Across Regions

Do farmers really need neonic insecticides? Study sparks debate over pesticides’ future

New research has found a widely used and increasingly controversial insecticide has “negligible” benefits for commercially grown soybeans. Pesticide makers and farmers disagree.

The insecticide, called neonicotinoid, has come under fire in recent years after scientists discovered it might be killing honey bees, monarch butterflies, certain birds and aquatic life.

“We’ve documented the costs and the downsides of neonicotinoids,” said Christian Krupke, an entomology professor at Purdue University, who was one of the 23 researchers who authored a study on the topic.

”So the question we asked with this study was, what are the benefits? …. And our findings are that the benefits are negligible.”

The compiled results showed that, on average, neonicotinoid-treated crops produced an average of 2 additional bushels per acre than non-treated crops. When compared to the added cost farmers paid for the insecticide, the payoff is slim, the study concluded.

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