INSIDERSCrop NutritionSolve Water Worries With Tolero

    Solve Water Worries With Tolero


    Concerned about water availability? You’re not alone. Agricultural producers everywhere are striving to produce higher-yielding, better-quality potatoes despite increasingly frequent water shortages. Luckily, there’s Tolero. A new generation soil amendment that combines water infiltration and hydration surfactants, Tolero is making an “Oh thank goodness!” difference in more and more Midwest and Canadian Prairie fields.

    My first experience with Tolero was in the Columbia basin in what happened to be a drought year. As rivers shrunk and wells dropped, producers were cut back to about 60 per cent of water use. We hadn’t planned to go out hard with Tolero that year, but producers were desperate for any kind of solution and we happened to have this product on-hand. The yield and quality difference – even just the feel of the soil – in treated fields proved amazing: fields where Tolero had been applied yielded impressively; many untreated fields faced nearly complete wreck. Producers were floored – especially those who had less than great experiences with other soil surfactants. To be honest, even I was surprised: I hadn’t seen Tolero in action before and the difference it made was dramatic.

    Tolero is a combination of infiltration surfactants (movers) that reduce water tension, allowing water to move through soil, and hydration surfactants (holders), which anchor to organic matter in the soil and keep water available to the crop over time. Put simply, Tolero makes the difference between ‘adequate’ and ‘optimized’ water. Even when plants have access to the right amount of water, the plants are constantly toggling between somewhat too much moisture following the irrigation/precipitation event, and somewhat too little water leading up to the next irrigation/precipitation. Though the moisture swings aren’t enough to show up as yellowing or wilting, they show as wild swings on a moisture meter graph and they cause yield- and quality-limiting stress to plants. Tolero evens out the moisture swings, allowing plants to access ‘just right’ amounts of water. Even under normal irrigation, trials at the University of Idaho showed Tolero-treated fields produced 10 to 15 per cent more yield and 10 to 20 per cent higher quality potatoes, translating to a 3:1 or more ROI.

    The most common question I receive is: will this product work in my situation? In short: yes. If you’re dealing with too little water, Tolero will retain moisture in the root zone. If you’re facing too much water, Tolero will help move moisture out of saturated surface soil. If your hard ground is hit with a sudden rain event, Tolero’s soil-softening effect will help decrease surface run-off and erosion.

    Application is easy: ideally, we recommend one quart per acre in June/early July before major heat hits, then about a pint/acre – depending on soil type and texture – after about 45 days. A first application can go on as late as mid-to-late July. Tolero tank-mixes well with most nutrients and many crop protection products, and is easy-to-apply with most application equipment.

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