Every 1-1/2 gallons of MSO use creates 1 bushel of soybean demand for a U.S. farmer.
PART 1: SO WHAT IS AN MSO?
The idea of farmers using products derived from renewable agricultural resources is certainly not a new concept. Researchers have for many years worked to develop new uses for crop materials grown by farmers to support market demand and higher farm-gate prices.
One area that warrants another look is that of MSOs. Although MSOs can no longer be classified as a "new use," since they have been commercially available for quite some time, market studies show that there is great potential to involve many more farmers in taking advantage of this product category. Farmers should ask for MSOs when ordering herbicides or specifying custom application.
So what is an MSO? An MSO is a methylated seed oil, such as soybean oil. MSOs are produced by reacting methanol with whole soybean oil in a process called "transesterification," that changes soybean triglyceride into soybean methyl ester.
Used as a spray adjuvant in warm to hot and dry conditions, an MSO used with a herbicide like "Pursuit" can deliver 90 percent weed control according to university studies in Indiana and North Dakota, and in actual farm trials. Once post-emergent weeds reach 4-6 inches, nothing can control like MSOs, no matter what the rate of application.
MSOs are effective in high post-emergent weed pressures because the MSO has a solvency action on the protective wax cuticles formed by weeds. This week control can be achieved at a rate of 1 to 2 pints per acre, compared to a quart or more for other types of adjuvants, an important cost consideration sometimes overlooked by both farmers and applicators.
PART 2: YOU GREW IT, SO WHY NOT CHOOSE IT?
In our last issue, we revisited the use and benefits of methylated seed oils (MSOs) as a spray adjuvant for the application of herbicides. Highlighted was the use of MSOs on post-emergent weeds at 4-6 inches, where tests show that nothing can control weeds like MSOs, no matter what the rate of application, because the MSO has a solvency action on the protective wax cuticles formed by weeds.
Using your crop to protect your crop not only helps the yield, but actually creates demand for soybeans by the users of MSOs. Why not use a crop-based MSO which could create 25 to 30 cents per bushel demand? Keep in mind, one bushel of soybeans produces about 1-1/2 gallons of MSO adjuvant. Farmers should ask for MSOs when ordering herbicides or specifying custom application.
There is a state-of-the-art plant in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, with enough capacity to handle all the MSO demand in the midwest, and if need be, it can be expanded to handle any demand placed on it well into the next century. More importantly, there are several well-know formulators who have hundreds of dealers and stocking locations for branded, top-quality MSO-based products.
Here is a list of some of the available MSO herbicide spray additives and their manufacturers: Destiny/Cenex, MethOil/Terra, Loveland MSO/Loveland, Perform and Succeed/United Suppliers, Dynamic/Helena, Sun-It II/AGSCO, Soy-Stik/West Central, Sundance II/Rosens, SunPro/Cornbelt, Superb/Wilbur-Ellis, and Unifilm/Custom Chemicals.
If all the farmers in Americas heartland used MSOs for weed control, and soydiesel in their tractors, it would create immense soy oil demand. The average U.S. farmer invests about 15 percent of his production capital for crop protection which helps him receive as much as a 60 percent greater crop return. You grew it, so why not choose it?
PART 3: THE PRACTICAL USE OF MSOs
In our last issue, we discussed the use and benefits of methylated seed oils (MSOs) as a spray adjuvant for the application of herbicides. Now we will review the practical use of MSOs and describe when MSOs will deliver the most effective solution in terms of cost and weed control.
Be aware, and beware, that adjuvants labeled "crop oil" contain petroleum oil. What you want is a product that features methylated "seed oil" that is made from soybean oil, a renewable, biodegradable agricultural product. MSOs are superior, high quality adjuvants that provide excellent results with soybean herbicides such as Assure, Beacon, Cobra, Flexstar, Galaxy, Poast, Pursuit and Raptor.
Now let's compare the costs and benefits of crop oil concentrates against MSOs. Under optimal conditions, (you know, those times the weather does exactly what you want), crop oil concentrates cost less than MSOs on a per gallon basis. However, when you are faced with weather conditions that gave weeds a head start, hot weather stressed weeds that are protecting themselves, or just plain stubborn infestations that pop up in post-emergent conditions, only MSOs have the high solvency needed to cut through waxy leaf cuticles and deliver the herbicide where it will do its job.
For comparison, the application rate for MSOs under all conditions stays about the same at 1.0 pint ($1.75) to 1.5 pints ($2.62) per acre. Petroleum-based crop oils would be applied at a rate of 2.0 pints ($1.50) per acre under "optimal" conditions, but their rate of application jumps to 4 pints ($3.00) to 8 pints ($6.00) per acre when conditions become harsher. Furthermore, under harsh and finally hot and dry condition, crop oil weed control drops off to 80 percent, while the effectiveness of MSOs actually increases to around 90 percent.
MSOs have a high boiling point that lowers evaporation, a high solvency that penetrate leaf surfaces, an oily consistency that offers rain protection and a lower surface tension the improves absorption. MSOs are also beneficial in situations when the producer or the applicator wants to use herbicides at a rate lower than specified on the label or the target weeds have grown more tolerant to the herbicide chosen.
Midwest farmers currently use about 1.6 million gallons of MSO adjuvant each year. That figure could be four times greater if more of these farmers would switch from petroleum-based crop oil to methylated seed oils. Every 1-1/2 gallons of MSO use creates 1 bushel of soybean demand for a U.S. farmer. The bottom line -- farmers should ask for MSOs when ordering herbicides or specifying custom application.