I'm all for supporting farmers as they endeavour to both grow crops, and at the same time, take care of the countryside. As such, I am convinced they need access to independent information so that they can make the right decisions, especially when it comes to 'pest threat.
And here are my 5 reasons why:
According to independent research by ADAS, whose clients include DEFRA, it appears that many farmers are using pesticides unnecessarily.
Their study indicated that in a comparison of insecticide use with percentage area having an infestation level over the threshold warranting treatment (from 1988 to 2006) of pollen beetle on oil seed rape, the application of pesticide was not warranted in the vast majority of instances (1).
Below is a graph taken from the study.
Given the research from ADAS above, this cannot be good for the environment, and must surely be expensive for farmers.
The National Institute of Agricultural Botany state:
Farmers may glean information from the farming press, which may publish press releases written by manufacturers of pesticides, and from Agronomists.
It seems many Agronomists receive commission payments for selling pesticides to farmers. Again, The National Institute of Agricultural Botany(2) state:
For example, despite the restrictions on neonicotinoids for use on oil seed rape which came into force, harvest have been healthy. The first sowing of oilseed rape without neonics in the UK was in August 2014. About 1.35% was lost to flea beetle, according to the Home Grown Cereal Authority. They state that on a national level, the impact of flea beetle was modest(3). So we should surely ask ourselves, how unusual were the losses in any case?
Once all the data was gathered for the annnual spring-sown crops sown in 2014 without neonics (sunflower and maize) from across the EU, (which includes regions with a broad range of climates), yields were HIGHER that the five year average, in some regions more than 25% higher(5).
For example, USA Environmental Protection Agency research found that neonicotinoid use results in ‘negligible benefit’ to crop yield (4).
If you agree, please feel free to send this information to your MP (find here -opens new window).
(Helen Thompson of Fera) behind controversial study joins pesticide firm!
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