The National Farmer’s Union of England and Wales (NFU) has called on policymakers to urgently review the evidence showing the ‘damaging effects’ of the EU suspension of neonicotinoid seed treatments.
HGCA recently published a ‘snapshot survey’ showing 17,000 hectares of winter canola had been lost to flea beetle damage up to the end of September, in the first autumn without access to the important pesticides. While this only equated to just over 3 percent of the winter canola crop, this masked significant regional variations, with losses estimated at in excess of 40 percent in some southern and eastern counties.
NFU combinable crops board chairman Mike Hambly urged winter oilseed rape growers to remain vigilant.“But with a key element of crop protection being withdrawn for 2014, and with 60,000 tonnes of canola that now won’t be harvested in 2015, farmers will take a careful view on the risk of growing as much of the crop in future without adequate insect pest control,” Hambly warned. He also highlighted the ‘worrying’ increase in levels of cabbage stem flea beetle resistance to pyretheroids, the crop spray that has generally seen as the most credible alternative to the neonicotinoid seed treatments.
Research at the Rothamsted has shown shown up to 60 percent resistance in what Hambly said ‘had been growers only hope of saving their crops where high beetle numbers were causing damage’.
“While the 120 day emergency authorisation of an additional insecticide will help a little now, from 2015 onwards there will be no reliable protection available,” he added.
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