What’s the Shelf Life of Your Ag Chemicals?

FBN Network

Nov 13, 2023

With big Cyber November savings opportunities available through November 21, it's a great time to consider stocking up early on inputs for next season.

But farmers sometimes ask us if they should be concerned about balancing savings and purchase timing with delivery and chem product shelf life, as well as storage. 

They wonder if buying a product in the fall and making an early purchase means they might be “saving money but buying older product” that may expire or become less effective come spring or summer when they need it. We’ve also been asked by farmers if they should be concerned about a newer version or formulation of the product becoming available before they have a chance to use what they’ve purchased.

The short answer?

No. You shouldn’t be worried about product aging past its point of efficacy just from fall to spring.

No. You also shouldn’t be worried about the newest release of a chemical just from fall to spring (likely to be more expensive, but not necessarily more effective on your crops as the previous formulation).

But you should be aware of the shelf life of the chemicals you’ve purchased once you have them in-hand, because how they’re stored can impact how long they last. While all chemistry should have an expiration date, not all labels are clear as to what that expiration date may be.  

Let’s also look at a longer, more detailed answer to this common question.

How Long Does Ag Chem Stay Effective?

Here is an example list of the shelf life of a variety of common ag chemicals:

While some may say that as a general rule of thumb two years is where you should draw the line on chemical shelf life, the truth is that there’s no hard and fast rule to how long chemicals stay effective.

You can see from the chart above that shelf life for common ag chemicals is entirely dependent on the individual formulation and how it is stored. Always read and follow label use instructions.

Here are a few examples:

  • Some chemicals, such as 2,4-D, are highly volatile and have been known to contaminate materials nearby when kept in close proximity.

  • Dusts and wettable powder formulations tend to break down more so than liquids, due to high temperature, humidity, etc.

  • Organophosphates have a low stability, which often means they can have a shorter shelf life.

Why Does Ag Chem Break Down Over Time?

Chemical breakdown and degradation happens differently in different formulations:

How Can I Tell If My Ag Chem Has Degraded?

There are two primary things to keep in mind when it comes to chemical degradation, and what that means for chemical product shelf life and how you store your chem:

  1. Your active ingredient may degrade, decreasing potency.

  2. Your formulation may break down, causing flaking, crystals, separation (often seen in pre-mixes) or a sludge that simply won’t mix or pull into suspension.

3 Tips to Ensure Ag Chem Retains Efficacy While Stored

  1. Never allow the product to freeze, or to be at risk of freezing.

  2. Store the product in a place that stays below 100 degrees F.

  3. Store the product in original containers and make sure all lids are closed securely.

Plus, when you order from FBN® you can take advantage of savings now, but you don’t have to take delivery of the product until you want it. As an example, you could place your order today and opt to have it delivered in four months rather than next week, giving you maximum flexibility and more peace of mind.

Get the Inputs You Need, When You Need Them, with FBN

Maximize savings and convenience when you shop for ag chemicals on FBN. Simply buy the crop protection, crop nutrition, or other key products you need through our online platform - available 24/7 - and get them shipped directly to your farm on your schedule. It’s just one of many different ways we’re making farming better for farmers.


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FBN Network

Nov 13, 2023