The importance of evaluating your new farming materials
Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.
Each year farmers are offered new materials or nutrient management programs that are advertised to improve crop vigor, growth, produce quality and yield, or increase the availability of nutrients. With higher fertilizer prices and limited supplies, it appears that more of these materials will be offered this year than in past years. Farmers need to ask questions about these materials. Is there research data available from an unbiased source and from an area with similar growing conditions? What is the cost of the material on a per acre basis, or more importantly what is the cost per pound of the nutrient being supplied? Compare this to the cost from traditional fertilizer materials.
Contact your local MSU Extension educators to see if they have any information about the material. They can check with university specialists in Michigan and other states in the region. If you do decide to use some of these products, be sure to leave untreated check strips in the field to determine if there is in fact a benefit. Be aware that an improved appearance of the crop does not always put more money in your pocket. Be sure to check produce yield and quality at harvest.