When considering a fertilizer supplement, Rick Cartwright, Arkansas Extension plant pathologist, suggests farmers ask the following:

What's the actual fertilizer content of the product? Once those figures are known, calculate the actual units. What is the recommended application on a per-acre basis?

What source and form of the element or nutrient is in the product?

Also, question efficiency claims: Who did the research and where did it come from? Is the salesperson dazzling you with words? Are they claiming their product is much cheaper per acre?

Finally, does the offer sound too good to be true? If so, it probably is, says Cartwright.

Farmers are like everyone else, Cartwright says. “We've all been suckered by a good sales pitch,but I encourage farmers not to get suckered into something that can hurt a crop in a given year and also damage the farm long term.

“I hate to say it, but more skepticism is needed about any product or recommendation. And that includes university recommendations,” says Cartwright. “Please, check them out.”

The current fertilizer supplement situation has been developing over a few years, “and it's time to draw attention to it,” he says.