We have always used Monsanto Roundup Biactive or Pro Biactive either in 360 or 450 formulation for our commercial work (and some residential work). It is not the cheapest formulation (costing ~ £45 per 5L if bought in greater than single units).

Recently, we received an offer containing a cheaper Glyphosate (~360 formulation) branded under differing names, costing ~@ £25 upwards per 5L. Clearly of interest but, some digging unearthed 'worrying' differences with these cheaper products in terms of safety and environmental concerns;

I assume these products are what they call 'older formulations'. They nearly all carry extreme COSHH warnings, such as these below and thus need suitable control/PPE measures and caution (some can not even be used under hedgerows), need LERAP, exclusion areas in public areas etc

Comparing these to our normal Monsanto product, there are no nasty orange safety logos (quote) :

""Monsanto Roundup 360/450 is approved for use in areas open to the public and animals, or even near (on ?) water. Besides providing superior control of a wide range of weeds, Roundup Pro Biactive 360 has been developed with commitment and concern for the environment firmly in mind. Roundup Pro Biactive 360 has been specially formulated to offer an enhanced standard of operator safety. It is not a hazardous substance as defined by COSHH, when used in accordance with the label, and it does not carry a hazard symbol. In the environment, it provides up to 100 fold improvement in safety to some of the most sensitive animal species, when compared to older glyphosate formulations.""


Now unless I am being thick here, the pukka Monsanto product reduces immensely the risk to operatives, the public and the environment, dries quicker (so can be applied in tighter weather windows). I'm not pushing or advertising Monsanto products, but I will look for and use the least dangerous products even if there is a cost to do so.

Therefore, is it worth saving £10+ per 5L in this case....? Can anyone expand further or pass comment on this aspect ?

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  • i wouldnt pass a single penny for anything monsanto ever. roundup seems to have this great contributory factor of creating herbicide resistant superweeds too. that is one company that is quite happy to wreck the planet in pursuit of profits..

  • PRO

    I do not believe any pesticide is totally safe (hence COSHH), but look to use the least harmful solution. I am not in a position to know better than the Approvals bodies, so rely on their controls, guidance and information.

    So, Neil if you do not use Monsanto products I assume you use products with higher COSHH concerns and hence more dangerous?

    'Roundup' can/is produced by many chemical companies since is Patent was up many years ago.

  • PRO

    I am a not one for "conspiracies" theories etc, so my focus is on the "here and now". All sorts of drivel comes out of the US. Some you believe, some you don't. I'll leave that aspect alone, thanks.

    My focus on this thread was the "here and now" of what we do as ground maintenance contractors and the need to exhibit a duty of care based on UK regulations, HSE, H&S, COSHH by selecting the least harmful approach of weed control in amenity horticulture.

    Ultimately, my point was cheaper products are not necessarily better products, when the cheaper products display clear warnings following the same level of test/approvals in by UK/EU legislators.

  • I'm with Gary. You have to accept that someone makes a profit on the products you use, it's about using the best, safest and most cost-effective product.

    If I don't use Roundup Pro, what's the safer alternative? I'd compromise on cost if there was a better option.

  • PRO

    If I understand correctly, every manufacture of a herbicide has to submit the chemical, even if identical to another comanpies, to the regulators for approval - one of the many reasons why things like amonium sulphamate and armatilox are no longer approved fungicides / herbicides, the manufactures were simply un able to afford to have the chemicals tested to the standards required to prove their safety or suitability for use.

    This means that several companies may make Glyphosate, and supply it in the same chemical salt form (it is usually a salt, though can vary and this does affect its potency and saftey) They may also all go to different lengths to document the chemicals environmental properties - Smaller comapnies such as Nufarm (who make Clinic Ace, a generic Glyphosate) have smaller pockets so may submit the bare minimum data to get approval to sell their product, where as Monsanto may spends millions extra carrying out additional tests to prove that their chemically identical chemicals are safe in other areas.
    A good example is Roundup Pro-biactive, the adjutants make little difference to the safety of chemical, but allow less to be used for the same effect, so if used according to the label, the pro-biactive, on paper at least, is theoretically less hazardous to the enviroment.

    Speak to an Agronomist for more information -

  • PRO

    Interesting you should say that about clinic ace duncan - A farm-hand who was spraying ragwort while I was stock-fencing said exactly the same thing, he said Roundup had some "anit-oxidising" additives in that stopped it degrading as fast (exactly the same degradation that happens in the soil, making it "safe and neutralized on soil or water contact").

    I suppose that underlines why you should only buy what you need eh!

  • PRO

    A little off topic but still somehow relevant... Link

  • PRO

    Clinic Ace:


  • PRO


  • I can't help but be cynical. A huge company like Monsanto is able to buy their safe labels and hire the right legal staff to keep them that way. These products use the same active ingredients so thinking scientifically they will have the same environmental impacts.

    If a landscape contractor wants to work sympathetically toward the environment they should not use pesticides.
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