A study providing reliable, objective evidence of the benefits that neonicotinoids bring to modern pest management systems was completed in 2014.
Reports from the new study provide a comprehensive evaluation of the economic and societal benefits of neonicotinoid insecticides in North America. Independent agricultural economists and scientists with AgInfomatics, LLC, conducted analyses exploring the answer to the question: What would happen if neonicotinoids were no longer available?
Comparing that answer to current product use revealed the value of neonicotinoids to agriculture as well as residential and urban landscapes.
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the United States and Canada. Research included commodity crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, sorghum and canola, specialty crops such as citrus, vegetables and grapes, plus turf, ornamental and landscape uses.
Research results confirm that neonicotinoids add billions of dollars to the economy, and benefit entire communities, not just individual growers.
In addition, research shows a loss of neonicotinoids would force growers to rely on a few, older classes of insecticides. More foliar sprays of broad-spectrum insecticides would be used in place of targeted seed or soil treatments. Across selected commodity crops evaluated, the study found that each pound of neonicotinoid lost would be replaced by nearly five pounds of older insecticides. The consequences of this change would result in reduced crop yield and quality, disrupted pest management practices impacting beneficial insects including honey bees and, in some cases, catastrophic damage due to a lack of suitable alternatives to manage invasive pests.
AgInfomatics, LLC, is an agricultural consulting firm established in 1995 by professors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Washington State University. The research was jointly commissioned by Bayer, Syngenta and Valent, with additional support from Mitsui on the turf and ornamental studies.
Active ingredients in the study included clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam.
Reports are available at www.growingmatters.org