EPA Finds Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments of Little or No Benefit to U.S. Soybean Production

On October 16, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an analysis of the benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments for insect control in soybeans.  A Federal Register notice inviting the public to comment on the analysis will publish in the near future.

“We have made the review of neonicotinoid pesticides a high priority. During the review, we found that many scientific publications claim that treating soybean seeds has little value,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “This propelled the agency to evaluate the economic benefits of this use. “We found that the benefits to U.S. soybean farmers on a national scale were just not there.”

The EPA assessment examined the effectiveness of these seed treatments for pest control and estimated the impacts on crop yields and quality, as well as financial losses and gains

The analysis concluded that:

  • There is no increase in soybean yield using most neonicotinoid seed treatments when compared to using no pest control at all;
  • Alternative insecticides applied as sprays are available and effective;
  • All major alternatives are comparable in cost; and,
  • Neonicotinoid seed treatment could provide an insurance benefit against sporadic and unpredictable insect pests, but this potential benefit is not likely to be large or widespread throughout the United States.

This analysis is an important part of the science EPA will use to move forward with the assessment of the risks and benefits under registration review for the neonicotinoid pesticides.  Registration review, the periodic re-evaluation of pesticides to determine if they continue to meet the safety standard, can result in EPA discontinuing certain uses, placing limits on the pesticide registration, and requiring other label changes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: