Maintaining production of many UK crops is at risk if neonicotinoids are more widely restricted or banned completely, according to Rothamsted Research and reported on FGInsight.com.
“Furthermore, if groups of chemistries are limited by legislation, the remaining groups will be more widely used, resulting in an increased risk of pests developing resistance to them,” says a position statement from the institute.
Its concern follows the release of draft proposals by the EU to replace its temporary restriction on the use of three neonicotinoids on crops that flower, introduced in 2013 in response to disputed claims about the impact of the pesticides on bees, with a widespread ban across Europe.
In the UK, the ‘restricted use’ ban affected mainly oilseed rape crops. “It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain production of many crops if neonicotinoids are more widely restricted or banned completely,” says Rothamsted.
“For example, in sugar beet, the control of aphids and the virus diseases they spread, is totally reliant on neonicotinoid seed treatments because the aphids are resistant to other control chemistries.”