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PARIS: A study on alternatives to neonicotinoid insecticides found to be toxic to bees is unlikely to yield a solution that can fully protect sugar beet crops for five years, leading French scientist says rice field.

Aphid-borne beet yellow virus reduced French yields by 30 percent in 2020, prompting farmers and sugar manufacturers to lobby the government, France plans to extend the European Union’s ban on neonicotinoids until 2023. We paused and started a research program to find alternatives to this chemical. During.

But an EU Court of Justice ruling that member states cannot offer exemptions from EU bans forced France to withdraw its exemptions before an effective solution could be found.

“Maybe some varieties in 2024 will yield 10% to 15% more than in 2020. But finding replacements won’t happen overnight,” said Fabienne Maupas. . She is Research Director at ITB, a sugar beet technology research institute in France, and is in charge of the PNRI program to find alternatives to neonicotinoids.

“There won’t be another level of protection as effective as neonicotinoids in five years,” she added.

He said this year’s aphid infestation is relatively low, so the postponement won’t have much of an impact on France’s sugar beet crop this year.

The bigger problem at the moment is the delay in sowing due to wet weather at the beginning of the year and the reduction in sown area as farmers were discouraged from the potential damage to their crops.

Morpus said any solution would likely consist of a combination of several technologies and products, not as simple as neonicotinoids applied as coatings around seeds.

Several seed makers, including Germany’s KWS Saat, are working to develop new varieties of sugar beet that are protected against aphids and yellow viruses, but new seed development tends to take years.

Other ways to protect sugar beet include growing other crops such as spring barley and oats in the same field to attract aphids, and using scented granules to repel pests before they harm the crop. This includes This is a technology developed by the French start-up Agliodor.

Morpus said additional costs for farmers from using these alternatives are estimated at €60 ($65.45) per hectare. Based on average yields, this makes him 0.75 cents per tonne. European sugar traded at a record high of €812 per tonne in April, according to the latest EU data.

(1 USD = 0.9167 EUR) French sugar beet pesticide alternatives could be five years away

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