AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH CENTER
W t eS Jay, Florida 32565
JAY, ARC RESEARCH REPORT WF78-2 April, 1978
/tfr Yield of Peanut, Sunflower, and Bahiagrass As Affected
By A Surfactant A Preliminary Report
L. S. Dunavin, H. A. Peacock, and B. J 5 ----_
'"WEX', a concentrated blend of non-ionic surface ants plus af dn" ified
silicone type anti-foam system, was applied to 'Flor .peanuts (Arachis
hypogea L.) and 'Tifhi-1' bahiagrass (Paspalum notat 4PeUaV.0Of 16,
2.32, and 4.64 L/ha and to several cultivars of sunflwer .)
at 2.32 L/ha to determine its effect on yield of these crops. "WEX", a-t -te rates
tested, had no significant effect on shelling percentage, sound mature kernels,
sound splits, pod yield, or total sound mature kernels of peanut. Similarly, there
was no significant effect on yield of sunflowers, oil content of sunflowers, or on
yield or protein content of bahiagrass. However, there were numerical yield
differences among rates of "WEX" for these crops indicating that further study of
the effect of "WEX" on crop yields is justified.
Surfactants have long been in use in agriculture. One of their chief functions
is as a wetting agent for use with herbicides. They have been extensively inves-
tigated by plant physiologists for possible effects on plant growth and production.
Parr and Norman (1964) found the relative lengths of roots, leaves, and coleop-
tiles of young barley seedlings were altered when barley was germinated and grown
in the presence of 0.01% V/V solutions of representative non-ionic surfactants.
In some cases there was substantial stimulation of growth of one or more organs.
Toxic possibilities of surfactants have been studied. Valoras and Osborn (1976)
reported that the application of surfactant solution to soil reduced the surfac-
tant's toxicity to plants because of surfactant adsorption by the soil. They also
found that the effect of surfactants on growth of barley was approximately the
same in solution and soil cultures when the results were compared on the basis of
solution concentration in the soil following adsorption.
The surfactant used in the experiments reported herein was "WEX", a concen-
trated multi-purpose wetting agent. This material is now being used as a nutrient
release agent. The basic contents of this wetting agent are a blend of non-ionic
surfactants and an emulsified silicone type anti-foam system. In initial work with
corn, only minimal yield increases were obtained, but improved color was observed.1
This early work also indicated better and stronger root systems on corn and wheat
with significant increases in root hairs.
There have been indications that increased yields may be obtained by using a
drench application of "WEX" on tomatoes and squash (H. H. Bryan, personal communi-
lAssociate Professor, Professor and Center Director, and Assistant Professor,
IWEX Information Booklet. Form C672, Conklin Company, Inc., Shakopee, Minn., 1906.
MC;ii0;)3 AND MATERIALS
1. Peanuts (Arachis hyj, L.*)
The peanut experiment was grown on a Red Bay fine sandy loam soil (Rhodic
Paleudult) in a randomized complete block design with nine replications. The
experimental area was deep-plowed and fertilized with 448 kg/ha 8-10.6-19.9 (NPK).
Plots were 2 rows of 'Florunner' peanut 0.91 m apart and 6.2 meters long. Seed were
planted at a rate of 112 kg/ha on April 20. Weeds were controlled with 1.7 kg/ha
benefin preplant incorporated and 2.5 kg/ha alachlor plus a mixture of 2.2 kg/ha
naptalam and 1.1 kg/ha dinoseb at ground cracking. Insects and diseases were
controlled with carbofuran, toxaphene, carbaryl, methyl parathion, and chlorothalo-
nil. At beginning bloom, plots received 560 kg/ha gypsum (CaSO4.2H20). Five treat-
ments: 0.0, 0.58, 1.16, 2.32, and 4.64 L/ha "WEX" wetting agent were applied in
327 L/ha water on April 25 before the peanuts emerged with a tractor-mounted plot
sprayer using air as a propellant.
2. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.)
The sunflower experiment was located on a Red Bay fine sandy loam soil (Rhodic
Paleudult). This experiment was laid out as a split-plot design with treatments of
surfactant and no surfactant as main plots and six cultivars of sunflower as sub-
plots. Subplots were single rows 4.87 m long and spaced 0.91 m apart. On April 18,
1977, the soil in the experimental area was fertilized with 448 kg/ha of 8-10.6-19.9
(N-P-K), and 1.12 kg/ha of trifluralin were disked into the soil. Sunflowers were
planted on April 19 at a seeding rate of 40 seeds per row. One treatment of 2.32
L/ha of the wetting agent "WEX" was applied in 327 L/ha of water with a tractor-
mounted plot sprayer using air as a propellant on April 26, before the sunflowers
emerged. Four replications were used.
The sunflowers were thinned to 22 plants per row (4.87 m) on May 10 and were
side-dressed on May 26 with 224 kg/ha of ammonium nitrate (NH4fl03). Sunflower heads
were harvested by hand on August 12. Air dry seed yields were determined and samples
were taken for ether extract using the AOAC method.
3. Bahiagrass (Papaltum notatum Flugge).
The bahiagrass expc:iiment was located on a Carnegie fine sandy loam (Plinthic
Paleudult). A 'Tifhi 1' (Hein, 1958) bahiagrass sod used in this experiment was
established in 1964 and has been maintained as meadow since that time. The experi-
ment was laid out in a randomized complete block design with four replications.
Plots measured 3.66 m X 3.66 m. The five treatments of 0.0, 0.58, 1.16, 2.32, and
4.64 L/ha of wetting agent were applied on May 6, 1977, with a tractor-mounted plot
sprayer using air as a propellant. The wetting agent was applied in 327 L/ha of
On May 13, 1977, 336 kg/ha of 8-10.6-19.9 (N-P-K) were applied to the plots.
Harvests were made on June 7, July 7, August 9, September 8, and October 10.
Applications of ammonium nitrate were made on June 9 at 112 kg/ha and on August 17
at 224 kg/ha. Yields of oven dry forage were determined and samples were taken for
determination of protein content using the AOAC method.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The application of "WEX" had no significant effect on shelling percentage,
sound mature kernels, sound splits, pod yield, or total sound mature kernels at
the application rates studied (Table 1). There was a numerical increase in both
pod yield and total sound mature kernels from the 0.58 L/ha rate. In addition,
there was a numerical decrease in both pod yield and total sound mature kernels
from the 4.64 L/ha rate. However, these responses may have been due to experimental
error and only further testing will elucidate the effect of "WEX" applied to
peanuts immediately after planting.
Sunflower seed yields (Table 2) were lower than normal (Dunavin and Peacock,
1976) due to considerable shattering prior to harvest. No significant difference
(Prob. .05) was found in the seed yield among cultivars grown with "WEX" and those
grown without the wetting agent. Oil contents were also not significantly different
(Prob. .05) among the cultivars grown with and without the wetting agent.
Five harvest of bahiagrass forage were obtained (Table 3) and no significant
difference (Prob. .05) was found among the five treatments at any harvest or for
the season total yield. Yields were only fair in this rather dry year. The lack
of significant difference was also true for protein content at each harvest (Table
4). An interesting but non-significant trend appears in the total yield. There is a
slight increase in yield at the levels trom 0.58 to 2.32 L/ha of applied wetting
agent with a decline at 4.64 L/ha of wetting agent. This trend compliments the
results from the peanut test and thus lends impetus to further research.
1. Dunavin, L. S., and H. A. Peacock. 1976. Variety trials of summer annual grass-
es, forage sorghums for silage, corn for silage, sunflowers, and grain
sorghum. Jay, ARC Res. Rept. WF76-3.
2. Hein, M. A. 1958. Registration of varieties and strains of grasses. Agron.
3. Parr, J. F,, and A. G. Norman. 1964. Effects of non-ionic surfactants on root
growth and cation uptake. Plant Phys. 39:502-507.
A. Valoras, N., J. Letey, and J. Osborn. 1976. Non-ionic surfactant-soil inter-
action effects on barley growth. Agron. J. 68:591-595.
Agent Mature Sound Yield Total
Applied Shelling Kernels Splits (Pods) _SIK
L/ha % % % kg/ha kg/ha
0.00 80.2 76.0 1.5 4430 3430
0.58 79.3 75.8 1.2 4510 3470
1.16 80.3 76.0 1.3 4390 3390
2.32 79.7 75.0 1.5 4510 3450
4.64 79.7 75.7 1.7 4310 3340
CV% 1.3 1.9 29 7,6
No significant difference at 0.05 level.
No significant difference at 0.05
No significant difference
With Wetting Agent Without Wetting Agent
With Wetting. Agent Without Wetting Agent
at 0.05 level.
Dry Forage Yield of Bahiagrass
Wetting Agent Applied
Dry Forage Yield
June 7 July 7 Aug. 9
430 700 1510
520 680 1510
500 760 1600
470 700 1640
360 640 1510
Oct. 10 Total
No significant difference among treatments on any date at 0.05 level.
Protein Content of Bahiagrass
- --- *- -
L/ha June 7 July 7 Aug. 9 Sept. 8 October 10
0.00 9.91 12.32 7.58 11.19 11.32
0.58 9.88 12.49 8.01 12.13 12.30
1.16 9.85 12.32 7.80 11.10 12.61
2.32 10.08 13.02 7.84 12.06 11.67
4.64 9.87 12.88 7.69 12.17 11.72
No significant difference among treatments on any date at 0.05 level.