In an extensive study of the diverse turf and ornamental industry, researchers found that neonicotinoids are the primary tools used by professionals to control destructive insect pests. The results of the study were compiled in a report, “The Value of Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Turf and Ornamentals: The Value of Neonicotinoids to Turf and Ornamental Professionals.”
The report is one in a series that will be released over the next few months as part of a comprehensive evaluation of the economic and societal benefits of neonicotinoid insecticides in North America. The research was conducted by AgInfomatics, a consulting firm of independent agricultural economists and scientists, and jointly commissioned and sponsored by Bayer CropScience, Mitsui Chemicals Agro, Inc., Syngenta and Valent U.S.A. Corp.
Survey Reveals Value Of Neonicotinoids As Tools In Landscape
A survey of pest management practices in greenhouses, nurseries, lawns, landscapes and trees revealed that neonicotinoids are top-rated products that control the most important pests in each market segment. According to the survey, professionals in the turf and ornamental industries fear the loss of neonicotinoid products would reduce the quality of their plants and services, increase costs and negatively impact their ability to manage pest resistance.
University economists conducted a detailed survey of 750 turf and ornamental professionals to assess their pest management practices in greenhouses, nurseries, lawns, landscapes and trees. When asked to rate the relative importance of different variables in choosing an insecticide, more than 90 percent of all respondents listed performance (protecting plant quality and consistency of pest control) and safety (to applicators and customers) as their leading considerations. Nearly 60 percent of all professionals surveyed included a neonicotinoid as one of their “most used” insecticides. Neonicotinoids were the top-ranked insecticide class used in each market segment.
What Happens If There Are No More Neonics?
Nearly 75 percent of the professionals answering the survey indicated there were no acceptable alternatives, or not enough acceptable alternatives to meet their pest management needs, if neonicotinoids were no longer available. Across all turf and ornamental markets, 55 percent of professionals noted that the loss of neonics would result in reduced income for their business. The highest financial impact was in the lawn segment, where 68 percent anticipated a loss of income.
Major reasons cited for income reductions among all professionals were related to costs associated with using alternative insecticides and the impact on plant quality or services provided. Without neonicotinoids, 79 percent of respondents expected higher costs, due to more frequent treatments, or increased volumes of alternative insecticides. Two-thirds of all professionals indicated that higher costs would occur as a result of increased time associated with additional treatments, record keeping and worker training.
Perhaps even more important to their long-term business viability, almost half of professionals noted there would be a decrease in customer satisfaction if plant quality were compromised due to a lack of effective neonicotinoids for pest control.
Without neonicotinoids, most professionals indicated they would shift primarily to older chemistries, and many expressed concerns about managing invasive pests, or how this would affect their integrated pest management (IPM) practices. From their perspective, switching to older products would be a setback in managing pest resistance and to their overall operations.
Neonicotinoids have value primarily because they meet a broad range of customer expectations. Most professionals fear that losing neonicotinoids would increase their operational costs, reduce the quality of their plants and services, reduce customer satisfaction and negatively impact their ability to manage pest resistance.
Learn More About The Value Of Neonics To Ornamental Growers
Read the Fact Sheet on the Value of Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Turf and Ornamentals, for a summary of the study, a background on the use of an need for neonicotinoids, methodology for the survey and detailed results and key findings.
Visit the Growing Matters website to see the latest information, reports, videos and infographics about neonicotinoids.
Growing Matters is a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to scientific discourse on the stewardship, benefits and alternatives of neonicotinoid insecticides in North America. The coalition is led by Bayer CropScience, Syngenta and Valent U.S.A. Corp., with support from Mitsui Chemicals Agro, Inc.