The full cost to farmers of the neonicotinoid ban in 2016 was £18.4 million ($23.7) and resulted in almost 28,800 hectares (71,166 acres) of lost crop, a study funded by Rural Business Research and the Institute of Agri-Food Research and Innovation has revealed.
Perhaps more alarming is the increased use of alternative pesticides as farmers tried to control cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB). Farmers in the Derogation Area (DA) who had access to neonicotinoid treated seed used 75% less chemicals to control the pest than those who used non-neonicotinoid treated seed.
The study followed on from an earlier investigation by the researchers into the initial impacts of the neonicotinoid seed dressing ban in 2015, which resulted in a 3% loss of WOSR area to CSFB and a 2.5 fold increase in the use of pesticides to tackle the problem. This follow-on report suggests that the impacts in 2016 were more severe, with 5% of the national WOSR area being lost to CSFB.
The chemicals alone cost £4.3 million and the cost of applying the insecticides was estimated at a further £8.5 million. Where crops were lost and not re-drilled the bill nationally was £2.9 million and the cost of re-drilling crops destroyed by CSFB totaled £2.6 million across the country.
[Read the full study here.]
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