The discussion around the risk and rewards of using neonicotinoid seed treatments got a shot in the arm last month. A recent letter from United States Department of Agriculture to the Environmental Protection Agency expressed USDA’s disappointment in EPA recent evaluation of neonicotinoid seed treatments, calling it “incomplete”.
In October 2014, EPA issued a report indicating there are no clear or consistent economic benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments in soybeans—a conclusion USDA said is not only false, but has again put growers in a position where they must defend their pest management decisions.
“As a whole, USDA disagrees with that assessment,” USDA states in a letter sent to EPA in April, “We believe that pest management strategies are made in consideration of pest pressures, climate, landscape and numerous other factors.”
USDA stressed that growers should have the ability to use the best tools available to manage pests, including choice in seed treatment and pest management tactics based on what works for individual situations.
“Unfortunately, EPA’s conclusions are not supported by complete data nor analysis. EPA’s analysis does not include potential labor and management savings afforded by seed treatments,” USDA states in the letter. “Moreover, it does not consider cases when timely foliar applications are not possible or as effective due to general field and weather conditions. EPA’s calculation does not include any additional regulatory expenditure by landowners, such as costs to revise pesticide permit applications, or costs to submit new applications for foliar spraying.”
USDA also points out that EPA’s analysis does not consider other benefits of using neonicotinoids, including protection from the wide range of pests or minimizing the exposure of non-target insects.
For a full copy of USDA’s letter click Here