis on the effects of endocrine disrupting pesticides on aquatic ecosystems.
Agricultural adjuvants industry is majorly self-regulated, and the formulations are considered as “trade secrets.” However, the majority of the adjuvant products are the same or vary by minor changes in components or the combination of products having different functionalities. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates adjuvant formulations, but it does not stringently regulate the manufacture and use of adjuvant products.
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According to EPA, adjuvants are chemicals added to a pesticide by users to improve the pesticide's efficiency. Adjuvants are added to a pesticide product (in-formulation) or pesticide spray mixture (tank-mix) to enhance the pesticide’s performance and/or the physical properties of the spray mixture. Spray of crop protection chemicals is majorly affected by various physical variables such as pesticide stability, solubility, compatibility, foaming, droplet size, suspension, surface tension, coverage, volatilization, penetration, and others.
The adjuvants play a key role in controlling these variables to improve overall pesticide effectiveness. Some of the more commonly used adjuvants include drift retardants, wetter-spreaders, stickers, buffers, and foam retardants. Research studies revealed that agricultural adjuvants costs around US$ 0.75-1.0 per acre additionally along with herbicides and helps in improving the percent absorption spray by 50-85%.
Lack of strict regulations and limited awareness among crop producers about the benefits of using spray adjuvants are some of the inhibiting factors for the growth of agricultural adjuvants market.
Some of the major companies that are present in the global agricultural adjuvants market are BASF, Clariant, Akzonobel, Huntsman Corporation, Helena Agri-Enterprises, Stepan Company, DowDuPont, Wilbur-Ellis, Drexel Chemical, and others.
· Activator adjuvants (Surfactants and Oil-based adjuvants)
· Utility adjuvants (Compatibility agents, Buffers/acidifiers, Drift control agents, Antifoam agents, Water conditioners)
By Chemical Group
· Other Chemical Groups
· Vegetable Oil-based
· Petroleum Oil-based
· Other Applications
By Crop Type
· Fruits & Vegetables
· Turf & Ornamentals
· Other Crops
Several adjuvant products available at the marketplace are mainly intended to offer resolution of spray-mix incompatibilities resulting from the combination of one or more agrochemicals. Activator adjuvants especially surfactants are the major category of adjuvants that accounts for the largest share in the global market.
Among applications, herbicides segment accounts for the largest market share as they are a major group of crop protection chemicals used in agriculture. Post-emergence herbicide effectiveness is significantly influenced by plant factors such as age, size, and growing conditions. Hence, adjuvants, specifically surfactants usage with the herbicide spray solution, generally improves the effectiveness of post-emergence herbicides.
North America region followed by Europe are the two largest markets for agricultural adjuvants at present, and they are expected to account for a significant proportion of the market in the forecast period as well. Stringent regulations on the usage of crop protection chemicals to protect the environment from hazardous effects is driving the market for agricultural adjuvants in North America and Europe.