Same glyphosate, why are the prices different?

If Pandawa Agri’s friends pay attention, the price range of glyphosate in the market is quite diverse, and each brand will definitely have different prices. So, what actually causes the price difference even though they are all glyphosate? Let’s break it down one by one.
Pandawa Agri’s team conducted simple research to determine the price ranges of various brands of glyphosate found in the market. Here is a table containing the price ranges of glyphosate from several brands that we have summarized. Interestingly, upon deeper investigation by the Pandawa Agri team, we discovered that the divergence in glyphosate prices is influenced by the herbicide category, which corresponds to the type of formulation and active ingredient content used.

Table 1. Comparison of glyphosate prices in the market.

Glyphosate: The Most Widely Used Herbicide in the World.

As commonly known, glyphosate herbicides can be categorized into two types: patented and generic glyphosate herbicides. After being a patented product for 20 years, glyphosate eventually transitioned from a patented product to a generic one in 2000 and can now be produced by other pesticide manufacturers.

Typically, generic pesticide companies offer more affordable alternatives compared to patent holders. This holds true for glyphosate as well, and Indonesia is home to numerous generic glyphosate manufacturers, as evident from the registration of over 400 brands of glyphosate in the country.

"The use of herbicides contributes approximately 47.5% of the total pesticide usage worldwide. It's noteworthy that the global pesticide industry is dominated by generic manufacturers, who hold a 70% share of the global market. This dominance is a result of the increased production of generic products following patent expiration and a decrease in the discovery of new active ingredients. The demand for generic pesticides is increasing in developing countries, which account for nearly 80% of global agricultural production ($3,720 billion in 2020)."

(Sharma et al., 2019; CCFI, 2022)

Glyphosate, both patented and generic, have different formulations. These formulations consist of varying acid equivalency (AE) content or glyphosate active ingredient levels, as well as different co-formulants (adjuvants/additives and salts). It is the difference in the composition of these formulations that distinguishes herbicide products in terms of effectiveness and price. 

When compared to patented herbicides, generic herbicides usually claim to have a lower price with the same active ingredient (a.i) as their patented counterparts. Although they have the same active ingredient, patented herbicides are generally preferred over generic herbicides due to the integration of additional ingredients (co-formulants) such as surfactants and other adjuvants, which can enhance the overall performance of the herbicide. 

Furthermore, some generic herbicide products are formulated with lower concentrations of active ingredients, requiring more frequent applications to achieve efficient weed control. Consequently, this not only increases the cost of purchasing herbicides, but also increases the intensity of application, resulting in higher operational costs for spraying labor.

Same glyphosate why are the prices different

How to Differentiate Glyphosate Formulations?

It is interesting to note that the difference in composition of each glyphosate product formulation determines both the herbicide’s price and its effectiveness. Some types of glyphosate formulations include potassium (K)-glyphosate, ammonium glyphosate (monoammonium and diammonium), isopropylamine (IPA)-glyphosate, sodium glyphosate, and trimethyl sulfonium (TMS)-glyphosate. Among these formulations, there are three main formulations that are widely used worldwide, namely potassium (K)-glyphosate, ammonium glyphosate, and isopropylamine (IPA)-glyphosate.

So, how do we determine which glyphosate-based herbicide is suitable for our needs?

Figure 1. Example of reading active ingredient composition and pesticide formulation on pesticide packaging label

(picture adopted from croplifeindonesia.or.id)

> Example of active ingredient section on the label of a 480 SL herbicide. The above image shows an example of a glyphosate herbicide product in isopropylamine salt formulation (IPA-Glyphosate) with a glyphosate content of 480 grams per liter of product in the form of isopropylamine salt or equivalent to 356 grams per liter of glyphosate.

Pandawa Agri’s team has summarized important information about glyphosate herbicide formulations that can help Pandawa Agri’s friends understand why herbicides with the same active ingredient (glyphosate) can have different effects.

Figure 2. Illustration of glyphosate herbicide formulation.

Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide, which means it can control both broad-leaf and narrow-leaf weeds by effectively penetrating plant tissues. However, the active ingredient glyphosate, which carries a negative charge, does not have high solubility, so it needs to be formulated with compounds that have a positive charge to form salts. These salts act as mediators that deliver the glyphosate active ingredient to weed plant tissues. 

Glyphosate salt is different from table salt (NaCl). The Pandawa Agri team often encounters confusion regarding the interpretation of “salt” in glyphosate herbicide products in the field. It is important to understand that the glyphosate salt contained in glyphosate herbicides is a form of acid-base bonding. This bond is formed between glyphosate, which acts as a proton donor, and the mixed ingredient, which acts as a proton acceptor.

Figure 3. Illustration of Salt bonds formed from the parent acid of glyphosate with 3 types of branching clusters.
Figure 3. Illustration of Salt bonds formed from the parent acid of glyphosate with 3 types of branching clusters.

Glyphosate salt formulation not only serves as a carrier to deliver glyphosate to weed tissues, but also helps improve the solubility of glyphosate herbicide in water and enhances the penetration of the herbicide into plant tissues. Furthermore, glyphosate salt plays a crucial role in maintaining formulation stability while facilitating the absorption and translocation of the active ingredient within weeds.

The effectiveness of herbicide products is greatly influenced by the formulation of glyphosate’s active ingredient and glyphosate salt. These formulations can vary significantly, causing variations in the amounts of active ingredient (glyphosate acid + salt) or acid equivalent (glyphosate acid alone) in the formulations. To provide a comprehensive understanding of the distinctions between potassium (K)-glyphosate, ammonium glyphosate, and isopropylamine (IPA)-glyphosate, the following table will present a detailed breakdown.

Different formulations of glyphosate offer unique benefits depending on specific conditions of the land.  IPA-Glyphosate herbicides are designed for use in general land conditions. This is evident from the characteristics of IPA-Glyphosate, which have good mixing properties, easy handling, and provide quick and effective control against all types of weeds compared to other glyphosate formulations.

Meanwhile, K-Glyphosate is specifically formulated to withstand and excel in high rainfall conditions, making it ideal for such specific environments. On the other hand, ammonium-glyphosate is more suitable for use in sub-optimal land, particularly in areas characterized by high levels of water hardness (such as high mineral content like Ca and Mg, metal ions, bicarbonates, or sulfates)

Considering the varying performance of herbicides in different conditions, it is important for herbicide users to choose the glyphosate formulation that best fits their needs and environmental conditions. 

When it comes to getting rid of weeds for the least amount of money, Pandawa Agri’s friends are often more interested in using generic glyphosate herbicides than patented ones. But is the price the only difference between generic and patented herbicides? Pandawa Agri’s friends can look at the table below to find out more about how the two types of pesticides are different.

As the table shows, generic types of pesticides have drawbacks, such as not being able to guarantee the quality and effectiveness of the product. Also, it’s hard to find accurate information about herbicides, especially generic ones, and using too many of them may harm the environment. So, is there a way for Pandawa Agri’s friends to use patented herbicides at a more affordable price?

To save on the cost of purchasing patented herbicides, Pandawa Agri’s friend can use Reduktan™ Technology. This technology works by optimizing the performance of glyphosate herbicide with a smaller dosage. By reducing the dosage, Pandawa Agri’s Friend can save up to 40% on plant maintenance costs. This way, the saved funds can be allocated for other important things.

If Pandawa Agri’s friend has a question in mind, how can Reduktan™ Technology help reduce plant maintenance costs and is it true that this Reduktan™ technology can enhance the effectiveness of Pandawa Agri’s chosen pesticide? Also, what is the compatibility of Reduktan™ Technology when used together with the commonly used glyphosate herbicide on plants? The Pandawa Agri team will delve into these details in the next article, stay tuned!

Source :

  1. CCFI, Centre for Environment and Agriculture. 2022. “Out of the global top 20 pesticides, only 2 remain patented: study”. Available at https://www.en.krishakjagat.org/crop-protection/out-of-the-global-top-20-pesticides-only-2-remain-patented-study/.
  2. Sharma, A., Kumar, V., Shahzad, B. et al. Worldwide pesticide usage and its impacts on ecosystem. SN Appl. Sci. 1, 1446 (2019).

About Pandawa Agri Indonesia

Pandawa Agri Indonesia is the first life science based company from Indonesia and currently the only one company that has innovation in the development of pesticide reduction products (pesticides reductant). Starting from this innovation, Pandawa Agri Indonesia is committed to helping agricultural businesses to create an agricultural practices that is sustainable, environmentally friendly, safe for users, and also cost-efficiency.

For more information visit : Pandawa Agri Indonesia

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