In 2000, the generic glyphosate, previously patented by Monsanto and sold under the name Roundup, entered the market when the patent expired. The massive size of the glyphosate market brought generic agricultural chemicals to the forefront of the industry even though many generic agricultural chemicals like 2,4-D and atrazine were already in use.
“Several years ago, generics were a nonfactor in the agricultural herbicide market,” says John Rabby, president and CEO of Makhteshim Agan of North America. “Generic glyphosate increased the number of products, gave producers more choices and introduced producers to the concept of quality generic crop protection products.”
Approximately 85% of the majority of agricultural chemicals are off patent now, which means these chemicals now can be produced by any company. Because approximately 60% of all pesticides used in this country’s agriculture are herbicides, the market is huge.
A generic product usually develops its own brand identity – either a takeoff of a name-brand supplier or a store’s own proprietary brand name. Traditional brand names are discovering that generic products are taking more and more shelf space. And the same holds true for generic agricultural chemicals. Atrazine, for example, remains a popular active ingredient that’s found in many generic herbicide formulations sold under a vast assortment of names.
Generics have made a major and lasting impact on the agricultural chemical market, but competition will continue to remain fierce.