An interim impact assessment of the neonicotinoid oilseed rape: A report for Rural Business Reasearch

September 17, 2015

Editor’s Note: The complete study by Charles Scott and Paul Bilsborrow for Rural Business Research, an independent “consortium of leading academic units delivering projects for government, levy-funded research bodies, research councils, and commercial clients,” is available here. Below is an excerpt.


Insecticidal control of CSFB in the past has relied on a combination of seed treatment and foliar sprays. The absence of neonicotinoid seed treatments is making [cabbage stem flea beetle] CSFB control more challenging for farmers with significant losses of crop identified in the autumn of 2014. The estimated 33,957 kg of [active substance] a.s. used in the autumn to combat the threat of CSFB represents a 2.5 fold increase in the use of autumn insecticides to [winter oilseed rape] WOSR in England and is likely to be a direct result of the ban on neonicotinoid seed dressings. The increased use and reliance on pyrethroids for CSFB control has significant future implications since resistance has now been identified in the UK. The loss of neonicotinoid seed treatments poses a significant challenge to growers at a time when significant price reductions have occurred in the value of this crop, together with an increased threat from the fungal pathogen light leaf spot raising the question for many farmers as to the true value of oilseed rape in the crop rotation.

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