GardenDrumDoes banning neonics hurt crop production?

During debate over the banning of neonicotinoid pesticides in Europe, and the USA, it was asserted that crop yield would suffer dramatically from any ban. Did it?

Evaluation of the last two years of post-ban crop yields in the European Union showed that 2014 spring sowings of sunflower and maize had a net yield increase, in some areas up to 25% higher.

In Sweden, 2014 spring-sown oilseed rape (canola) lost 5% of its yield, and loss to flea beetle in the UK was around 3.5%. Note that there are always crop losses, even when neonicotinoid pesticides are used.

Despite these results, and a 400,000 strong petition opposing it, the UK’s National Farmers Union (NFU) has successfully applied for a ban exemption in southern England. A ‘commercially sensitive’ explanation from the UK Government means that the reason for the ban exemption remain secret.

Source: New Scientist, August 2015

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