Replacing neonicotinoid pesticides is no easy task, Canadian farmers say

Seed treating x
Neonicotinoid seed treatment. Credit: Crop Production Magazine

In 2015, the Canadian province [Ontario] instituted regulations requiring farmers to prove they have soil pest populations in corn and soybean fields before they can use neonicotinoid seed treatments …. With both U.S. and Canadian regulatory agencies actively scrutinizing neonicotinoid safety, Ontario farmers’ experience is increasingly relevant for American farmers and other Canadian provinces.

So how have Ontario farmers fared? Neonicotinoid use has dropped substantially, and many farmers are turning to new, non-neonicotinoid seed treatments. But the experience has not been easy or simple ….

[N]on-neonicotinoid seed treatments are already in use in Ontario …. but given that the new seed treatments do not target as broad a range of insect pests as neonicotinoids, it could leave some growers with less protection ….

Related article:  Researchers develop hybrid corn variety resistant to cross-pollination with GMO varieties

Ontario’s de facto neonicotinoid ban could soon be a reality for the rest of Canada if [the government’s] proposed bans become a reality, [said Deb Conlon, manager of government relations for the Grain Farmers of Ontario]. “It puts us at a competitive disadvantage,” she said.

[Farmers also wonder] how long the new replacement seed treatments can last, if they become the only option for growers across Canada. In Ontario alone, nearly 100% of corn seed and 60% of soybean seed was treated with neonicotinoid insecticides before the 2015 regulations.

Read full, original article: What Happens If Neonics Get Nixed? Ask Canadian Grain Farmers

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