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Foo-Foo Juice: A Surge Sign Of Spring

Foo-Foo Juice: A Surge Sign Of Spring
Buyer beware, says George Rehm, U of M soil scientist. Following a good year, unscrupulous sales reps are trying to cash in with bogus fertilizer products

George Rehm, University of Minnesota extension soil scientist, says he know it will be soon be spring. He's receiving promotional materials for what he calls "foo-foo juice" — or bogus fertilizer products.

"I have colleagues who take delight in sending this material to me," he writes. "This year is no exception. Recently, I receivd a manual that promoted a concept that can only be categorized as bogus. It was obvious to me that the concept and the self-anointed agronomist acting as a salesman had no credibility. The statements printed in this marketing booklet provide ample evidence that the "agronomist" (writer) really had no agronomic training. I will use a few of the printed statements to confirm the lack of agronomic training on the part of the salesman (writer). These follow:

"UNBALANCED SOIL MAY REDUCE QUALITY AND COULD POSSIBLY TRIGGER WEED, PEST, AND DISEASE ATTACKS". The term "balanced soil" gets used frequently. Yet, we do not know what a balanced soil is. There is no definition. In addition, I am not aware of any proven relationship between so-called "balanced soil" and the incidence of weeds, pests, and diseases. This statement is a clear indication of the lack or absence of agronomic training on the part of the agronomist (writer). Is it any surprise that this individual is attempting to market foo-foo juice?

"CALCIUM AND PHOSPHATE HAVE A MAJOR IMPACT ON RELEASING OTHER NUTRIENTS IN THE SOIL" I wonder what elements are released. Are they essential or non-essential? There's general acceptance of the fact that calcium interacts with phosphorus to form products that are not soluble and thus, unavailable for plant use. I do not know of any chemical reaction with either of these nutrients that releases any element. We've established that the writer of this marketing material does not understand agronomy. Now, we have evidence that the writer failed beginning chemistry.

"ORP IS THE MEASUREMENT OF THE LEVEL OF HYDROGEN IONS VERSUS OXYGEN IONS IN THE SOIL" Yes, there are hydrogen ions in soils and we measure the concentration when we measure soil pH. However, oxygen does not exist in soils as an ion. It is always combined with some positively charged ion such as hydrogen (H+), for example. This combination of the positively charged ion (H+) and oxygen forms water (H2O). Oxygen does exist in soils as a gas, but not as a charged ion. The author of this statement obviously never enrolled in a chemistry course in either high school or college. It's amazing what the self-anointed experts can think up.

I could cite other examples of humor printed in the marketing material. However, I hope that I've made a point. As stated in the past, there are no magical products or programs that will improve crop production. Over the years, many foo-foo juice products and/or concepts have been introduced. All have failed. Some have died and been brought back to life under another name.

It's relatively easy to identify a foo-foo juice product. There are claims like: 1) it balances soil fertility, or 2) it enhances the availability of all nutrients in commercial fertilizer, 3) it improves water availability, 4) it improves soil drainage, 5) it promotes biological life in the soil etc. etc.  Any product that is so new that universities and the Extension Service do not know about it is sure to be foo-foo juice.

There's no question. Farmers enjoyed a good year in 2010. As a result, the foo-foo juice salesmen are super active attempting to take advantage of farmer profit. You've heard this suggestion before. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you're not sure about something, ask questions before you buy."

Source: ND Grain Growers Association

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