Will Wetting Agents Move From Turf to Crops?
O'Connell is enthusiastic about the research being conducted by his company and hopes it leads to much more. However, he is also concerned that in times of drought, soil wetters can be seen as a panacea. "They are one of a number of tools that can be used along with drought-tolerant crops that the seed companies are working on," he said. "Hopefully, multiple tools will be used in tandem."
This is not to say that every product is equal. The formulation is key as wetting agents have been refined for different scenarios. Fyhr noted the spread of products available in the home and turf market and the claims made, some with nothing behind them. "End users and their retail suppliers need to look for the data behind the product," he said. "Study the claims and the data."
Extreme claims are always a red flag. "The whole thing is about data. Does the product hold water...literally," O'Connell added. "There are products out there that we have seen that are fairy dust. They don't have the right data that shows water being held or moved into the correct part of the soil profile. Without the data, you should be suspicious."