The EU ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments for flowering crops is five years old, and an ironic result is that the regulation that was undertaken in part to protect the biodiversity that oilseed rape supports will be the cause of the crop’s decline.
Oilseed rape crops support vast populations of bees, butterflies, and other insect pollinators, as well as a food chain involving the predators and natural enemies of these species and insect-eating birds. Together with the fact that oilseed rape is a key early-season source of pollen, the loss of this crop from the seasonal rotation would have far-reaching effects on biodiversity.
Now as cabbage stem flea beetle numbers explode, EU farmers are being faced with making decisions on the viability of their worst-affected areas, and are looking into planting strategies that may mitigate damage in the future, as overexposure to pyrethroids is producing resistant adults.
Lynda Kiernan is Editor with HighQuest Group Media and of the Oilseed & Grain News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration, please contact Ms. Kiernan at firstname.lastname@example.org.