Evaluations of Seed Treatments for Managing Early Season Pests of Corn: Are Neonics Necessary in NY Field Crops Production?

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Most corn and soybean growers in New York plant seed treated with insecticides. But are those treatments really needed in every field? The recent scrutiny on neonicotinoids (aka: neonics) causing harm to pollinators has brought this question to the forefront. Given all the negative attention that neonicotinoids have received in the media in recent years regarding pollinator health, it’s no surprise that they are on the chopping block in some NY legislative bills. Neonics have a bad reputation as having negative effects on bee health. And, it’s true that they can be lethal to bees and other beneficial pollinators, especially if applied to crops at incorrect timings or under the wrong conditions. However, they are very effecting at managing some potentially destructive early-season pests, are safer for humans and most wildlife due to their low mammalian toxicity, and they help farmers raise healthy and productive crops to feed livestock and all of us. It’s important that we consider both the positive and negative effects of these seed treatments, and consider alternatives where appropriate. In 2019, a very last-minute pilot study was coordinated to include five on-farm trials to compare a neonic seed treatment with an anthranilic diamide alternative seed treatment, against a non-insecticide control treatment in corn silage. Despite our best efforts with lining up grower cooperators and getting seed and chemistries donated all within a few weeks, the weather wasn’t cooperative. Unfortunately, only one of the five trials was planted, and there was no insect pressure at that location to provide a comparison of treatments.

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NYS IPM Type: Project Report


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New York State Integrated Pest Management Program


Agricultural IPM; Field Crops; Field Corn


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