Something about high fertilizer prices brings the snake oil salesmen crawling out from the woodwork looking for a quick dollar from folks trying to reduce the cost of raising crops.

“My mother always told me that if it looked too good to be true, it was,” said Vanessa Corriher, Texas AgriLife Extension forage specialist, during the recent annual Agricultural Technology Conference on the Texas A&M-Commerce campus.

She and soil fertility specialist Mark McFarland took on what they charitably referred to as “alternative fertilizers,” and pointed to research data that show no economic benefit from non-traditional nutrient formulations. Those do not include animal manures and legumes, which can augment a conventional fertility program, they said.

“A lot of these products are promoted heavily,” McFarland said. “Some, such as Medina, have been around a long time and have been studied.”

He said Medina is supposed to “rev up soil microbes.” But results from multiple state testing over seven years showed improvement in crop production was “zero. It’s still here and with new formulations,” he said.