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Neonicotinoids contribute to higher soybean yields in Southern US: Study

Research conducted by Mississippi State University

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

According to research done by Mississippi State University, soybean seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides produce higher crop yields in parts of the southern United States.

The results are published in the Journal of Economic Entomology and contradict 2014 data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which said neonic seeds provide no benefits.

"We believe that the neonicotinoid seed treatments did provide a benefit to growers in our area and that the EPA document did not represent our region of the U.S.," said research lead Dr. Jeff Gore, an extension/research professor as Mississippi State in a release. "The data do contradict the EPA document to some degree."

The study took place between 2005 and 2014, and included 170 soybean field trials in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Soybean field

The results showed that neonicotinoid-treated soybean yields were 203 kg/hectare higher in Louisiana, 165 kg/hectare higher in Mississippi, 112kg/hectare higher in Arkansas and 70 kg/hectare higher in Tennessee.

In addition to higher yields, the researchers discovered that in four of the 10 years studied, neonic-treated soybean seeds had some economic benefits for farmers.

“The neonicotinoid seed treatment resulted in a US$33 per hectare return over soybean where no insecticide seed treatment was used,” the study reads.

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