Archives for Articles

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Does that new, fast acting, ready-to-use, garden herbicide really work?

Last year, a new knockdown, ready-to-use (RTU) product entered the home garden market with much fanfare and the promise to cause visual results within an hour.   Having tested many home garden products that have made wild claims we were sceptical – but we were wrong!

At Eureka!, we have considerable knowledge and excellent facilities to test product for use in home gardens.  I interviewed Liam Flynn, a Project Manager at Eureka!, about the studies that Eureka! has conducted on this new product and how it stacked up against its own claims. 

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Trifluralin – How it really works Part 2

In Part 1 of this series we explained how:

  • trifluralin stops weed growth by inhibiting the division of cells at the root tip,
  • trifluralin vapour moves very short distances through soil and so vapour movement won’t compensate for poor application,
  • trifluralin is primarily absorbed into grasses through the roots rather than the coleoptile and so is far more potent when applied to the weed’s root zone,
  • volatilisation can cause the loss of more than 60% of applied trifluralin and,
  • studies have shown that trifluralin loses due to UV degradation have been low, generally less than 5% even under high UV conditions.

In this article we will review how soil type and soil pH affects the efficacy of trifluralin.  

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Trifluralin – How it really works Part 1

Trifluralin is one of the most widely used herbicides in Australia.  Despite it being in use since the 1970s, it is surprising how many myths exist around how it works.  Eureka! has conducted dozens of experiments with trifluralin.  Over the next couple of newsletters I will share some of our findings with you.  In this article I will cover how trifluralin kills weeds, its movement through the soil as a gas, where it is absorbed into the plant and the proportion that is lost to volatilisation and UV degradation.  Please note that the scientific methods used in the experiments described here are too lengthy for this article.  If you want more information on them please contact me.

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The Science of Rainfall Simulation

Australia is the driest continent in the world.  Much of its agricultural land is prone to unpredictable rainfall which has an annoying tendency to fall as soon as the spray rig enters the paddock!  Even then it is often not a good soak but an intermittent drizzle, which leaves us confused about whether or not a product sprayed will be washed off wasting time and money.

Most foliar applied, agricultural chemical products are designed to either remain on the surface of leaves or to penetrate into  them; this does not happen instantaneously.  For example, glyphosate takes many hours before the active is safely inside the plant and protected from the elements. While chemicals remain on a leaf surface they are vulnerable to being washed off by rain.

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Ignore Patent Opportunities at Your Own Peril

A patent can greatly add to the value of both a product and the business. It frustrates competitors. It gives the patent owner a stronger position when negotiating with customers and it is within the financial reach of almost every company.

Whilst our multinational clients are patent specialists our smaller and medium sized companies grossly underuse them. This is usually due to a lack of knowledge about what patents offer and how to apply for them or because they mistakenly assume that patents are prohibitively expensive.  Eureka! AgResearch has eight granted/pending patents. Our staff are inventors on another 12 owned by clients but this number should be over 50. About 80% of patentable ideas were never protected!

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Developing a Laundry Powder For Gardens

Australia is a dry continent and water conservation is critical to our sustainability. Many homes in rural and regional Australia, and quite a few in the big cities, recycle their laundry water by applying it to their lawns and gardens. The problem is that most laundry powders contain a high proportion of salt which can kill or damage plants.

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New Herbicide Factory

Last year Eureka! MFG opened a dedicated herbicide factory in Melbourne to complement our existing non-herbicide factory at Altona. I asked Liam Flynn, our project manager, to describe the new factory. 

“This is a purpose built facility that has six individual modules each with a high capacity, German designed, air filtration system to protect against cross contamination,” was his reply.

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Order of Addition of Agricultural Chemicals To a Spray Tank

My recent article on the use of hard water in spray preparations generated a lot of questions. Most of these were around the order in which products should be added to a spray tank to minimise the interactions between products. This issue relates just as much to organic, plant nutritional and foliar fertilisers products as it does to synthetic pesticides.

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Working through the APVMA’s Confidential Commercial Information Crisis

About July 2014 the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority’s (APVMA) introduced severe restrictions on the use of confidential commercial information (CCI) required to access new product registration. This has caused uproar throughout the Australian agchem and veterinary medicine industry. Eureka! AgResearch probably has as much involvement with the APVMA as any company in Australia.  At any one time about 30 or more products we have developed are in the process of being registered by our clients. Data and quality scientific arguments have become far more valuable. We have often been complimented by APVMA staff on the quality of the scientific arguments that we compile to support registration applications. With our considerable experience in the use, application, formulation and mode of action of these chemicals, it is little wonder that we can construct convincing arguments.

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Seaweed – Myth or Magic?

Recently, I was at a field day and overheard a farm advisor talk disparagingly about a well-known seaweed product. Eureka! has worked on seaweed products for nearly 15 years and undertaking dozens of studies for companies in our pot and greenhouse facility on the rural fringe of Melbourne. We have also formulated new, improved products for the leading brands in our specialty laboratories in Altona, Melbourne. We can say with authority that it does work, providing you are using the right product, for the right reason and in the right way.

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How Does Hard Water Damage Some Agricultural Chemicals?

The use of hard water in spray preparations is very common in some parts of Australia. At Eureka! we expend a lot of effort ensuring that new products we develop for the Australian market are able to cope with hard water.

Hardness is caused by calcium and magnesium ions that are dissolved in the water. They get there when the water passes through rocks or soil that contain these ions, such as limestone. A lot of Australia’s farming land sits on such deposits and, not surprisingly, Australia have a lot of farms that have bores or even dams filled with hard water.

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