Branded chemicals might offer a well-known solution to your crop problems, but generic alternatives can often do the same job - and at a much better price.
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve examined some of the myths surrounding generic crop protection products and have looked at ways to identify which products might be worth trying.
To end this mini-series on generic CP products, we talk to agronomists to get their tips on the products they think are proving just as effective on farmers’ crops, whilst slashing significant sums from their chemical bills.
With its active ingredients of flufenacet and difluenican, Bayer’s Liberator is often the first choice for farmers looking to control blackgrass in their crops.
But some equally good non-branded products have come to the market, offering growers strong results alongside potentially significant savings.
“We’ve been using Pincer from Agform to control blackgrass pre- and post-emergence and I’m happy with it,” says Michael, an agronomist from Norfolk.
“When you look at the costs against the branded version, you can make some big savings across a farm and still get the same results, so it makes sense to use it.”
Potential savings: Growers on Yagro have saved up to 11.5% by switching from Liberator to Pincer.
Its future may be unclear in Europe, but glyphosate is the go-to chemical for many growers looking to control annual and perennial broadleaved weeds on their farms.
Monsanto’s Roundup was the first product on the market, but there are now a number of lower-priced alternatives which can be just as effective.
“Unless you have a marginal situation, most farmers will use a generic glyphosate and won’t be able to tell a difference,” says Michael.
“Hard water can sometimes affect the chemical, so it’s always worth checking with your own agronomist to make sure the product will suit your farm. “Most of the growers I work with use Monsanto’s Azural and it works well for them.”
Potential savings: Growers on Yagro have cut their glyphosate bill by up to 37.8% by using Azural instead of higher-priced alternatives.
Active ingredient chlorothalonil is a vital tool for dealing with fungal diseases in a number of crops, such as ramularia leaf spot control in barley and septoria in wheat.
Using Syngenta’s Bravo 500 at T1 is a common approach for many growers, but alternative products such as Nufarm’s Piper 500 and Joules are proving just as effective - and considerably cheaper - for farm businesses.
“I’ve been recommending Joules for two or three years and we’ve had no qualms with it,” says Cambridgeshire agronomist Andrew.
“Obviously it’s important to do your research and ensure it comes from a reputable source, but when you look at the costs of parallel branded products - especially in this case - it makes sense to switch.”
Potential savings: Compared to Bravo 500, farmers on Yagro have saved up to 23.2% when they bought Piper 500 and up to 21.4% on Joules.
Syngenta’s Hallmark with Zeon Technology is a popular product for controlling insect pests across crops ranging from barley and brussel sprouts to field beans, but it isn't the only option available to growers.
Thanks to active ingredient lambda-cyhalothrin, Headland’s Karis 10 CS has achieved similar results at a fraction of the cost of its branded counterpart.
“Hallmark is a brilliant product, but Karis is considerably cheaper,” says Kieran Would of Lincolnshire-based agronomists Agrigem. “We’ve sold thousands of bottles and never had any negative feedback.”
“Karis may not have quite as broad a label, but for mainstream crops it’s a perfectly viable alternative - and it’s from a reputable company,” he adds. “When the cost savings are potentially so big, why wouldn’t farmers use it?”
Potential savings: For growers on Yagro, buying Headland’s Karis 10 CS instead of Hallmark has helped them slash their insecticide bill by up to 42.4%.
Broad spectrum weed control
For cereal growers, metsulfuron-methyl and tribenuron-methyl herbicides are key for controlling broad spectrum weeds in their crops.
DuPont’s Ally Max SX has long been a favourite with farmers, however alternatives such as Rotam’s Boudha offers just as good results at a much cheaper price, says Oxfordshire farmer Guy Hildred.
"Boudha is effective on broad-leaved weeds we deal with and cost effective too. I’ll definitely continue to use it.”
Potential savings: Farmers using Yagro have saved as much as 19.6% on the cost of their herbicides by switching from Ally Max SX to Boudha.