New technologies, ethics, and money

Dr. Carrow gets right to the point in the very first sentence of his classic article about new technologies and ethical purchasing, writing that “staying on the cutting edge … requires integrating new products and technologies.”

He explains that “expending large amounts of club funds for testing a new technology is an ethical issue,” and he points out that “golf course maintenance budgets can often be made more efficient while not sacrificing quality.”

Carrow lists seven questions to ask about new products or technologies. One of those is “How important is the response?” and he provides an interesting example on the topic of soil amendments.

“Even with careful scientific measurements the practical importance of the claimed responses is often very small or not measurable.

To illustrate this point one could add some water or N to a turfgrass system. The water can ‘stimulate microorganism activity,’ ‘improve soil physical properties,’ … and ‘increase nutrient availability.’ Added N could stimulate microorganism activity, thereby enhancing structure development while improving soil chemical properties. Thus, one could sell bottled water or NH4NO3 fertilizer as a ‘soil amendment’ and make a wide variety of claims about improving soil physical, chemical, and biological properties.”

All seven questions, with plenty of explanation and examples, in the full article.

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