Branded vs. Generic Crop Herbicides

FBN Network

Jun 28, 2024

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Crop protection patents typically expire after 20 years, which creates market opportunities for more affordable generic alternatives. When your ag retailer presents you with herbicide options, you may wonder how those higher-priced name-brand products compare to the cheaper generic options. 

In this post, we’ll discuss:

Pros and Cons of Generic vs. Branded Herbicides

Generic Herbicides



Lower price

Limited performance data

No rebate programs or extra paperwork to manage

May have less effective inert ingredients

Offer more options/market competition

Generally limited field support

Often equivalent performance as branded herbicides

Most generic manufacturers don’t have the capital to invest in future innovation and solutions

Branded Herbicides



Proven performance with data validation

Higher price

Backed by field support

May provide less value than generic products (performance vs. cost)

May include more effective inert ingredients

May need to submit rebate paperwork to reduce the product price

Purchasing helps support more innovation and crop protection solutions

Do Government Agencies Regulate Generic Herbicides?

Yes, generic herbicides undergo the same Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval process as their original branded counterparts. To sell a generic herbicide, manufacturers must follow the same rules and regulations for registration as all other crop protection products.

Do Generic Herbicides Work as Well as Name-Brand Products?

Generic herbicides can be a cost-effective alternative to their brand-name counterparts, as they contain the same active ingredients and deliver similar results. However, inert ingredients or formulation differences may affect the product's efficacy. 

Inert ingredients do not have pesticidal activity but can contribute to the product's effectiveness by improving its application and crop safety characteristics. For instance, adjuvants can help the herbicide stick or spread on leaves, while other inert ingredients can improve the product's safety, handling, and storage characteristics. Some inert ingredients can also enhance the herbicide's pesticidal activity by limiting photodegradation or stabilizing the formulation. Some herbicides contain safener ingredients to protect crops from chemical injury following a herbicide application.  

Therefore, comparing product labels before choosing a herbicide is important to ensure optimal performance against target weeds.

At FBN, we invest millions of dollars each year to conduct comprehensive analyses of our generic products to ensure they perform as well as or better than the branded product. Product evaluations include:

  • Laboratory screening (stability studies, physico-chemical testing like viscosity, pH, density, etc.)

  • Formulation testing (e.g., emulsion stability, persistent foaming, pourability, suspensibility, etc.)

  • Field trials comparing an FBN generic herbicide to its branded counterpart 

Whether it’s bermudagrass or waterhemp, grass and broadleaf weeds can limit yield potential. Our agronomists share product recommendations for managing weeds on our Pest pages here

Why Are Generic Herbicides Priced Lower Than Branded Products?

There are various reasons why generic herbicides may be priced lower than their branded equivalents.

1. It’s Less Costly to Register a Generic Herbicide 

While the registration requirements for a generic herbicide are the same as those for a name-brand product, the process may be faster and less expensive for post-patent herbicides. Registering a new herbicide active ingredient requires significant effort and time investment from the original manufacturer. Generally, multinational companies that produce name-brand herbicides invest millions of dollars annually in research and development, as well as people and facilities, to bring new products to market. Their ultimate goal is to generate the highest possible profit margin from their herbicides to recoup some of these development costs. 

In contrast, generic herbicide manufacturers can reduce costs by building on the work already done to register comparable products. For example, the EPA offers an “identical/substantially similar” pesticide registration application for new herbicides that are:

  • Identical or substantially similar in its uses and formulation to one or more products that are currently registered and marketed in the United States; or

  • Differs only in ways that would not significantly increase the risk of unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.   

2. Marketing Costs Are Lower

Generic herbicides generally do not require extensive marketing because the branded product has been marketed and established among the agricultural community for decades. Branded herbicides often charge a premium, extracting additional value for their company name and product.

For example, you’re probably already familiar with RoundUp® herbicide and know that its active ingredient, glyphosate, takes care of a broad spectrum of weeds on your farm. The company invested in a strategic marketing campaign to become a household name. Because consumers already are familiar with the power of glyphosate from the branded product, the generic alternative AgSaver™ Glyphosate 53.8% can keep its marketing costs lower. See chart below for more examples.

3. Raw Ingredient and Manufacturing Costs May Be Less

Some generic herbicides may contain different inert ingredients than the brand-name products, which can reduce manufacturing costs. Differences in inactive ingredients typically do not play a significant role in herbicide product performance. See the Differences in Inert Ingredients section below for more information.

4. The Supply Chain Is Streamlined

Generic herbicide manufacturers, including FBN, can cut out the intermediaries in the value chain, passing those savings on to farmers. As an example, we recently announced our new Mississippi blending facility, which cuts out the middleman and enables us to offer fairly priced ag chem. 

5. There Are Fewer Administrative Costs

Generic manufacturers typically opt for a lower upfront product cost instead of rebate programs, which come with high administrative costs. As a result, the consumer not only saves money upfront but also saves time by not having to apply for a rebate.

Cover herbicide costs by opening an operating line from FBN Finance. Learn how to get an instant approval decision here*.

Are Generic Herbicides Identical to the Branded Products?

Even though both generic and brand-name herbicides have the same active ingredients, there might be slight differences in their formulation. These differences can affect the efficacy of the herbicide, as well as its handling, storage, and safety profile. Therefore, reviewing the product label and following the instructions when using any herbicide is always recommended. Variations in herbicide formulation might include:

Differences in Inert Ingredients

Herbicide formulations may contain various additives like: 

  • Solvents

  • Stabilizers

  • Emulsifiers

  • Surfactants

  • Safeners

  • Other inert ingredients that do not have pesticidal activity 

These ingredients are added to improve the chemical formulation of a herbicide or make it easier to apply by reducing product tie-up, enhancing product uptake, increasing dilution in water, stabilizing active chemicals, and extending shelf life, among other reasons. While generic herbicides may have slightly different inert ingredients compared to brand-name products, the differences in performance are likely minimal unless a specific inert ingredient is missing compared to the name-brand product.

Differences in Active Ingredient Concentration and Chemical Structure

Although the active ingredient of a generic product must be identical to its name-brand equivalent, there could be differences in concentration or the chemical structure of the specific active ingredient. This means that while the chemical formula of two products may be the same, the arrangement of atoms in their molecular makeup may differ, leading to variations in biological activity.

For example, glufosinate-ammonium is a mixture of D- and L-enantiomers; however, only the L-enantiomer has herbicidal activity. New formulation technology enables the concentration of L-enantiomer glufosinate, which can reduce the application rate of newer glufosinate herbicides compared to racemic mixture products. 

Review the 2024 Crop Protection Guide to see the entire FBN crop protection product portfolio and learn more about branded vs. generic alternatives.

Is a Generic Herbicide a Good Fit for Your Operation?

As we’ve discussed, generic herbicides can be a cost-effective solution for managing weeds without compromising quality. To determine whether generic products suit your operation, compare their price, safety, and performance with name-brand alternatives

If performance data is unavailable for the generic herbicide you are considering, conducting a small in-field trial to compare product performance may be helpful. Running a side-by-side trial can help you learn more about the generic herbicide while mitigating the risk of trying a new product.

As you evaluate the label differences between generic and name-brand herbicides, consult with your trusted agronomic advisor to answer these questions:

  • Are the active ingredient concentrations the same?

  • Are the inert ingredients significantly different?

    • If so, what performance differences might you expect?

  • Is the generic product labeled for the crops, specific weeds, and application types you’re expecting to use it for?

  • Are there any storage, handling, or disposal differences you should be aware of?

FBN Generic Herbicide Alternatives

Learn more about some of the generic herbicides available through FBN:

Brand Name(s)

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)

GCS Atrazine 4L**

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

Assure® II

Quizalofop-p-ethyl (0.88)

Quizalofop-p-ethyl 0.88 Value Pick

Authority® Assist

Imazethapyr (0.67) + Sulfentrazone (3.33)

Willowood Sulfen Imaz

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


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)

Willowood Lactofen 2EC

Command® 3ME

Clomazone (3.00)

Willowood Clomazone 3ME

Cerano® 5 MEG

Clomazone (5.00%)

Willowood Clomazone 5G**

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)

GCS S-Metolachlor 82.4% EC

Facet® L

Quinclorac (4.02)

Quinclorac 4.02 Value Pick


Cloransulam-methyl (84.00%)

Willowood Cloran DF


Fomesafen (1.88)

Willowood Fomesafen 1.88SL


Oxyfluorfen (2.00)

Willowood OxyFlo 2EC®

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**


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)

Willowood Clethodim 2EC**


Metribuzin (75.00%)

Willowood Metribuzin 75DF

Spartan® 4F

Sulfentrazone (4.00)

Willowood Sulfen 4SC

Stalwart® 3W

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

MesoXtra Herbicide**

Stalwart® C Herbicide

Metolachlor (7.80)

GCS Metola Plus 8EC


Fluroxypyr 1-methylheptyl ester (1.60)

Fluroxypyr 1.60 Value Pick


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 (Redeagle)


Acetochlor CS (3.00)

Arrest CS


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

Shop Herbicides from FBN

An effective herbicide program can protect your crop’s yield potential throughout the season. FBN provides a range of generic and brand-name herbicides to help you tackle your most troublesome weeds. 

With 24/7 digital shopping access, direct-to-farm delivery, transparent pricing and savings opportunities, and detailed label information for each product, FBN offers the information and products you need to build an effective weed management strategy this season.  

Shop FBN herbicides

Related Resources

© 2014 - 2024 Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, “Farmers Business Network”, “FBN”, "Farmers First", “FBN Direct” , "F2F", and "F2F Genetics Network" are trademarks or registered trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

RoundUp® is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC. 

AAtrex® is a registered trademark of Syngenta US.

Affinity® is a registered trademark of FMC Corporation.

Aim® is a registered trademark of FMC Corporation.

Assure® is a registered trademark of AMVAC Chemical Corporation.

Authority® is a registered trademark of FMC Corporation.

Banvel® is a registered trademark of BASF Corporation. 

Basagran® is a registered trademark of BASF Corporation.

Callisto® is a registered trademark of Syngenta US.

Clarity® is a registered trademark of BASF Corporation.

Cobra® is a registered trademark of Valent U.S.A. LLC.

Command® is a registered trademark of FMC Corporation.

Cerano® is a registered trademark of Wilbur-Ellis.

Defy® is a registered trademark of Syngenta US.

Direx® is a registered trademark of ADAMA Group.

Magnum® is a registered trademark of Syngenta US.

Facet® is a registered trademark of BASF Corporation.

FirstRate® is a registered trademark of Corteva Agriscience.

Flexstar® is a registered trademark of Syngenta Group Company.

Goal® is a registered trademark of Nutrichem Co, LTD. 

Gramoxone® is a registered trademark of Syngenta US.

Harness®/Breakfree® is a registered trademark of Bayer CropScience U.S.

Harness® is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC.

Liberty® is a registered trademark of BASF Corporation.

Maestro® is a registered trademark of Nufarm Americas. 

Mepex® is a registered trademark of Nufarm Americas, Inc.

Nortron® is a registered trademark of Bayer CropScience U.S.

Raptor® is a registered trademark of BASF Corporation.

Resicore® is a registered trademark of Dow Agrosciences LLC.

RiceBeaux® is a registered trademark of RiceCo LLC.

RiceShot® is a registered trademark of RiceCo LLC.

Roundup PowerMax® is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC. 

Sandea® is a registered trademark of Gowan Company, L.L.C.

Select® is a registered trademark of Arysta LifScience. 

Sencor® is a registered trademark of Bayer CropScience U.S.

Spartan® is a registered trademark of FMC Corporation.

Stalwart® is a registered trademark of Sipcam Agro USA, Inc.

StareDown® is a registered trademark of The Dow Chemical Company. 

Stinger® is a registered trademark of Corteva Agriscience LLC.

SuperWHAM® is a registered trademark of RiceCo LLC.

SureStart® is a registered trademark of Corteva Agriscience LLC.

Triumph® is a registered trademark of Alligare, LLC.

Valor® is a registered trademark of Valent U.S.A. LLC.

Warrant® is a registered trademark of Bayer CropScience U.S.

Weedmaster® is a registered trademark of Nufarm Americas. 

Widematch® is a registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC.

All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

**GCS Atrazine 4L is a restricted use pesticide.

**Willowood Clomazone 5G is a restricted use pesticide.

**2,4-D Amine 3.80 Value Pick is a restricted use pesticide.

**Willowood Paraquat 3SL is a restricted use pesticide.

**Acetochlor 4.30 + Atrazine 1.70 Value Pick is a restricted use pesticide.

**Acetochlor 3.10 + Atrazine 2.50 is a restricted use pesticide.

**Willowood Ethofemusate 4SC is a restricted use pesticide.

**Willowood Clethodim 2EC is a restricted use pesticide.

**MesoXtra Herbicide is a restricted use pesticide.

**Picloram, potassium salt (2.00) Value Pick is a restricted use pesticide.

**RESTRICTED USE PESTICIDE Due to acute toxicity. For retail sale to and use by certified applicators only – NOT to be used by uncertified persons working under the supervision of a certified applicator.

FBN Direct products and services and other products distributed by FBN Direct are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed and where those products are registered for sale or use, if applicable. If applicable, please check with your local extension service to ensure registration status. Nothing contained on this page, including the prices listed should be construed as an offer for sale, or a sale of products. All products and prices are subject to change at any time and without notice and excludes CA mills tax and MN ACRRA fees. Terms and conditions apply.

ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. It is a violation of federal and state 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 and/or state law and is strictly prohibited. We do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided on this page or which is provided by us in any form. 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 and local laws.  We reserve the right to restrict sales on a geographic basis in our sole discretion. You must have a valid applicator license to use restricted use pesticides.  Please consult your state department of agriculture for complete rules and regulations on the use of restricted use pesticides, as some products require specific record-keeping requirements.

All product suggestions 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. Neither Farmer's Business Network Inc. nor any of its affiliates makes any representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the statements or any information contained in the material and any liability therefore is expressly disclaimed.

*Instant approvals are subject to review and verification and other applicable underwriting processes. Financing offered by FBN Finance, LLC and its lending partners. Available where FBN Finance, LLC is licensed. Terms and conditions apply. To qualify, a borrower must be a member of Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. and meet all underwriting requirements. Interest rates and fees will vary depending on your individual situation. Not all applicants will qualify. NMLS ID: 1631119.  

FBN Network

Jun 28, 2024

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Branded vs. Generic Herbicide Options

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