Understanding Branded vs. Generic Crop Protection Products

FBN Network

Nov 02, 2023

Whether you’re looking to buy peanut butter, pain relievers, or crop protection chemicals, a branded product from a company you know over a low-cost, no-name generic feels like the safe choice. But what’s the real difference between generic and branded crop protection products?

If the branded product is 3x more expensive, is it 3x more effective? As a farmer, having a firm grasp on your input costs allows for greater profitability and long term viability. 

What Is a Generic Crop Protection Product?

A generic crop protection product is manufactured and sold by a company other than the original manufacturer, but contains the same Active Ingredient(s) (A.I.). Generic chemicals usually enter the market 12 -20 years after the initial discovery of the active ingredient(s) once the original product’s patent expires.

Most major crop protection molecules available today have had their initial patents expire and farmers have more choice than ever with all of the generics entering the market. We’ve created this resource to help answer farmers’ most common questions on understanding and using generics.

Are Generic Products Held to the Same Level of Regulatory Scrutiny as Branded Products?

Yes! Whether you are an Canadian or American farmer, the regulatory agencies follow the same regulation, guidelines and review process for a  generic product or for the original branded product registration. 

[Check out the FBN library of free educational resources on crop protection, crop nutrition and more by clicking here.]

Do Generic Products Work as Well as the Equivalent Branded Products?

From a regulatory standpoint, generic versions of branded products must have the same A.I. components to be registered by the government regulator. The A.I. carries the pesticidal activity but the co-formulants, including surfactants and adjuvants, have a big impact on performance e.g. by improving the penetration of the pesticide, allowing targeted application, etc. 

To ensure our FBN product efficacy and performance is as good or better than the branded product, we invest millions of dollars every year conducting laboratory (stability studies, physico-chemical testing like viscosity, pH, density, etc.), formulation testing (e.g. emulsion stability, persistent foaming  pourability, suspensibility, etc.) and field trials comparing an FBN product to its branded counterpart.

Figure 1 below shows some of the results of those trials. Ensuring our product recipe is close to the branded product also makes it easier to receive registration for a product.

Figure 1

Source: FBN Canada field trials conducted with third party contract research organizations in 2022

Why Are Generic Products Priced Lower Than Branded Products?

Generic products are generally cheaper than their branded counterparts for several reasons, including:

  1. Branded manufacturers predominantly are large multinational corporations. Funding all of those people, facilities and R&D require them to extract greater revenue from their products through higher prices. As well, it requires a lot of R&D and failed attempts to develop even one successful product. 

  2. It costs >$260M USD and takes over 11 years (2) to bring an active ingredient to market. To justify such a substantial investment, branded companies need to extract high prices and profits.

  3. By making our own products, FBN cuts out several middlemen within the value chain, passing that savings on to farmers.

  4. Generic manufacturers typically do not have rebate programs. Instead, they pass those savings up-front in the price rather than as an end of season payment.

  5. Branded products often will charge a brand premium for their products, extracting extra value for the recognition of their company and their product.

Are Generic Products Identical to the Branded Products?

Not always. Generic products usually mirror branded products as closely as they can. However, they are not always identical and can have different uses on the label, different concentrations of A.I. and other differences.

The label is the best place to find the specifics on a product. Compare more branded and generic products labels for free with CDMS Label Database or on FBN.com.

Here are the basics on generics vs. branded products:

  • A generic product is usually similar to a branded product but made by a different company.

  • Generic active ingredients are held to the same regulatory standards as branded active ingredients.

  • Branded companies may purchase active ingredients from the same manufacturing plant as generic companies.

  • FBN invests in field trials and lab work, striving for efficacy and performance to match or exceed that of the branded product.

  • Generic chemicals tend to cost less than their branded equivalents.

  • Competition is good for farmers! Generic products give farmers more options and lead to lower input prices.

When choosing to use generic products instead of branded products, it's about understanding what you get for the higher price you pay. Is the brand premium you pay worth the extra cost for you? If you’re interested in exploring cost-saving and performance-enhancing strategies and don’t want manufacturer bundles, generics might be for you.

The number one rule of thumb when considering generics: read your labels. (You can find thousands of chemical labels here). Knowing what’s in your products will give you the information you need to pay for ingredients, not logos.

FBN Crop Protection Generic Alternatives

Learn more about some of the generic alternatives we offer on FBN Direct®:

Brand Name

Common Active Ingredient

FBN Product

2,4-D LV6

2,4-D, 2-ethylhexyl ester (5.50)

2,4-D LV6 Value Pick

AAtrex® 4L

Atrazine (4.00)

Atrazine 4L Value Pick

Abolish 8 EC

Thiobencarb (8.00)

Willowood Thioben 8EC

Affinity® BroadSpec

Thifensulfuron (25.00%) + Tribenuron-methyl (25.00%)

Thifensulfuron 25% + Tribenuron-methyl 25% Value Pick

Affinity® Tank Mix

Thifensulfuron (40.00%) + Tribenuron-methyl (10.00%)

Thifensulfuron 40% + Tribenuron-methyl 10% Value Pick

Aim® EC

Carfentrazone-ethyl (2.00)

Carfentrazone Value Pick

Anthem® Maxx

Fluthiacet-methyl (0.13) + Pyroxasulfone (4.17)

Anthem® Maxx


Topramezone (2.80)


Armezon® Pro

Dimethenamid-P (5.25) + Topramezone (0.10)

Armezon® PRO

Assure® II

Quizalofop-p-ethyl (0.88)

Quizalofop-p-ethyl 0.88 Value Pick

Authority® Assist

Imazethapyr (0.67) + Sulfentrazone (3.33)

Imazethapyr .67 + Sulfentrazone 3.33 Value Pick

Authority® First DF

Cloransulam-methyl (7.90%) + Sulfentrazone (62.10%)

Willowood Sulfen Cloran

Authority® MTZ

Metribuzin (27.00%) + Sulfentrazone (18.00%)

Willowood Sulfen Met DF

Authority® XL

Chlorimuron (7.78%) + Sulfentrazone (62.22%)

Willowood Sulfen Chlorim

Balance® Flexx

Isoxaflutole (2.00)

Balance® Flexx


Dicamba DMA (4.00)

Dicamba DMA 4 Value Pick


Bentazon (4.00)

Bentazon 4.00 Value Pick


Mesotrione (4.00)

Willowood Mesotrione 4SC


Dicamba DGA (4.00)

Dicamba DGA Value Pick


Lactofen (2.00)

Lactofen 2.00 Value Pick

Command® 3ME

Clomazone (3.00)

Willowood Clomazone 3ME

Cerano® 5 MEG

Clomazone (5.00%)

Willowood Clomazone 5G


Bromoxynil octanoate (2.00) + MCPA, 2-ethylhexyl ester (2.00)

Maestro D

Defy® Amine 4

2,4-D, dimethylamine salt (3.80)

2,4-D Amine 3.80 Value Pick

Direx® 4L

Diuron (4.00)

Diuron 4.00 Value Pick

Dual II Magnum®

S-metolachlor (7.64)

S-metolachlor 7.64 Value Pick


Dicamba (5.00)


Enlist One®

2,4-D, choline salt (3.80)

Enlist One®

Facet® L

Quinclorac (4.02)

Quinclorac 4.02 Value Pick


Cloransulam-methyl (84.00%)

Willowood Cloran DF


Fomesafen (1.88)

Fomesafen 1.88 Value Pick


Oxyfluorfen (2.00)

Willowood OxyFlo 2EC®


Florasulam (0.02) + Fluroxypyr 1-methylheptyl ester (0.71) + Pyroxsulam (0.11)


Gramoxone® SL 3.0

Paraquat Dichloride (3.00)

Willowood Paraquat 3SL

GrazonNext® HL

2,4-D, dimethylamine salt (3.33) + Aminopyralid, triisopropanolammonium salt (0.41)

Gunslinger AMP

Harness®/Breakfree® NXT

Acetochlor EC (7.00)

Acetochlor EC 7.00 Value Pick

Harness® Xtra

Acetochlor (4.30) + Atrazine (1.70)

Acetochlor 4.30 + Atrazine 1.70 Value Pick

Harness® Xtra 5.6L

Acetochlor (3.10) + Atrazine (2.50)

Acetochlor 3.10 + Atrazine 2.50

Huskie® Complete

Bromoxynil (1.46) + Pyrasulfotole (0.26) + Thiencarbazone-methyl

Huskie® Complete


Glufosinate-ammonium (2.34)

Willowood Glufosinate 280SL

Maestro® 2EC

Bromoxynil octanoate (2.00)

Brox 2EC


Mepiquat Chloride (0.35)

Mepiquat Chloride (0.35) Value Pick

Nortron® SC

Ethofumesate (4.00)

Willowood Ethofemusate 4SC


Imazamox (1.00)

Imazamox 1.00 Value Pick


Acetochlor (2.80) + Clopyralid (0.19) + Mesotrione (0.30)

Aceto 2.80 + Meso .30 + Clopy .19 Value Pick


Propanil (3.00) + Thiobencarb (3.00)

Willowood Thionil EC


Propanil (4.00)

Willowood Propanil EC

Roundup PowerMax®

Glyphosate-isopropylammonium (4.00)

AgSaver™ Glyphosate 53.8%


Halosulfuron-methyl (75.00%)

Halosulfuron-methyl (75.00%) Value Pick

Select® 2 EC

Clethodim (2.00)

Clethodim 2lb Value Pick


Metribuzin (75.00%)

Metribuzin 75% Value Pick


Saflufenacil (2.85)


Spartan® 4F

Sulfentrazone (4.00)

Willowood Sulfen 4SC

Stalwart® 3W

Atrazine (1.66) + Mesotrione (0.22) + Metolachlor (1.70)

Meto 1.7 + Meso .22 + Atrazine 1.66 Value Pick

Stalwart® C Herbicide

Metolachlor (7.80)

GCS Metola Plus 8EC

Stam 80 EDF

Propanil (81.00%)

Willowood Propanil 80CHS


Fluroxypyr 1-methylheptyl ester (1.60)

Fluroxypyr 1.60 Value Pick


Dicamba, sodium salt (44.00%) + Diflufenzopyr-sodium (17.10%)



Clopyralid, monoethanolamine salt (3.00)

Clopyralid 3.00 Value Pick


Propanil (4.00)

Willowood Propanil 4SC

SureStart® II

Acetochlor (3.75) + Clopyralid, Monoethanolamine salt (0.29) + Flumetsulam (0.12)

Aceto 3.75 + Clopyralid + Flumet .12 Value Pick

Triumph® 22K

Picloram, potassium salt (2.00)

Picloram, potassium salt (2.00) Value Pick

Valor® SX

Flumioxazin (51.00%)

Flumioxazin 51% WDG Value Pick


Dimethenamid-P (5.00) + Saflufenacil (0.57)



Acetochlor CS (3.00)

Acetochlor CS Value Pick


2,4-D, dimethylamine salt (2.87) + Dicamba DMA (1.00)

2,4-D Amine 2.87 + Dicamba DMA 1.00 Value Pick


Clopyralid, monoethanolamine salt (0.75) + Fluroxypyr 1-methylheptyl ester (0.75)

Clopyralid .75 + Fluroxypyr .75 Value Pick

Zidua® Pro

Imazethapyr (1.33) + Pyroxasulfone (2.28) + Saflufenacil (0.48)

Zidua® Pro

Zidua® SC

Pyroxasulfone (4.17)

Zidua® SC


Azoxystrobin (2.08)

GCS Azoxy 2SC

Bravo Weather Stik®

Chlorothalonil (6.00)

Chlorothalonil 6.0lb Value Pick


Tebuconazole (3.60)

Willowood Teb 3.6SC

Quilt Xcel®

Azoxystrobin (1.18) + Propiconazole (1.02)

GCS AzoxyProp

TebuStar® 45WSP

Tebuconazole (45.00%)

Willowood Teb 45DF


Propiconazole (3.60)

Willowood Propicon 3.6EC

Topsin® 4.5FL

Thiophanate-methyl (4.50)

Thiophanate-methyl 4.50 Value Pick


Azoxystrobin (0.92) + Benzovindiflupyr (0.25) + Propiconazole


Admire® Pro

Imidacloprid (4.00)

Imidacloprid 4.00 Value Pick

AgriMek® SC

Abamectin (0.70)

Willowood Abamectin 0.7SC

Brigade® 2EC

Bifenthrin (2.00)

GCS Bifenthrin 2EC

Capture® LFR

Bifenthrin (1.50)

Bifenthrin LFR 1.5 Value Pick

Intrepid® 2F

Methoxyfenozide (2.00)

GCS Methoxy 2F


Hexythiazox (1.00)

Hexythiazox (1.00) Value Pick

Orthene® 97

Acephate (97.00%)

Acephate 97.00% Value Pick


Novaluron (0.83)



Chlorantraniliprole (0.43)



Lambda-cyhalothrin (1.00)

Willowood Lambda-Cy 1EC

Super Boll

Ethephon (6.00)

Setup 6SL

Below are two downloadable reference sheets with generic vs. branded product alternatives:

Click here to enlarge the image.

Click here to enlarge the image.

Selecting Crop Protection Products

Here are a few ways to get started with crop protection products for next season:


1. Siekman, Darrel & Lowell, Sandell. “Comparing Generics vs Name Brand Pesticides”. University of Nebraska: Cropwatch Extension. 10/27/2008. Available here: http://cropwatch.unl.edu/archive/-/asset_publisher/VHeSpfv0Agju/content/888243

2. https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/crops/article/2016/04/14/cost-time-commercialize-rise

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ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. It is a violation of federal, state and provincial law to use any pesticide product other than in accordance with its label. The distribution, sale and use of an unregistered pesticide is a violation of federal, provincial and/or state law and is strictly prohibited. It is your responsibility to confirm prior to purchase and use that a product is labeled for your specific purposes, including, but not limited to, your target crop or pest and its compatibility with other products in a tank mix and that the usage of a product is otherwise consistent with federal, state, provincial, and local laws.  In all applicable jurisdictions, you must have a valid applicator license and/or be a certified farmer to use restricted use pesticides.  

All product recommendations and other information provided is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for consulting the product label or for specific agronomic, business, or professional advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consult with a qualified advisor.

FBN Network

Nov 02, 2023