Get To Know The Chemical Names

More herbicide choices give farmers more options for controlling weeds, but now with many brand names for the same active ingredient, the landscape is more confusing, says a University of Saskatchewan crop protection specialist. Plenty of new product names are entering the marketplace, Ken Sapsford says. These aren’t necessarily new chemistries with new modes of action, although there are a few. Most, however, are existing chemistries just being branded, sometimes in new combinations, under new product names.

“It is becoming important for farmers to know the names of chemicals they want for controlling weeds,” says Sapsford, who has specialized in herbicide and crop protection products research for the past 10 years.

Sapsford says more choice isn’t a bad thing. The new range of products gives producers more options, and the competition from generic products helps to bring down crop production costs. But it does complicate the selection process.

Several things are happening to change the business of selecting crop protection products, he says. One, producers are seeing new trade names and private labels. Two, they are seeing generic versions of well established herbicides with new brand names. Three, they are seeing new trade names for new combinations of chemical compounds. And four, a few brand new chemistries — and new groups of herbicides — are coming to the market as well.

“A number of new chemicals were introduced into the Western Canadian market in the 1970s and 80s, but so many of these compounds are coming off patent and therefore generic products are now showing up,” he says. “There is also a trend for large retail companies to develop their own Private Label products. These products are made by the original manufacturing company but, through agreements with a retailer, they will package their product with a different product name that is only sold through that specific retailer.”

As well, some generic products are manufactured by “generic manufacturers” that register products for use in Canada in their own right. There are also some new products on the market that are simply new mixes of existing

“Producers are going to have to become aware of the active ingredient(s) in each product, what herbicide mode of action groups are in the mix and ensure that they are rotating their herbicide groups not just the herbicide names.”

—Ken Sapsford

products that have been given new product names.

“But that is all they are, older products that have been packaged together under a new product name,” says Sapsford. “Twenty years ago, for example, if you wanted a pre-seeding, burn down product you bought Roundup. Today, with the patent expiration on glyphosate, there are 18 different brand name products on the market from different companies that are all glyphosate based. If you include combinations with glyphosate there are probably 25 different brand name products.”


Clodinafop is another example of a chemistry with different product names. The active ingredient in Syngenta’s Horizon 240 herbicide is now also available as Foothills through Viterra’s private label. Syngenta manufactures the clodinafop in Foothills. Clodinafop also comes in generic versions under the brand names Ladder from MANA, NextStep from Arysta and Signal from NuFarm.

Dow AgroSciences’ brand Liquid Achieve, with the active ingredient tralkoxydim, is now also available from MANA as Bison and from Viterra as Marengo.

And these are just a couple examples of existing products with new brand names.


You’ll also find new combinations of existing herbicides with new brand names. Axial iPak is a combination of Axial and Infinity. Benchmark is a new product name from Dow, which is a combination of florasulam and bromoxynil. Florasulam is also in Frontline and PrePass and bromoxynil is an active ingredient in Pardner and Buctril M.

BASF’s Viper is a combination of imazamox and bentazon. Imazamox is the active ingredient in Solo and Odyssey, and bentazon is the active ingredient in Basagran.


In the past few years, only five new herbicides with new modes of action have come on the market for Western Canadian farmers. They include three new Group 14 products and two new Group 28 products:

CleanStart (NuFarm) –a mixture of glyphosate (group 9) and carfentrazone (group 14). This product is used as a pre-seed burnoff. Adding carfentrazone to the mix gives a faster burndown of the weeds and will control Roundup Ready canola volunteers. CleanStart may be applied prior to seeding most crops grown in western Canada.

Authority (FMC) –contains the active ingredient sulfentrazone (group 14).

This product is registered for broadleaf weed control in chickpea. Authority is applied as a pre-emerge application to the soil. It requires rainfall to activate it and is registered to control kochia, redroot pigweed, lamb’s quarters and wild buckwheat. This product will control both group-2 resistant and susceptible kochia. Authority has a number of recropping restrictions and lentils are particularly sensitive to sulfentrazone residue. This product had a two-year registration that started in 2008 and the company is hoping for full registration with additional crops added to the label in 2010.

Heat (BASF hoping for registration in 2010) –contains saflufenacil (group 14) also known as Kixor. This product is used as a pre-seed burnoff application that will be tank mixed with glyphosate. It will provide faster burndown and will control Roundup ready canola volunteers. At the rates that will be registered in Western Canada, there is no residual control. Most crops in western Canada can be seeded following an application of Heat, but you’ll have to refer to the label — when the product is registered — for the exact list.

Infinity (Bayer) –a mixture of pyrasulfotole (group 28) plus bromoxynil (group 6). Infinity provides broadleaf weed control in wheat, barley, triticale and timothy (seed production only). It controls group-2 and group-4 herbicide resistant biotypes of weeds that are on its label. Lentilis the most sensitive crop so there is a restriction that lentil should not be seeded until the second year after application.

Velocity M3 (Bayer) –a mixture of pyrasulfotole (group 28) plus bromoxynil (group 6) plus thifencarbazone (group 2). This has Infinity mixed with a new group 2 product that adds wild oat control to the mix.

On that note, you’ll find a couple new group 2 wild oat herbicides on the market that can be applied to wheat. Up to now, most of the cereal wild oat herbicides have been group 1 and group-1 resistant wild oats

have been increasing over the past 15 years. The first group 2 wild oat herbicide that could be applied in wheat was Everest from Arysta. There is now Velocity M3 from Bayer and Simplicity from Dow. Velocity M3 is only sold in the premix that is mentioned above, whereas Simplicity, which contains pyroxsulam (group 2) is sold as a stand-alone product and can be tank-mixed with a number of broadleaf partners.


In closing, Sapsford says it is important for farmers to know their chemistry.

“Producers have to beware that not all these products contain new chemistry,” he says. “Producers are going to have to become aware of the active ingredient(s) in each product, what herbicide mode of action groups are in the mix and ensure that they are rotating their herbicide groups not just the herbicide names. And with a few new herbicide groups available, producers should see where these products fit into their rotation to help avoid the development and spread of resistant weeds.”

Lee Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.



Stories from our other publications