Value of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments to US Soybean Farmers

September 27, 2016

From: Pest Management Science

Terry Hurley, Paul Mitchell



The benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatment to soybean farmers have received increased scrutiny. Rather than use data from small-plot experiments, this research uses survey data from 500 US farmers to estimate the benefit of neonicotinoid seed treatments to them. As seed treatment users, farmers are familiar with their benefits in the field and have economic incentives to only use them if they provide value.


Of the surveyed farmers, 51% used insecticide seed treatments, averaging 87% of their soybean area. Farmers indicated that human and environmental safety is an important consideration affecting their pest management decisions and reported aphids as the most managed and important soybean pest. Asking farmers who used seed treatments to state how much value they provided gives an estimate of US$28.04 ha−1 treated in 2013, net of seed treatment costs. Farmer reported average yields provided an estimated average yield gain of 128.0 kg ha−1 treated in 2013, or about US$42.20 ha−1 treated, net of seed treatment costs.


These estimates using different data and methods are consistent and suggest the value of insecticide seed treatments to the US soybean farmers that used them in 2013 was around US$28 to US$42 ha−1 treated, net of seed treatment costs.

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