Shopping for pasture herbicides isn't as easy at it used to be.
There are many new products and also many old products with new names.
A few new herbicides are on the market these days, and some of them come in varied formulations for different purposes.
In addition, patents have run out, so new companies have entered the marketplace with old chemicals. In a few cases, old companies which couldn't sell these formerly proprietary formulas have now begun to do so.
The problem is, just because we identify triclopyr or picloram as the active ingredient doesn't mean we know exactly what that newly-labeled herbicide will do.
"Just because a herbicide has the same active ingredient does not mean two products are the same," says Wayne Hanselka, Texas A&M University range scientist. "There's a lot more to a herbicide combination than just the active ingredients."
The most unbiased sources of information – university extension services – don't necessarily have all these new compounds tested, either, Hanselka says. It's still a good place to start, and well worth an internet search of your state extension service or a direct contact with your best extension service source.
Next in line for those seeking information should probably be the manufacturer's representatives, says Allan McGinty, another Texas A&M range scientist with long experience in weed and brush control.
Manufacturers and their representatives are quite naturally biased, but most are in business for the long haul and will try to represent their products honestly. They also tend to stand behind their products when used according to label, he says.
The reading of herbicide package labels, of course, is an indispensable part of herbicide use, McGinty adds. This is where you find product restrictions, rates of application, active ingredients, and product warnings.
Getting your information from retail outlets can be dicey, McGinty says, since these folks mean well, but often don't have all the information. Internet research is good, but you must watch regional and state regulations carefully.
Telephone marketers are seldom, if ever, legitimate. "If they called me I'd just hang up," McGinty warns.