News Briefs: Syngenta Response to EPA’s report on Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments to Soybean Production Talking Points

Syngenta Response to EPA’s report on Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments to Soybean Production Talking Points

EPA announced it will open a comment period on the agency’s initial assessment of the benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatment for insect control in soybeans. We believe EPA’s initial assessment (see below) will be complete and accurate once it considers all necessary data. The agency’s public comment period will allow the opportunity to add information to fill in gaps in understanding.

We look forward to providing additional information to ensure EPA has an in-depth and accurate picture of the soybean landscape related to neonicotinoid seed treatments, such as:

• Protecting soybean seeds from early-season insect damage and providing a favorable impact on cost and yield.
• Playing a critical role in an integrated pest management (IPM) program, with multiple advantages including less potential impact on beneficial insects in the field and decreased potential worker exposure.
• Providing a unique mode of action, necessary to managing pests resistant to other insecticides key to soybean production.
• Saving farmers money and creating additional value.

Syngenta is confident that an objective assessment of all the data reviewed during the next phase of the public comment process will uphold tthe strong benefits thiamethoxam seed treatment brings to soybean growers everywhere. Todd Barlow, Syngenta Senior State Affairs Manager October 20, 2014.


EPA Finds Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments of Little or No Benefit to U.S. Soybean Production

October 16, 2014  Washington --- Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an analysis of the benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments for insect control in soybeans. Neonicotinoid pesticides are a class of insecticides widely used on U.S. crops that EPA is reviewing with particular emphasis for their impact on pollinators. The analysis concluded that there is little or no increase in soybean yields using most neonicotinoid seed treatments when compared to using no pest control at all. A Federal Register notice inviting the public to comment on the analysis will publish in the near future.

“We have made the review of neonicotinoid pesticides a high priority,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “In our analysis of the economic benefits of this use we concluded that, on a national scale, U.S. soybean farmers see little or no benefit from neonicotinoid seed treatments.”

During the review of the neonicotinoids, EPA found that many scientific publications claim that treating soybean seeds has little value. Part of our assessment examined the effectiveness of these seed treatments for pest control and estimated the impacts on crop yields and quality, as well as financial losses and gains. The law requires EPA to consider the benefits of using pesticides as well as the risks.

The analysis concluded that: 

  • There is no increase in soybean yield using most neonicotinoid seed treatments when compared to using no pest control at all.
  • Alternative insecticides applied as sprays are available and effective.
  • All major alternatives are comparable in cost.
  • Neonicotinoid seed treatment could provide an insurance benefit against sporadic and unpredictable insect pests, but this potential benefit is not likely to be large or widespread throughout the United States.

This analysis is an important part of the science EPA will use to move forward with the assessment of the risks and benefits under registration review for the neonicotinoid pesticides.  Registration review --- the periodic re-evaluation of pesticides to determine if they continue to meet the safety standard --- can result in EPA discontinuing certain uses, placing limits on the pesticide registration, and requiring other label changes.


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