It is obvious that farmers, even in this year of good potential income, are pinching pennies whenever possible, and it is also obvious that farmers realize that there are many lower cost generic or off-patent products equivalent to proven major manufacturer crop protection products.

These conclusions were confirmed by the latest AgProfessional Web Poll in which 33 percent of the product suppliers responded that more than 50 percent of their customers have been asking about using a generic/off-patent product. Another 21 percent of the ag retailers/crop consultants answering the poll said between 36 percent and 50 percent of their customers have asked about using generics.

There are several companies that specialize in manufacturing, packaging and distributing off-patent products. Word about these companies and products has been spread more by word of mouth and Extension personnel recommendations than through major advertising campaigns.

At one time, generic products were available for only a few crop production situations, but today growers can buy generic products to meet their basic needs throughout the growing season for major crops. That is the basis behind one company’s pitch for ag retailers to stock and sell their products. MANA Crop Protection, at last winter’s Commodity Classic, explained the company’s “Protected Acre Program” for use of off-patent products throughout the growing season to farmers visiting the trade show.

Here are the full results to the Web Poll: What percentage of your customers has been asking about using a generic/off-patent product from a non-major manufacturer?

Percentage of customers           Percentage of respondents

1% to 10%                                           9%

11% to 20%                                         18%

21% to 35%                                         18%

36% to 50%                                         21%

More than 50%                                    33%

Please note that the AgProfessional Web Poll changes weekly Wednesday night. The poll question is mainly directed to the major audiences of AgProfessional magazine—crop consultants, farm managers and agricultural retailer employees. Go to http://www.agprofessional.com/ to vote. Also note that there is a place to leave comments explaining your vote if you feel so inclined.