Are You Buying Snake Oil or Fu-Fu Juice?

Many of us have heard the term fu-fu juice or snake oil.  These terms are stitched in our mind when pouring a new product in the tank.  You’re wondering if the product will do what it states it does or if you’ve been sold a “bill of goods.”  We’ve wondered the same thing ourselves and we get approached by suppliers quite often with new products promising “5 bushel an acre increase in performance.”

When considering new products, we ask these questions and you should do the same.

  1. What’s the product and active ingredient?
    • Example: Ascend® SL plant growth regulator contains three EPA registered plant growth regulators that promote plant growth, aid in photosynthesis, and help defends against stress.
  2. Has the product been researched?  How was it conducted and what’s the results?
    • Example: Voyagro® went through the "By WinField® United" research and development process meaning it started out in product characterization to determine crop response, rate, and timing. It was tested in the Answer Plot® program to determine placement based on varying environments. It provided high confidence and low LSDs (least significant difference) for the product.  We are testing it with local fields and have seen similar results to WinField® United’s tests.
  3. Where does the product perform and how does it work?
    • Example: Ascend® performs well in-furrow at planting, in a seed treatment, and as a foliar application.  However, the best performance on corn is in-furrow with a starter fertilizer when conditions are cool and wet.
  4. What is the best timing of application?
    • Example: Ascend® in-furrow at planting with corn in a starter fertilizer application when conditions are cool and wet. 
  5. What type of yield response should I expect?
    • Example: Ascend® has a 4.94 bu/a advantage over 2138 replications and has an 82% positive response when conditions are cool and wet in Answer Plot testing.  We have seen similar responses when testing with local fields.

Asking these questions will help you feel confident that you’re buying a good product and not snake oil or fu-fu juice.  Please reach out to your crop advisor if you have questions on new products.

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