Branded vs. Generic Crop Insecticides

FBN Network

May 16, 2024

You may have noticed more generic insecticide products available from your retailer in recent years. Crop protection patents typically expire after 20 years, which opens the opportunity to generic alternatives that are usually more affordable. 

However, the phrase “you get what you pay for” may have you wondering if generic insecticide options perform as well as the more expensive brands you’re familiar with. 

Let's take a closer look at the main differences between branded and generic crop insecticides to help you make an informed decision. In this post, we’ll discuss:

Pros and Cons of Generic vs. Branded Insecticides

Generic Insecticides



Lower price

Limited performance data

No rebate programs or extra paperwork to manage

May have less effective inert ingredients

More options/market competition

Generally limited field support

Often equivalent performance as branded insecticides

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

Branded Insecticides



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 Insecticides?

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

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

Generic insecticides may have a significant advantage over their name-brand counterparts, as they can deliver similar results at a lower cost. This is because a generic insecticide contains the same active ingredients as the name-brand version, which generally gives it comparable insecticidal activity. 

However, differences may exist in the inert ingredients or product formulation. While inert ingredients don’t have pesticidal activity, they can contribute to product efficacy by improving application effectiveness. 

For example, adjuvants may help improve the product’s spray characteristics by helping it stick or spread on leaves. Some inert ingredients improve the product’s safety, handling, and storage characteristics, while others enhance pesticidal activity by limiting photodegradation or stabilizing the formulation. Therefore, comparing product labels before selecting an insecticide is essential to ensure optimal performance.

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 insecticide to its branded counterpart 

From spider mites to soybean aphids, insects can damage crops and reduce yield. Our agronomists share product recommendations for managing insects in our Pest pages here

Why Are Generic Insecticides Priced Lower Than Branded Products?

There are several reasons generic insecticides may cost less than their brand-name counterparts.

1. Registering a Generic Insecticide Requires a Relatively Minimal Investment

The original product manufacturer has done most of the heavy lifting to register a new insecticide active ingredient. The multinational companies behind most name-brand insecticides invest millions of dollars annually in the people, facilities, and research and development required to bring those new products to market. To make a profit, they aim to achieve the highest possible margin from their insecticides. 

On the other hand, generic insecticide manufacturers can reduce costs by leveraging the work already done to register these products. For example, the EPA offers an “identical/substantially similar” pesticide registration application for new insecticides 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 with a Generic Insecticide

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

3. Raw Ingredient and Manufacturing Costs May Be Less

Some generic insecticides may contain different inert ingredients than the brand-name products, which can reduce manufacturing costs.

4. The Supply Chain Is Streamlined

Generic insecticide 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 forgo rebate programs and the associated administrative costs, opting instead for a lower upfront product cost for buyers.

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

Are Generic Insecticides Identical to the Branded Products?

Not always. Although both generic and brand-name insecticides contain the same active ingredients, there can be minor variations in their formulation. These differences may affect the insecticide's efficacy or its handling, storage, or safety profile. Therefore, you should always review the product label and follow the instructions when using any insecticide. Insecticide formulation variations might include: 

Differences in Inert Ingredients

Insecticide formulations contain various additives like: 

  • Solvents

  • Stabilizers

  • Emulsifiers

  • Surfactants

  • Other inert ingredients that do not have pesticidal activity 

These ingredients are added to enhance the chemical formulation or improve application ease by reducing product tie-up, enhancing product uptake, increasing dilution in water, stabilizing active chemicals, and extending shelf life, among other reasons. 

While generic insecticides 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

While the active ingredient of a generic product must be the same as its name-brand equivalent, it may not be in the same concentration. Similarly, there may be differences in the chemical structure of a specific active ingredient. So, even though the chemical formula of two products is the same, the atoms in their molecular makeup may be positioned differently, leading to differences in biological activity. 

For example, researchers have found that common insecticides, including organophosphates, such as profenofos, and synthetic pyrethroids, such as permethrin, contain one optical isomer that is more than ten times more toxic than the other to susceptible target organisms. See W. Liu, J. Gan, D. Schlenk, and W. A. Jury’s Enantioselectivity in Environmental Safety of Current Chiral Insecticides” for reference. 

Unlock the 2024 Crop Protection Guide for free to discover the FBN portfolio of crop protection products, and get access to information on branded vs. generic alternatives.

Is a Generic Insecticide a Good Fit for Your Operation?

When it comes to protecting crops from troublesome insects, generic insecticides can be a cost-effective solution that doesn’t compromise on quality. To determine if they are the right fit for your operation, compare the price, safety, and performance of generic insecticides with name-brand alternatives. 

If there is no performance data available for the generic insecticide you're 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 insecticide while mitigating the risk of trying a new product. 

As you evaluate the label differences between generic and name-brand insecticides, 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 insects, 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 Insecticide Alternatives

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

Brand Name(s)

Common Active Ingredient

FBN Product

Fanfare® 2EC; Capture® 2EC-CAL; Brigade® 2EC

bifenthrin (2 lbs/gal)

GCS Bifenthrin 2EC*

Batallion™ LFC

bifenthrin (1.5 lbs/gal)

GCS Bifenthrin LFC*

Intrepid® 2F Insecticide


GCS Methoxy 2F

Admire® Pro


Willowood Imidacloprid 4SC*

Abamex™ Miticide/Insecticide

abamectin (0.15 lbs/gal)

Willowood Abamectin 0.15LV*

Agri-Mek® SC Miticide/Insecticide

abamectin (0.7 lbs/gal)

Willowood Abamectin 0.7SC*



Willowood Lambda-Cy 1EC*

Shop Insecticides from FBN

Selecting the right insecticide is crucial to safeguard your crop investment. FBN provides a range of generic and brand-name insecticides to help you tackle troublesome insects that can harm your crops throughout the season. 

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 insecticide strategy this season.  

Shop FBN Insecticides

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.

Abamex™ Miticide/Insecticide is a trademark of Nufarm.

Admire® Pro is a registered trademark of Bayer Aktiengesellschaft. 

Agri-Mek® SC Miticide/Insecticide is a registered trademark of Syngenta Participations Ag.

Batallion™ LFC is a trademark of Atticus, LLC.

Brigade® 2EC is a registered trademark of FMC Corporation.

Capture® 2EC-CAL is a registered trademark of FMC Corporation.

Fanfare® 2EC is a registered trademark of Adama Makhteshim Ltd.

Intrepid® 2F Insecticide is a registered trademark of Corteva Agriscience LLC.

Silencer® is a registered trademark of Adama Makhteshim Ltd. 

*GCS Bifenthrin 2EC is a restricted use pesticide.

*GCS Bifenthrin LFC is a restricted use pesticide.

*Willowood Imidacloprid 4SC is a restricted use pesticide.

*Willowood Abamectin 0.15LV is a restricted use pesticide.

*Willowood Abamectin 0.7SC is a restricted use pesticide.

*Willowood Lambda-Cy 1EC 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

May 16, 2024

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