Should You Try The Generics?

Weed control differences between trade-branded and generic products may not be as great as you think.

With no-tillers keenly interested in trimming costs, many readers are taking a closer look at the variety of generic herbicides on the market.

Yet there’s much more to deciding to make a switch to generics than just saving dollars. You’ve also got to take a close look at what you need in the way of services and performance guarantees that are offered with many ag chemicals.

With an estimated 80 percent of today’s herbicide needs available through generics, industry sources believe they make up anywhere from 15 to 25 percent of total annual herbicide sales.

The key question farmers want answered is whether the performance of nearly identical products is equal. And there’s no easy way to decipher the impact that varying formulations might have on weed control performance.

Metolachlor Concerns.

Some of the biggest herbicide confusion exists in the metolachlor area. Once the active ingredient in Dual and Bicep herbicides that was used for weed control in corn, Syngenta replaced it with s-metolachlor, which it maintains is a completely different active ingredient that is used in Dual II Magnum and Bicep II Magnum.

“Generic metolachlor products often compare themselves with the latest Dual and Bicep brands, but that’s not accurate because there are no generic forms of this active ingredient,” says Duane Martin, a brand manager for corn herbicides at Syngenta. “Our new formulation is 33 percent more active than its predecessor, offers a reduced environmental load and a reduced risk to groundwater.”

Martin says metolachlor was a 1970’s…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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