A new study shows just how valuable neonicotinoid insecticides are for farmers in North America. The research, commissioned by Bayer CropScience, Syngenta, Valent U.S.A. Corporation and others under the umbrella coalition called Growing Matters, documents the value of neonicotinoids to agriculture as well as residential and urban landscapes, and the significant implications if these products were no longer available.
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.
As the largest selling insecticide class in the world, some have questioned the value of neonicotinoids. This study was undertaken to provide reliable, objective evidence of the benefits these products bring to modern pest management systems.
Research results prove that neonicotinoids add billions of dollars to the economy, and benefit entire communities, not just individual growers.
“Although many people know intuitively that this class of chemistry is highly valued within the industry, we now have a comprehensive, science-based analysis that documents the magnitude of this value,” said Dr. Pete Nowak, emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and AgInfomatics principal. “The studies were conducted with a level of rigor necessary to meet the stringent standards of peer-reviewed publications.”
The researchers also contend that a loss of neonicotinoids would force growers to rely on a few, older classes of insecticides that could ultimately reduce crop yield and quality, disrupted pest management practices impacting beneficial insects including honey bees and, in some cases, cause catastrophic damage due to a lack of suitable alternatives to manage invasive pests.
More than 22,000 growers, consumers and applicators in the U.S. and Canada were surveyed for the report.