Journalist and molecular biologist Miller claims that strong signals from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggest that the regulating authority is about to severely restrict or completely eliminate some of the most important tools in the farmers’ toolkit – such as neonicotinoids. Here are his arguments:
A report recently issued by EPA says that neonicotinoids “provide negligible overall benefits” in growing soy crops. This suggests that environmental groups are shifting their arguments, says Miller: from “neonics are killing bees”, which failed to gain traction, to “neonics don’t work very well anyway” in increasing yields.
This EPA report does not, however, take into consideration, some proven facts says Miller:
- In Mississippi alone, trials between 2005 and 2014, showed that neonic seed treatment produced an average 2.5 bushel per acre increase in soybean production relative to untreated fields
- A meta-analysis of approximately 25 studies in the Entomological Society of America’s Arthropod Management Tests database reveals about a 3% yield improvement for soybeans utilizing neonics versus untreated fields. In many parts of the USA, that can be the difference between a farmer staying in business or going broke.
- The AgInfomatics survey of 500 soy growers revealed that neonicotinoid treatment is estimated to have an average value of $11.93 per acre for soy growers over their next best alternative.
- Miller concludes that the EPA report and its implications should be a “wake-up call” for American farmers “to mobilize and oppose policies that could snatch away another tool that is vital to US agricultural productivity”.
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