Stop Neonicotinoids... = annual record for maize

October 20, 2011 francese_18x12 spagnola_18x12 italiana_18x12

pannocchia maisThe preeminent periodical “The Agricultural Informer” reported the  unexpected record production of maize in Italy during 2011, which affected collection and storage, and even caused a fall in stock price.

The record crop contradicts the predictions and scientific studies by Milan University, which predicted a 150m Euro loss as a result of the end of maize tanning. The record crop contradicts Professor Maggiore who railedagainst the "catastrophic" results of tanning practices were ended. The record crop also contradicts the study  presented by Nomisma that predicted damage to corn as a consequence of suspending the use of neonicotinoids.
This suggests that the production of corn in Italy in the last three years is more influenced by meteorological variables rather than diseases.



Due to crop rotation and other agronomic pest prevention methods, the average yield per hectare in recent years was not affected by the presence of corn rootworm.
As a result of the prohibition of using tanning neonicotinoids in the production of maize, the Italian bee is showing 'a strong recovery, after a decrease in the population of bees in recent years'. This confirms the relationship of INEA in 2011.

In France beekeeping is still in crisis.

Cruiser is still authorised for use on corn, and is in wide use Gaucho, Poncho and Regent are currently prohibited. Chemical corporations defend the use of their products in the production of corn, and state that "the only alternative to summer sprays are systemic tanning treatments". In fact, due to the use and abuse of Cruiser 'it was made necessary' to implement aerial spraying of pesticides during the summer, with a severe envronmental impact. This practice disregards the recommendations of apiaries.

The recent Italian bumper crop, following the prohibition of neonicotinoid crop tanning, contradicts claims by French chemical companies.

In Italy, the spraying of insecticide has a high probability of coinciding with flowering, as reported by the Lombard beekeeping association Apilombardia. The Lombardy Region, which seems to ignore the quantity and timing of insecticide treatments made ​on corn in July, has responded that it will carry out careful surveillance of the situation.

In Italy the most authoritative agronomists have expressed doubt bout the effectiveness of insecticide treatments made on rootworm in July. The cost-benefit ratio for the use of neonicotinoids to increased maize production is clearly unbalanced.

The record maize crop for 2011 shows a stark contrast between opinions on whether or not rootworm is a serious problem. The Guild of Agricultural Chemicals and the press, largely bankrolled by chemical industry advertisers, is in favour of the use of neonicotinoids.

It continues to foment fear of inviting farmers to take action against rootworm regardless ofany technical data, continuing to herald the end of maiscoltura possible if will not be re-authorized the tanning neonicotinoids, whereas field data indicate a presence ofindisputable now ubiquitous parasite but, with rare exceptions controllable rotation, non-injurious to normal production maidicole.

Image taken from the Veneto Agriculture

More than a farmer begins to ask the questions involved than "recipes" for Corporationschemistry: it is better to treat early to prevent damage to the ear or more late to hit thefertile females and hence reduce the pressure on next season?

So far we considered only the first hypothesis, the most dangerous among other things, the environmental point of view of the risk of intervening in the presence of flowering and it seems that instead of little, if any, utility.
Maybe we should consider the second option more carefully.
The definition of a threshold is useful, but requires a monitoring plan that is supported by specific technical assistance.
It would be very sensible and consider only a threshold above which a chemical intervention is recommended, we should pass  to a different crop for the following year.


Now in the agricultural sector is shared by all, even the most obtuse, the great importance of corn to pollinators insects and many beneficial insects.
It 'must be defined and accepted, however, as soon as possible, what the real moment of attractiveness to bees of corn.
The flowering period can’t obviously coincide with the presence of the "plume" present in June / July until complete drying of the plant.
If the presence of the plume can’t be considered a sign of flowering, however, found to bein place and communicated to such signals must be connected to the ban on corn treatments for flowering in place.



Translated by Michele Valleri