It takes a lot for new product to excite veteran University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisors Steve Wright, Kurt Hembree and Ron Vargas, whom combined have more than a century of research experience in weed control.

“People kept telling me they had never seen so excited about something,” laughs Vargas, UCCA farm advisor for Madera-Merced counties. His phone has been ringing off the hook from producers who want to know where to buy a product that lowers the pH of water by turning it blood red and controls bindweed for almost three months in the summer.

The product is called Indicate 5. It is a water softener. The three farm advisors added the product to a Roundup application for control of field bindweed and control was more than just holding after 83 days. On the recent Westside Research and Extension Center cotton field day, the replicated Indicate-5 plots stood out in stark contrast to every other herbicide application in a trial. The glyphosate-Indicate-5 plots were bare ground surrounded by a lush carpet of bindweed that had been treated with a wide array of herbicides at the same time.

“The field we used was solid bindweed when we started. We pre-irrigated it; applied the herbicide treatments and irrigated it two more times after that. No bindweed was in the Indicate-5 plot after 83 days” said Vargas.

‘Weeds were gone’

The bindweed was desiccated. “We dug down five feet and the weeds were just white. They were gone,” said Vargas.

“You pour it into the spray tank until the water turns blood red,” said Vargas.

That reduces to water pH to 4.5 to 5.5 and enhances the effectiveness of whatever product is used, herbicide, insecticide of fungicide.

It is manufactured by a company called Ag Spectrum. According to an online site it takes between one teaspoon and one tablespoon per gallon of spray solution to achieve the desired color and pH.

According to Vargas, it has a California Department of Pesticide Regulation registration.

On the Internet (Google Indicate-5) it sells for $16.95 per quart or $37.95 per gallon. It is also marketed by local retailer Simplot.

e-mail: hcline@primediabusiness.com